MEET OUR AMBASSADOR: CAMPBELL HAIG
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.