Rear of Exchange hotel at sunset

Background of the Farina Restoration Project

Tom Harding and the Dawes family kickstarted the restoration project in 2008.

Early work on the Exchange hotel
Tom Harding and the Dawes family go back two decades, to that first caravan tag-along tour that set up camp on Farina Station. Kevin would wander down to share a few tales with the group about what life was like for those who called Farina home during its heyday between 1878 and the early 1900s. Worlds apart in lifestyle but connected by a desire to tell the Farina story.

And in many ways, Kevin represents today what Farina was like in the early 1900s. He shares the same pioneering spirit, and the same love of the outback, its people and what they stand for. Restoration convenor Tom Harding was given the idea by Farina Station owner Kevin Dawes who wanted to preserve the neglected history of Farina. This idea became a passion for Tom.

Tom’s passion was pushed past the point of no return in May 2008. Sitting around a roaring fire at the end of Tom's 2008 Tag-Along caravan safari, the participants of the safari presented him with a plate of $50 notes - $850 in all – to kick start his dream.
Together with the pastoral owners of this land, Kevin and Anne Dawes, and with his own funds and help from the South Australian Outback Development Trust, he put stage one into action.
THE FARINA RESTORATION PROJECT GROUP WAS BORN

The Farina Ruins project will also aim to promote the health and wellbeing of older people in the community. The restoration project will provide a place for people to meet each other, to network and to make friends benefiting both for the individual and the community.

The project will also offer fully equipped and supervised work programs and aims to improve independence and quality of life by providing training opportunities for unemployed or retired local people. The project also aims to integrate our older community members with younger people within the area. All participants will be fully informed of projects health and safety requirements.