Naracoorte impresses US visitors

NARACOORTE was pleased to welcome a dignitary from the other side of the world last weekend.

American radio station owner Bill Buchanan, his wife Jana and grand daughter Meagan travelled over from "sister city" Liberty, in Texas, to catch up with long-time friend Graeme Brighton and his family.

He was in Sydney for a Rotary world conference and decided to tie the trip in with a visit to the SE.

"This is our first time in Naracoorte," Mr Buchanan said.

"The thing I am most impressed with is the cleanliness. The countryside is so spotlessly clean. 

"We are not real good with our rubbish over in Liberty, or trash as we say in America.

"To come here and see this, I am just awestruck. I love your town."

During their short stay they explored the local sites and did plenty of socialising.

Activities included an interview with ABC SE, travelling down to Mount Gambier, a guided tour through MiniJumbuk, wine tasting at Rymill, cuddling a koala and (unsuccessful) kangaroo spotting.

"I think you guys just dreamed up (the kangaroos) to get us to visit," Mr Buchanan laughed.

Meagan, who is in Grade 9, also went to have a look at Naracoorte High School.

Mr Buchanan said Liberty and Naracoorte had lots of things in common.

"There are probably more similarities than differences," he said.

"You guys talk funny but Liberty is in the SE of Texas just like you guys are in the SE of SA.

"The temperatures, the physical appearance of the city, the size of houses, the way the Government runs - it is all very similar.

"The more we are different the more we are alike...It's kind of cool."

The connection between Naracoorte and Liberty was established in 1986 when Mr Brighton was on the local council.

He travelled over to the US when both SA and Texas celebrated their 150th year of Statehood.

Local businesses financed the trip and Qantas provided a free air ticket for him to spend a few weeks visiting schools, Rotarians and Lions Club members.

"Bill and I became very much involved," Mr Brighton said.

"I spoke quite a lot on his radio station and he really looked after me over there."

Mr Brighton returned to Liberty several times to visit founding associates of the "sister city" link, including Mr Buchanan.

His son David Brighton travelled there last year with partner Michelle Brewer and local John Attwood to revitalise the relationship.

On May 15, 2013 Liberty proclaimed that it be officially known as the first "Naracoorte Day" in a mark of friendship.

Bill Buchanan (left), wife Jana and grand daughter Meagan travelled over from Narcaoorte's "sister city" Liberty in Texas for a few days to see the sights. On Saturday morning they met with Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery (second from right) and Visitor Information Centre volunteers including Bill Vogel.

Bill Buchanan (left), wife Jana and grand daughter Meagan travelled over from Narcaoorte's "sister city" Liberty in Texas for a few days to see the sights. On Saturday morning they met with Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery (second from right) and Visitor Information Centre volunteers including Bill Vogel.

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