Goodbye from Along The Grapevine

(at least for now)

A Letter from the Editor:

Before I start, I’d like to apologise for anything below that may not be 100% accurate. My early memories of Along the Grapevine date back to when I was a teenager, over 20 years ago—you don’t expect to have to summon these things back to memory so many years later! Along the Grapevine was the brainchild of my father Roger. In the late 90’s, as members of the Lobethal Community Association, we were printing the Lobethal Community Newsletter, which was distributed predominantly to the Lobethal area. Those were the days when Lobethal had two supermarkets, a Ford dealership, two places that you could buy fuel, a coffee shop, a hardware store and a clothing / department store! 

Dad had the idea that we should go wider than just Lobethal, and distribute to a larger area of the Hills, so Along the Grapevine was created in October 1997. 

Our first few editions of ATGV were distributed with the Lobethal Community Newsletter, but it wasn’t long before the two were combined and distributed across the Northern Adelaide Hills under the Along the Grapevine banner. In mid 1998, Along the Grapevine went from a monthly publication to a fortnightly publication, which it has remained as since. 

I remember in the early days my dad telling me that I should go and cold sell advertising to businesses — to people that I didn’t even know! For a quiet and slightly socially awkward teenager, this was truly horrifying. And because I didn’t yet have a driver’s license, my older brother Joseph, who printed ATGV up until around 2001, would drive me to various towns around the Adelaide Hills and drop me there with the ‘promise’ that he would return at some later stage to collect me. This was the time before mobile phones were common! Despite my initial disquiet, I ended up meeting a lot of lovely people across the Adelaide Hills – Gonnie and Joseph Zeph from Birdwood, Terry Warke from Woodside Upholstery, Sheila Varney from Rose Cottage Antiques in Birdwood, John Rice from Hills Brakes in Birdwood and David Roach (who I bought my first family car from in 2001) from Balhannah, to name just a few. I believe this really helped get our name out into the community, and this is what turned Along the Grapevine into the success it has been for so long. 

I’d like to make mention of the late Ros Dickenson who hand drew our current banner in 2000, with the new banner going public in March 2000. I met Ros and her husband Ian, at their picture framing business in Birdwood on one of my advertising selling trips. She was an excellent artist and a lovely lady. 

1997: One of our first editions, complete with the Lobethal Community Newsletter insert
2000: Our largest ever edition of 40 pages!
2009: Our first colour editions

Over the course of 25 years, Along the Grapevine has been produced at a few different locations. Initially it was produced in Lobethal at our printing business, S.A.C.T. Print, 21 Main Street. Then for several years in the shed at home in One Tree Hill. The late Michael Willoughby, who started the Heart of the Hills Market, held in the Old Woolen Mills in Lobethal, printed ATGV from the start of 2008 and into 2009, on a machine that he used for promotional material for the market. 

Early in 2012 we closed our shop in Lobethal and since then have been producing ATGV from home in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. A big shout out to Lui Fontanarosa from Smart Print in St Agnes. Lui has been printing ATGV for us since March 2009 until this, our last edition. 

During the peak of Covid, when nobody really wanted to spend any money on advertising and most public events were cancelled, it was really tough to fill ATGV each fortnight. In 2020 we had a reduced year, missing out on 7 editions and publishing an online edition. ATGV never really recovered from this. That being said, Along the Grapevine has never been about making a lot of money. God has truly blessed us in the fact that most years we made a small profit, but over the past 3-4 years with Covid and other factors, it has declined to a point it just isn’t financially viable. 

It has been my pleasure and privilege to have had the opportunity to serve the Adelaide Hills Community in this small way for the last 25 years! 

I’d like to make a special mention of Kendrea Rhodes. Kendrea has been writing editorial content for us on and off for over 10 years. Kendrea is somebody I consider a friend, someone I respect, who is never afraid to give me her honest opinion on any of my quirky ideas, but always encouraging at the same time! Along the Grapevine was always a better read when it had one of her stories and photos on the front! 

I’d also like to make a special mention of my family, who have always helped me along the way, making ATGV the success it has been. Everybody has always pitched in, true family style, and I couldn’t have done it without them. In the early days we printed and put it all together ourselves, every month/two weeks. We would print it in Lobethal or at One Tree Hill, then hand feed thousands of sheets of paper through the temperamental old folding machine and then hand collate each edition. The faster we did this, the more computer gaming time we would get afterwards!

In the early days we would have a combination of a few different cars and people who would then hand deliver the publication to shops and outlets, either late Friday night or Saturday morning. This was always a time of great camaraderie, and right to the end I have two of my brothers and my beautiful mum delivering Along the Grapevine with me — I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

A big thank you to our dedicated advertisers – some who have been advertising for 20 years or more! Without you, we would not have been able to contribute to the community as we have for so long. Also, to those who have contributed to our editorial content over the years. You have all gone a long way in helping me fill our pages, always sending in your snippets and bits and pieces to advertise events and happenings across the Hills. 

And lastly to our loyal readers, THANK YOU. With you picking up ATGV each edition and supporting our advertisers, you’ve encouraged me to keep going year after year. 

And here we are, I can’t actually believe it’s the end of 2022. I started as a fresh faced 17 year old with basically nothing. I finish as a bearded 42 year old, with a beautiful wife, 4 amazing children, and what feels like a lifetime of memories and experiences. 

Thanks for reading, Samuel Burford, ed.

Hi readers, 

I’d like to share with you some of my fond memories of when I joined the ATGV family. Looking back over the years, Along the Grapevine has seen many changes, not only throughout the Adelaide Hills but also in a young man who was able to spend time in a community he loved, with people who mentored him and helped shape the man he is today. 

Samuel has spent more than half his life investing time and effort into a paper he helped start when he was a teenager, with his Dad and older brother, printing from the heart of Lobethal. 

When we started dating, I would often catch the bus to the city and then up to Lobethal and spend the afternoon and sometimes well into the evening at the ‘print shop’ as the paper was formatted. Each digital page was made into a physical plate, which would attach to one of the main large rollers in the printing press. Ink was applied to the printing press with a spatula by Joseph, his brother, and the machine did its magic as the paper was taken through the machine, resulting in large piles of printed A3 sheets. Samuel would let them sit to dry for a short while and then he would expertly flick the papers, separating them, before the harsh clacking of the folding machine would turn them into neatly folded A4 pages. These boxes would then go to the family home with us and we would set the pages in piles to collate them by hand on the 3/4 sized pool table. The completed piles of Along the Grapevines would then be counted into boxes for distribution the next day as they were delivered throughout the Hills. 

All the tasks were spread out across the family, with the youngest siblings running around filling up pages that had run out and collecting the completed papers. It was always a tiring night, but we were rewarded with a bakery dinner and the boys would play computer games! 

Toni Burford (ed’s wife)

Click the image above to download/read the entire final issue of Along The Grapevine