Local News at Your Fingertips

The late Mr Bob Foster honoured with the MBCA Inaugural Community Spirit Award

Community Spirit Award

The late Mr Bob Foster with the Red Truck – Courtesy Komma Media

by S  Lowe 5THE FM’s newsonline wattlerangenow

The MBCA Community Spirit Award is a new award created by the MBCA to recognise the generosity of a well-known businessman, the late Mr Bob Foster, who earned a wonderful reputation for his generosity in supporting the community throughout his lifetime. A man who felt so blessed in 1947  to own his own business, decided he would continually seek to bless others through this business. It was a decision he lived by during his entire lifetime and whose generosity has helped so many  –  over many decades.

This award will be sponsored by Foster’s Foodland, in future years, in memory of their founder, affectionately known as ‘boss’.

In a surprise twist on the night of the awards, it was announced that the MBCA’s Inaugural Community Spirit Award was to be sponsored this year by the Millicent Business Community Association as the panel had determined, “there was no alternative than to award it to the business that has set the bench mark for us all to aspire to”.

The MBCA Inaugural Community Spirit Award was awarded to FOSTER’S FOODLAND Pty Ltd.

Brian Foster had been invited by the MBCA to present the award to the winner but instead, a surprised Brian and Cathy Foster  were presented with the Inaurgural Award in recognition of Brian’s  father’s commitment to this community over 67 years in business, and his legacy that has inspired a second generation through Brian and in more recent times, a third generation through David to continue the family business in Millicent; a business that has successfully spanned 68 years since it’s early beginnings in Rendelsham.

brian and Cathy community spirit

Brian Foster accepting the MBCA Community Spirit Award in honour of his father the late Bob Foster. ‘Dad would be humbled’ he said. Photo courtesy of Steve Chapple Photography.


On accepting the award Brian said his father would be humbled that such an award had been created in his memory. Brian said in acknowledging his father’s achievements, his mother did everything else so that his father could just work and run the business; a partnership that together achieved a great deal.

Each year the MBCA , through the judging panel, will seek to recognise a business, which through their exemplary actions deserves to be recognised for their commitment to community.

Mrs foster

Mrs Foster (centre) received flowers as a token of appreciation for her family’s contribution to community. The Community Spirit Award was awarded to Fosters Foodland in honour of the late Mr Bob Foster’s support of his community. l-r Nicola Meegan, Kathy Sporer, Brian Foster, Mrs Beryl Foster, Cathy Foster & Karen Hateley. Photo by Lucy Pretty

Mrs Beryl Foster attended the event with her daughter Pam and son in law Alan Crowe,  son Brian and daughter in law Cathy,  and was presented with a sheath of flowers as a token of appreciation for all she and her late husband have done for the community and to wish her a belated 90th birthday which she celebrated a few weeks ago. Mrs Foster said she was overwhelmed by the award in her husbands memory and very appreciative of the flowers and best wishes.


5THE FM and Holla-Fresh

Bill and Kaye Thoroughgood, Pam and Alan Crowe, Mrs Beryl Foster, Mark and Deb Lines Holla-Fresh

Photos:- Lucy Pretty, Steve Chapple Photography

Holla-Fresh receive the Agriculture, Viticulture, Horticulture MBCA Award.


Holla-Fresh PL CEO Mark Lines received the MBCA Award from Chairman Margaret Chapple

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

 HOLLA-FRESH Pty Ltd  Tantanoola were announced the winners of the MBCA Agriculture, Viticulture and Horticulture category at the gala awards ceremony on Saturday night in the Civic and Arts Centre Millicent; receiving a trophy from the MBCA and an advertising package of $400-00. The South Eastern Times and 5 THE FM each contributing $200-00

The MBCA judging panel said it was encouraging to see this category growing over the years and while it was a difficult choice, one nomination stood out. Not only had the winning business grown locally from humble beginnings, providing employment in the district but it has extended its client base nationally.

As one of the leading hydroponic growers in Australia, Holla-Fresh has taken an innovative, flexible approach to ensure the highest standards of fresh herbs are grown, cultivated and delivered to Australian supermarkets. Their up-to-date machinery ensures that they are at the forefront of technology in a niche market.

Established in 1991, Holla-Fresh Pty Ltd has now grown into an independent and flourishing company with a workforce of over 40 staff; but over 24 years have employed in the vicinity of 200 people CEO Mark Lines said today. This year will mark their 25th year in business and they are grateful for all of the support they have received. Foster’s Foodland being one of their first wholesale cusotmers.
Holla – Fresh is based in Tantanoola, just 10kms south of Millicent, in the Wattle Range Region.

The Award was accepted by Co- Owner Mark Lines who congratulated the MBCA on holding such an impressive event to showcase local businesses.

The nominees in this category were -Beachport Spraying Services, Bowman’s Earthmoving, Sebastapol Machinery Service, Holla-Fresh Pty Ltd, SE Spraying Services, and Dick & Kathy Coote – Chip-It

Standing ovation for Hall of Fame inductee Foster’s Foodland


Proud recipients of the 2 major MBCA Awards, the Hall of Fame and the Community Spirit Award, Brian and David Foster. Both were very pleased with the awards but Brian said there is definitely something special about the Community Spirit Award in honour of his father the late Bob Foster.

 by S Lowe 5THE FM’s newsonline wattlerangenow

The 2015 MBCA Hall of Fame Inductee Fosters Foodland Pty Ltd received a standing ovation from the 245 strong crowd attending the MBCA Cabaret Awards ceremony on Saturday 24th July at the Civic and Arts Centre.  The Foster family business has been operating in firstly in Rendelsham and then Millicent for a total of 68 years and has employed in excess of 540 people over that time, spanning three generations of the family..

This award is awarded to a business operating within the Millicent district which has been under local ownership by the same owners or family for more than 25 years. Elements considered by the judging panel are the longevity of business and its success in competing in the market place over a prolonged period.  Consideration is also given to the business’ commitment to its community.

Brian and wife Cathy accepted the award  presented by Mayor Peter Gandolfi on behalf of the Wattle Range Council who sponsor this MBCA Award. Brian said it was overwhelming, very much appreciated and thanked the community for their support over the years and  the MBCA for the award. He said he was thankful for good family and good staff over the years that had been such a large part of the business.

Brian Hall

Brian and Cathy Foster accepted the Hall of Fame Award. Brian said they had been fortunate to have good family and good staff over the years and was grateful to receive this award.

The Foster family business first began operating in Rendelsham in 1947 as Foster’s Groceries when the late Mr Bob Foster and his wife Beryl bought Poole’s Store.

Mr Bob Foster’s family was a pioneering one; his great-grandfather Robert arrived in SA in 1849 from Great Kendale Farm in the East Riding of Yorkshire and farmed his properties at Callendale, Lake Eliza and Lake St Clair in the SE before Bob;s grandfather took up land at Kendale, east of Rendelsham; so began in 1879, the long Foster association with this district.

Bob was at Rendelsham Primary School and was just 8 years old when his father died in 1930; he later attended Millicent High School and then did an apprenticeship at the Adelaide Stock Exchange for some years before returning to the family farm which his mother had been managing. Ofcourse growing up in Rendelsham, chicory was part of that farm life.

In October 1946,  Bob married Beryl Humphries of Rendelsham a year before taking over AA Poole’s grocery and farm supply business – so began his Rendelsham store. Many will remember the Red Truck, Bob’s Morris Commercial,  making the trips to Mt Hope with deliveries as such to Arch McArthur, Alf Braham or Ken Stuckey of Murtonga. Later, Keith Humphries, Bob’s brother-in-law assisted, both at the shop and with those deliveries.

In the early 1960’s Bob expanded his business to Millicent with his purchase of the Serv-Wel store in George Street and in 1971 he built the present Foodland Store in Kentish Place which was originally called Fosters Discount Foods until becoming Fosters Foodland in 1971. It was one of the earlier Foodland stores with only about 10 in operation at that time.  He continued to operate the Rendelsham store in conjunction with the Millicent store for 2 years.  Bob had the respect and friendship of professional staff throughout his business life.

Bob used to joke that Millicent was a small town just on the out skirts of Rendelsham.  Brian said it was just like that,  because everything he ever wanted he could get at Rendelsham or Southend.

“Home was  a grocery store and ‘we often sampled the stock’, until we were caught.” Brian said.

The groceries used to be brought to Rendelsham by train which ran through the middle of the town, but once the train stopped running in 1956, we had to get the groceries from the train station in Millicent. After 1960 we had to go to Mt. Gambier to collect the groceries because the train stopped altogether.  Fresh bread would come from Millicent three times a week.

There were three stores operating in Rendelsham,  Fosters Groceries,  Pooles Post office who also sold work clothing, shoes and fuel and just down the road was Carthew hardware store.

Brian said his father Bob used to have a grocery and fuel run to Mt Hope and Hatherleigh twice a week. People would phone the orders to the shop and Bob would fill the orders and do the grocery run in his red truck. He remembers the store selling everything in bulk;  biscuits, flour, salt and dried fruit would come in a big wooden box and sugar came in 70lbs hessian bags.  Brian’s sister Pam said one her memories is the stock-taking which was very different to how it’s done now. Among her memories are many trips she made with her dad in the truck on deliveries.

In 1975 Brian became manager of Foster’s Foodland and continues in that role today.  Brian and Cathy’s son David joined the business several years ago.

Fifteen years ago Foster’s introduced a training scheme enabling many students to gain SACE entry points into University which they otherwise could not have done.

Cathy said of her father-in-law. “To run a successful business over almost 68 years,  inspire a second and third generation to continue the business  and employ over 540 people during that time is a great achievement for one man in Millicent.”

Brian said today, “a business is only as good as the people you have working for you and we have good people working for us.”

“It was particularly good to see so many young people in the awards. There are a lot of good young people we’d like to employ but again there are not enough jobs to do this but we enjoy watching the young ones we do employ, change and grow in confidence, and it seems to only take a few weeks before that change is evident.”

Foster’s Foodland is a successful, Millicent based business of 68 years, spanning three generations of the same family, a worthy recipient of the MBCA’s Hall of Fame Award. with the judges saying their decision was a ‘no-brainer and this recognition is long over-due’……………and they still wheel your groceries out to your car.