Olympic-Free Zone for Walhalla
9 October 2000 at 12:10 pm
While the Olympics proved to be fundraising boon for the Flying Doctors, spare a thought for the tiny gold-rush town of Walhalla in Victoria.
The last town in the state to be put on to the main electricity grid in 1998, (this is not a misprint!) Walhalla has no television or radio reception worth speaking about and no street lights and don’t even think of trying to use the mobile phone!
So the good citizens declared the town an Olympic-free zone. Their tough stance received national and international media coverage and allowed them to show off their numbered, limited-edition local wine (with a fine shaving of local gold inside the bottle) to the sudden influx of curious visitors. There were only 600 bottles produced.
With the help of Pro Bono Australia, the locals even sent off a bottle, numbered 597, to the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) to help raise funds.
And the rest of the money the town raised through the Walhalla and Mountain Rivers Tourist Association’s Olympic-Free Zone…. they sent that to SPOC as well!