Riverina Discovery Weekend and Country Change Expo 2024 an overwhelming success

Blog Post
July 11, 2024
July 10, 2024

The sun was shining, the aroma of free coffee filled the air, and broad smiles were painted across faces at the Riverina Discovery Weekend and Country Change Expo 2024.

Held over two days in late April 2024, the expo offered those considering a move to the region an opportunity to explore education and employment opportunities and chat to community groups and local residents. It also gave recent relocators and others seeking work in Wagga Wagga the chance to connect with local employers.

Showcasing the Riverina

‘The Riverina Discovery Weekend and Country Change Expo 2024 was an absolute success,’ says Rachel Whiting, CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) – Riverina. ‘Instead of telling people why living and working in the Riverina is so great, we wanted to show them. The Country Change Expo, Welcome to Wagga family fun event, and town tours certainly did this.’

And show them, they did. Around 300 people walked through the gates of the Country Change Expo in Wagga Wagga’s Transgrid Discovery Hub, where they found information and opportunities aplenty.

Country Change Expo 2024 banners
Country Change Expo 2024 Banners

The balanced lifestyle appeal

One of those in attendance was Kenya-born, Sydney-based, father-of-two Philip Chepsiror.

He says, ‘Having been born, schooled and raised in a rural area in Kenya, I was drawn to the concept of leading a more balanced lifestyle, which [I’m] used to,’ he explains. ‘The Riverina area appears to have towns that are close to essential amenities and places of employment, all without the commotion and noise of a big city. Additionally, I really like the friendly atmosphere, active neighbourhoods and the opportunity to raise children in a large area with lots of parks.’

Philip attended the Country Change Expo to explore new opportunities for both his personal and professional growth. ‘I was hoping to learn about the location, community and employment prospects in the Riverina region,’ he says. ‘I was particularly interested in the Riverina region's way of life and sense of community and resources that were available to help newcomers like me, with regard to integrating into the community.’

Philip found the expo to be a real eye-opener. ‘It really showcased the strong sense of community in the Riverina region and all the amazing opportunities available to show off my skills. I learned that the region is committed to providing everything you need for a high quality of life, like hospitals, airports, hotels, clubs and sports facilities,’ he says.

Three images of Philip Chepsiror. Left - standing next to Wagga Wagga Sign. Middle - posing for a photo with friends. Right - talking to other locals at the expo.
Philip Chepsiror on his Country Change tour to the Riverina

Town tours displaying daily life

The town tours also gave visitors a sense of what daily life might be like in the Riverina. Hosted tours were available for Griffith and Temora, and visitors could follow self-drive itineraries for the Snowy Valleys and Wagga Wagga.

‘The tours to Leeton and Temora were absolutely enlightening,’ says Philip. ‘Getting to explore the different areas with knowledgeable tour guides was such a great experience. I got to see firsthand the beauty of the region and meet the friendly, welcoming locals.’

The Welcome to Wagga family event

This famous country hospitality was showcased even further at the huge Welcome to Wagga family event hosted by the Committee4Wagga. New and aspiring residents were able to connect with long-term locals, community leaders and organisations over a free barbecue, while children played in the Riverside Precinct playground.

‘These events are all part of supporting new residents to enjoy a successful relocation to the Riverina,’ says Rachel. ‘Establishing community connections is crucial to their long-term happiness living in the area.’

Craig Sinclair from Temora Shire Council, explaining the benefits of a Country Change.
Craig Sinclair from Temora Shire Council, explaining the benefits of a Country Change.

Community for the win

The event certainly helped Philip confirm that the Riverina is the place for him. ‘The expo and the tours have solidified my decision to make the move. The strong sense of community, along with all the space and facilities available, is exactly what I'm looking for in order to have a fulfilling life and career,’ he says.

‘The biggest highlight for me was discovering just how dedicated the region is to creating a supportive environment for newcomers. The networking forums and the genuine warmth of
the community members really left a lasting impression on me. It's clear that the Riverina region has a truly inclusive spirit.’

These community connections were highlighted by RDA – Riverina’s event partnerships with NSW GROW, Workforce Australia and silver sponsor McGrath Riverina Real Estate.

It was only through these organisations coming together that the Riverina Discovery Weekend and Country Change Expo 2024 could be such a success. Not only has it provided encouragement and support to many future and new residents in the region, but its flow-on effects will continue for generations to come. Communities are built on the people who live within them, and this region will be far richer for making its newest additions feel worthy and welcome.

Philip puts it best when he says, ‘I can't wait to contribute to the Riverina community!’

Happy faces at the Welcome event in Wagga Wagga. A large group photo of everyone involved..
Happy faces at the Welcome event in Wagga Wagga.

Did you miss this event?

All of our Country Change towns and communities are happy to organise personalised tours for you and your family. Simply reach out to the contacts on the website and let them know you’re coming! 

Head to Country Change!

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