MEET OUR AM­BAS­SADOR: CAMP­BELL HAIG

Country Style - - CONTENTS -

A love of hos­pi­tal­ity and the spoils of his lo­cal re­gion is what drives this Port Elliot busi­ness­man.

There’s no greater cham­pion of the charms of South Aus­tralia’s Fleurieu Penin­sula than Camp­bell Haig. Camp­bell, who lives in the his­toric coastal town of Port Elliot with his wife, Anna, and their son, Owen, 14, has a great love of hos­pi­tal­ity, tourism, food and the arts. He’s also pas­sion­ate about the early build­ings that give his town its char­ac­ter. In 2007, Camp­bell de­cided to make a new life for his fam­ily in the town he’d known since his child­hood hol­i­days. The driv­ing force be­hind the Haigs’ move was their love for a mag­nif­i­cent circa-1856 home­stead in Port Elliot called Waver­ley Es­tate. Now beau­ti­fully re­stored and re­fur­bished as lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion, the prop­erty is sur­rounded by lush gar­dens, his­toric stone out­build­ings and a half-hectare vine­yard. Waver­ley, how­ever, is just part of Camp­bell’s broader vi­sion for show­cas­ing the re­gion, and he sees a real need for gov­ern­ment and lo­cal coun­cils to bet­ter sup­port young peo­ple and new busi­ness ven­tures in the re­gion. The Haigs them­selves pro­duce qual­ity wine un­der their Thun­der­bird la­bel, which is sold at their No. 58 Cel­lar Door & Gallery (see En­ter­prise fea­ture, page 112). Camp­bell also sits on the boards of Fleurieu Penin­sula Tourism and the Fleurieu Food Group and never tires of in­tro­duc­ing peo­ple to his neck of the woods and ex­tolling the virtues of what he calls “an amaz­ing re­gion”.

"WE MADE A HAPPY LIFE­STYLE DE­CI­SION [MOV­ING HERE]."

What do you love most about liv­ing and run­ning a busi­ness in Port Elliot?

The best things about liv­ing on the Fleurieu Penin­sula are the pris­tine beaches, from Goolwa right through to Port Elliot and Port Noar­lunga, and the fan­tas­tic pro­duce from the re­gion. It’s a sim­ple life; we have clean air and a slower pace. There’s a melt­ing pot of peo­ple — a lot of artists and small-busi­ness own­ers have made their home here and are do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent.

What was it that made a new life in Port Elliot seem pos­si­ble?

We moved here per­ma­nently in 2007 af­ter buy­ing Waver­ley Es­tate in 2004. Anna and I both love old build­ings and tourism — it was our pas­sion to have peo­ple come to the prop­erty, and give them a good ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s a love of work and do­ing some­thing you love. That’s the main dif­fer­ence with life in the cor­po­rate world. We haven’t looked back.

Were there community ser­vices or sim­i­lar that helped you set­tle?

I al­ready had a child­hood as­so­ci­a­tion with the area from com­ing here in my school hol­i­days. The peo­ple who have come here are from all over and make Port Elliot what it is to­day. Vic­tor Har­bor [around seven kilo­me­tres to the south-west] is a des­ig­nated city and we’ve got ev­ery­thing you could pos­si­bly need there: doc­tors, ac­coun­tants, lawyers, hos­pi­tals. And we’re just over an hour from Adelaide — there’s no sense of iso­la­tion.

In your opin­ion, what are the strengths of the community here?

Some peo­ple have come here from cor­po­rate back­grounds and have skills and ex­pe­ri­ence that they are us­ing for the community, such as in coun­cil roles, or in the Fore­shore Com­mit­tee. I have a cor­po­rate back­ground and I’m us­ing those skills in my in­volve­ment with the Fleurieu Penin­sula Tourism and the Fleurieu Food Group. Port Elliot is a unique town be­cause it has so many in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ters and so many artists work­ing in var­i­ous dif­fer­ent medi­ums. You cer­tainly get a sense that peo­ple look af­ter each other.

Do you think there are chal­lenges of liv­ing in a small town? And is there any­thing it needs more of?

Em­ploy­ment. We’re al­ways try­ing to get young peo­ple into jobs. Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal coun­cils also need to help peo­ple feel con­fi­dent about in­vest­ing in busi­nesses and tak­ing the next step. Of­ten, small start-ups just need that ex­tra bit of fund­ing or sup­port to make their dreams a re­al­ity. An­other chal­lenge is the re­gion’s peak pe­ri­ods ver­sus qui­eter times. Al­though, say­ing that, the Fleurieu is be­com­ing more of a year­round des­ti­na­tion and Port Elliot in par­tic­u­lar has grown dra­mat­i­cally over the last five years.

How do you spend your free time?

When we’re not here, we like to go to a cafe called Bomb­ora at Goolwa Beach or to South Seas Books & Trad­ing (see more of Camp­bell’s picks on page 116). We also love to take Owen and the dogs for a swim at Horse­shoe Bay.

What would you say to any­one think­ing of mov­ing to the area?

That I don’t re­gret it at all. Even though we had our ac­com­mo­da­tion busi­ness, we have found other busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, and have made a happy and healthy life­style de­ci­sion. We cer­tainly haven’t looked back.

ABOVE Camp­bell in­side Waver­ley Es­tate, his beau­ti­fully re­stored lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion. FAC­ING PAGE Within the grounds of No. 58 Cel­lar Door & Gallery.

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