Spreading the soulful

Tenterfield in northern NSW is like a cross between Brigadoon and Bonnie Doon – it has the mystical feeling of a town that appears only once every 100 years and it’s a place of serenity where you feel at home even when you’re on holiday. 

Tenterfield Regional Council received funding from the State Government to help support its main street businesses. The caveat was the funding must be for a project to be complete in just a few months and must be focused on activating the community.

Tilma Group was asked to develop and facilitate the community consultation to find out what the community felt would best serve their town. From the outset, driving tourism and the visitor economy was clearly in the minds of many. 

"How can we encourage the thousands of visitors driving through or stopping for a 'pee and tea' stop to stay longer and spend more in the town?" 

Tenterfield is a town with everything going for it as a visitor destination: world class natural beauty and national parks, millions living within 3 hours, captivating history, rapidly growing food provenance sector, a booming café and boutique shopping offering, a highway going straight through the middle of it and a truly humbled and soulful community ready to invite you in. 

Filtering through the many ideas that came from the community it became clear two projects would provide a foundation for future tourism and community activation projects, including marketing, town beautification and other collaborations: 

1. A Tenterfield brand that captures the essence of the community and surrounds
2. A program to create a worldwide fanbase of Tenterfield 

As the community described itself, we heard this is a place that calls you home, a place with a sense of soul – it’s real and true, and the new brand is designed around the very thing visitors find so magnetic; the people of Tenterfield Shire, their amazing community spirit and sense of place: Tenterfield True

Photos by Peter Reid

Photos by Peter Reid

In addition, we created Tenterfield True Local, a community-fuelled brand activation program dedicated to help visitors experience a human connection with the locals of Tenterfield Shire. An opportunity for visitors to live like locals and be completely immersed in this community. 

The new brand and Tenterfield True Local program was launched in the Tenterfield School of Arts building on Wednesday 9 August, with over 60 community members present. The feedback is not surprising from this grateful and proud community: 

"Tenterfield has been special to me for a long time, and as Linda Tillman reminded us all at the #tenterfieldtrue brand launch, we have a lot of assets to be proud of. It was great to hear and consider the easy ways for getting on board, and more information and resources are available from Visit Tenterfield. Each little action, even adding the #tenterfieldtrue hashtag, can help make a difference to the growth of our community. Who knows, it may help create a job for one of my children, or for one of yours" - Kathryn Sommerlad of Sommerlad Poultry
"It has been an absolute delight working with the Tilma Group. We have been working with them for the last six months on community workshops, place activation and branding Tenterfield, and we are thrilled with the results! Linda, Kushla and Anna are all invested in our community and in the project - they have all become part of our community, they really got invovled & discovered for themselves what the Tenterfield community is all about." - Caitlin Reid of Tenterfield Shire Council

We look forward to seeing this brand come to life over the coming months and continuing our relationship with this great community. A special thank you to Caitlin and Harry of Tenterfield Shire Council for being an absolute pleasure to work with.

If you are looking for help with growing tourism in your regional community, we're happy to talk with you about how we could be of service. Contact us at admin@tilmagroup.com.au.

Read more at www.tilmagroup.com.au/tenterfield-shire-council

Linda TillmanComment