Inspired by the Common Cause movement, local chemist Arthur Reusch had a vision of revitalising the Nuriootpa community, creating opportunities and facilities that he hoped would stop the drift of young residents from the Barossa region.

Arthur Reusch
Arthur Reusch

Previous community efforts in the 1930s saw the construction of Centennial Park as a home for sports in Nuriootpa, and the purchase of the local pub, the Vine Inn, by the town committee. So why couldn’t these efforts and the people behind these activities be harnessed to create a community wide project that would benefit all residents?

Following community consultation to gather local residents’ thoughts on potential facilities and services, Adelaide architect Louis Laybourne Smith was engaged to create a plan for the further development of Nuriootpa. The plan featured many amenities, including a community park, a housing development with plots for at least 40 homes, a swimming pool, a kindergarten, a baby health centre and a bowling green.

Nuriootpa Community Plan
Proposed town plan

In devising the layout, Laybourne Smith was drawn to the ‘creek’ (North Para River) as a focal point for the plan. In the Common Cause publication A township starts to live he describes,

Its path was crooked and the channel quite deep in places, and growing in the channel and on both banks were many fine old gums. Here surely was the beauty spot of Nuriootpa.[1]

In 1944 a committee was officially elected and the Nuriootpa War Memorial Community Centre (NWMCC) formally established. The Centre’s primary objectives were to

Give people opportunity for comradeship and fellowship [by] working together to create amenities and services [and to promote] greater tolerance, understanding and outgoing caring for our neighbour.[2]

It also aimed to advance the interests of Nuriootpa and the Barossa region, promoting projects that would enhance education within the community.

 

[1] L Laybourne Smith in Common Cause (S.A.) A township starts to live : the valley of Barossa, South Australia’s new community. Common Cause, Adelaide, 1945, p. 40

[2] Nuriootpa War Memorial Community Centre constitution, 1944

 

Imagining a new vision for Nuriootpa
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