‘Respecting our past, creating our future’

Light Regional Council’s Deputy Mayor, Deane Rohrlach and Mayor, Bill O’Brien love the town of Kapunda, as well as celebrating its heritage and future.

A place with a vibrant, can-do community.

That’s how Light Regional Council Mayor, Bill O’Brien and Deputy Mayor, Deane Rohrlach describe Kapunda.

 With new developments, businesses and other exciting projects, there’s nowhere else these two gentlemen would rather live.

Deane has lived in Kapunda for 36 years.

He believes Kapunda has an extraordinarily rich heritage – one he was only vaguely aware of when he took up the position as Principal of Kapunda High School at the start of
1984.

“When I drove into the town from down south on a hot January morning and looked around, I thought I had stepped back into the past,” said Deane. 

“There were many beautiful old buildings with excellent lace work, which gave the town great character. But there were many streets little better than goat tracks, and other infrastructure, such as footpaths and street lighting, sadly lacking.”

But Deane added it had the elements of a great town, with an excellent hospital, both high and primary schools, great recreational facilities such as Dutton Park and Davidson Reserve, a long-standing bowling club, and an agribusiness in JT Johnsons and Sons.

The coming together of new and long term residents keen to see the town develop, and Council seeking to address the infrastructure deficit of the past, had Kapunda start to take off and significantly grow.

Bill and Deane have seen many examples of outcomes achieved in Kapunda, whether they’ve been community initiated, or Council initiated. All a result of groups and people working together to achieve greatness.

Examples include, but are definitely not limited to, the Kapunda High/community Gymnasium built in 1988, Map the Miner, Davidson Reserve upgrades, the Kapunda Hospital Helipad and Kapunda Mine Site. 

There’s also been developments to Dutton Park, a brand new town square, the mural town project, an undercover bowling facility,  and the restoration of the Pines Reserve.

“I’d always thought Kapunda may have been like a sleeping giant…. But things are happening here, maybe moreso than some other towns,” said Bill.

Deane, who is also the Kapunda Business Alliance President, added, “Some people say Kapunda has everything, but the community here have done that. However, like most main streets in country towns, keeping them full is a challenge. So we’d like to see businesses here continue to grow.”

Light Regional Council’s current vision as expressed in its Strategic Plan is ‘Respecting our Past, creating our Future’.  

The application of this vision ensures Kapunda’s heritage doesn’t stifle development, but rather the past is recognised and may influence what happens.

So what does the future of Kapunda look like? 

Both Bill and Deane believe Kapunda’s future looks bright, with indications that post COVID-19 it may experience growth as people move to more regional areas.  

With two excellent schools, medical and recreational facilities, newly sealed roads and freight routes, new footpaths and improved lighting, it has much to recommend it. The infrastructure deficit of the past is now well on the way to being completely overcome.

There are some interesting developments on the horizon, including further improvement and sealing of rural roads and freight and tourism routes (depending on funding), and the possibility of an international standard Kidman experience.

There’s also a possibility that more copper can be recovered from Kapunda Mine using an extremely low impact method, which looks like it won’t compromise the heritage areas of the site. 

This could increase visitation as, side by side, people can see the remains of Australia’s first successful metal mine and first example in Australia of the latest low-impact copper mining technique.

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