Business

South Tribe brings creative co-working and people to Batemans Bay

Elka Wood 11 May 2019
A former warehouse, South Tribe now houses 11 independent workers in Batemans Bay. Photo: Isobel Darling.

A former carpet warehouse, South Tribe now houses 11 independent workers in Batemans Bay. Photo: Isabel Darling.

After moving from the Snowy Mountains to Batemans Bay, film-maker and photographer Isabel Darling of Torchlight Media was sick of working from home and wanted to find the creative community she suspected was there – hidden in plain sight.

So in October 2016 she and Andrew Belk opened South Tribe, a co-working space anchored in a former warehouse.

South Tribe now hires 11 full-time desks to a wide range of workers – including a freelanceĀ digital marketer for the Sydney Opera House, a graphic designer, an underwater robot creator and the cloud storage specialists at Ronin.

“I wanted to get out of the house myself and socialize but I also wanted to flush out the creatives I knew were here, working in isolation,” Isabel says.

As well as finding those already there, Isabel wanted to make moving to the Eurobodalla attractive for people living all over Australia, who do the kind of work that can be taken anywhere.

South Tribe co-founder Isobel Darling [left] and freelance digital marketer Angie Gannon celebrate South Tribe's second birthday last year. Photo: supplied.

South Tribe co-founder Isabel Darling [left] and freelance digital marketer Angie Gannon celebrate South Tribe’s second birthday last year. Photo: supplied.

Isabel wasn’t sure how a co-working space would be received in a mid-sized, tourism-based town but she was determined to make it work, strategically choosing her site positioned between two NBN towers to make it attractive to anyone working remotely who depends on high-speed internet.

The site, a former carpet warehouse run by Don and Helen Burrows, needed a lot of work to make it into the space Isobel envisioned, add to that the big undertaking of funding and advertising her new business.

The Burrows were very supportive of South Tribe from the beginning, Isabel says.

“Sadly, Don passed away a weeks after we signed the lease in 2016 but he was a legend – he gave us a shot because we were young people wanting to try something different. Now Don’s wife owns the building and she is very supportive.”

Founder Isobel Darling would like to see South tribe become a non-profit in the near future. Photo: Isobel Darling.

Founder Isabel Darling would like to see South tribe become a non-profit in the near future. Photo: Isobel Darling.

David Rowland, of UnderseaROV, joined South Tribe a few months after the doors opened.

Dave and his co-workers at UnderseaROV, some of whom work from Sydney, specialize in sonar mapping and filming underwater environments with robots – because, he says, “everyone is curious about what’s happening underwater.”

“I started working on underwater robots as a hobby about five years ago,” Dave explains “and when I decided to give it a go as a career, I moved to Bateman’s Bay from Canberra to be closer to the undersea environment I’m working with.”

South Tribe has enriched Dave’s work life and has brought him in touch with “a great network of people,” he says.

“Before I had a desk at South Tribe, I worked wherever I could and was largely by myself. Now, if I find I need a video editor, I just turn around – South Tribe has a few media producers, including Isabel.”

Some of the South Tribe community celebrate two years of co-working in late 2018. Photo: Isobel Darling.

Some of the South Tribe community celebrate two years of co-working in late 2018. Photo: Isabel Darling.

Although the co-working space technically runs as a business now, Isabel says it’s “much more about function than profit” and would like to see South Tribe morph into a cooperative non-profit in the near future so that she can focus on her own creative projects, including the upcoming documentary ‘In For The Ride’ which explores the lives of ‘showies’ traveling the country show circuit as well as promotional work for Tourism NSW.

Dave advises anyone working from home in the Eurobodalla region to check out South Tribe.

“The people here inspire me to keep going even when things are hard.”

He laughs and adds, “we’ve had some good karaoke parties too.”

What's Your Opinion?

8 Responses to South Tribe brings creative co-working and people to Batemans Bay

Felicity Stewart Felicity Stewart 8:59 pm 13 May 19

Nice one Is x

Naomi Birkett Naomi Birkett 3:20 pm 13 May 19

Terrific - a great piece to read. I didnā€™t realise such diverse individuals were working from South Tribe. Well done!

Morag Philpott 2:58 pm 13 May 19

All the best to you Isabel, your a very hard working women. Good luck, if I can ever help in any way just give me a call. Morag

Barbara Lewincamp Barbara Lewincamp 1:14 pm 13 May 19

Well done

Congratulations

Tracy Blake Tracy Blake 10:41 am 13 May 19

Wonderful article

South Coast Film South Coast Film 9:45 am 13 May 19

This is great!!

Wendy Dumaresq Wendy Dumaresq 11:41 pm 11 May 19

Great article Isabel Darling and Ian About Regional

Marieke Janssen Marieke Janssen 1:36 pm 11 May 19

Awesome article about an amazing place and lady! Isabel

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