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Woodburn Festival2

7th September 2017

Sunshine Sugar Sweetens up Woodburn Riverside Festival

In its sixth year this October, the Woodburn Riverside Festival has once again received support from the local sugar industry.

The family fun day, which is organised by volunteers from the local Woodburn community, has become an iconic event over the past few years. Event organiser, Pam Bellingham described the Festival as “an event run by the community, for the community.”

Sunshine Sugar has been a sponsor of the Festival every year since its inception. This year the local sugar mill will be the major sponsor of both the classic Raft Race as well as the highly competitive Biathlon. This sponsorship has enabled the event committee to offer higher value prize monies this year, which they are hoping will generate even more interest from local water enthusiasts and athletes.

Mrs Bellingham, along with President of the Woodburn Event Team, Mr Glenn Crawford presented Broadwater Sugar Mill Manager, Mr David Wood with a Gold Sponsor Certificate of appreciation this week.

David Wood commented; “Our local communities are really important to our business. In recognition of this, we try to support community groups and events such as the Woodburn Riverside Festival, which are run for the benefit and enjoyment of the local community.”

The Woodburn Riverside Festival will be held on Saturday 14th October and is a full day of family-oriented activity and entertainment on the Richmond River and Riverside Park at Woodburn. The Woodburn Event Team Inc., which organises the Festival, is a non-profit group working to organise events for the social benefit of the residents of Woodburn and surrounds.

Alina and Kathryn

7th September 2017

The Faces and Places Behind NSW Sugar

Victorian Restauranteur Kathryn Russack has teamed up with Photographer Alina Golovachenko on an exploration of the people and places behind the sugar industry of Northern New South Wales.

This is the second collaboration undertaken by the pair and has been inspired by Kathryn’s quest for knowledge about where sugar comes from, who produces it, and how it is made; along with Alina’s passion for capturing the essence of a subject through imagery.

Kathryn remarked; “As a restauranteur, I know many of my food suppliers by name and pride myself in sourcing wholesome Australian ingredients. Because sugar is such a staple ingredient in commercial and home-kitchens alike, I wanted to see firsthand where it is grown and what is involved in the making of this very versatile food.”

Having spent a week touring through the Northern Rivers meeting with cane growers and their families, local businesses and touring the Harwood Mill and Refinery; the pair admit that the generosity and warm-heartedness of the people they have met throughout the northern rivers has left them in awe.

Kathryn also commented; “The soil and the people who work the land here just seem to go together. There is a natural connection between them and a shared passion for seeing sugar produced here, now and into the future. The area should be proud of its sugar tradition.”

Whilst the visit was both a personal and professional excursion, it is envisaged that the stories and images will be put forward in a photographic exhibition and shared across a breadth of food and beverage industries.

Brayden Loy.Student

5th September 2017

Building Skills In The Sugar Trade                      

Local Maclean High School student Brayden Loy, recently spent a week undertaking work experience at the Harwood Sugar Mill, where he was able to apply skills from his metal work studies.

Brayden, who is also doing workplace training with a local carpenter as part of his wood work studies, found the week a valuable real-life experience.

“My project for the week was to interpret the drawing, plan and build a reclaimer rake which will be used as a part of the boiler fuel management system for controlling the supply of bagasse to the boiler. It was great that I was given the opportunity to plan and build something for a specific job and then weld it myself.”

CEO of Sunshine Sugar, Mr Chris Connors said; “It is a great thing to be able to offer young people from our local community the opportunity to learn real skills in real-life situations. Our staff get a great deal of satisfaction in supporting and working with students, especially those like Brayden, who come into our business with such a positive approach and can-do attitude.” 

Sunshine Sugar will be continuing the work experience program for metal working students, with at least two more pupils from Maclean High School scheduled to complete their week long experience at the Harwood Mill and Refinery before the end of the year.  

4th September 2017

Ag Students Sweeten Things Up

For the fifth consecutive year, staff and students from McAuley College in Grafton have toured the sugar production facilities at the Harwood Mill and Refinery, as well as local Clarence Valley cane farms.

Year 10 Agricultural Studies teacher Mr Arron Kennedy, along with 15 students, spent several hours meeting with milling staff and growers as part of their sugar studies tour.  This visit gave students from wide and varied backgrounds the opportunity to see first hand how sugar is grown, and to follow its journey right through to the finished raw and refined sugar products.

Highlights of the visit included learning about how the sugar mills are geared to produce their own electricity and operate virtually carbon-neutral.  In the field, they learned that the sugar cane plant is also environmentally friendly, as it acts as a carbon sponge, absorbing more carbon as it grows than is released during its harvesting and transportation stages.

CEO of Sunshine Sugar, Mr Chris Connors said; “It is great to see the interest these enthusiastic students show as they interact with staff and growers on the job. As a keen employer and trainer of local youth, Sunshine Sugar welcomes these learning visits and supports the sharing of knowledge about sugar production and the value of the sugar industry to the local business and agricultural community.”

Over the coming weeks, the Harwood Mill will be hosting a number of other schools that have requested a similar experience for their Ag Students, based on the recommendation and positive feedback from McAuley College staff.

Sunshine Sugar Sets Sail to Japan

SSS aboard ClipperK

A 30,000 tonne shipment of NSW’s raw sugar is making its way to Japan, having been purchased by Japanese trading company Toyota Tsusho. Toyota Tsusho is the trading arm of the global Toyota Corporation and provides Australian sugar to Japan’s largest sugar refiner.

Chief Executive Officer of Sunshine Sugar, Mr Chris Connors remarked; “The relationship between Sunshine Sugar and Toyota Tsusho has grown over the past couple of years with the Japanese buyers more than satisfied with both the quality of the sugar product and the standard of service they consistently receive from the NSW Sugar Industry.”

Staff from Sunshine Sugar travelled to Brisbane to meet with the Captain and crew and oversee the final stages of loading late last week.

Mr Connors went on to say; “With stringent import restrictions on the quality of raw sugar that can be imported into Japan, Sunshine Sugar has established itself as a supplier that can consistently deliver a product that meets those requirements.”

This latest shipment follows on from successful delivery of export cargos over the last three years.

New Appointment to Sunshine Sugar Executive Management Team

After a lengthy selection process, Sunshine Sugar is pleased to introduce Mr Grant Kaczorowski as the Operations Manager for the Harwood Mill & Refinery. With over 15 years’ experience running ice cream, confectionery and sugar facilities, Melbourne-born Grant brings a wealth of experience across engineering, manufacturing, safety, quality and operations management. Grant has worked in Australia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom with Nestles’ Ice Cream business, Peter’s Ice Cream. He has also led operational improvement programs for a number of Nestles’ confectionary brands. His expertise in managing improvement programs also extends to leadership roles in Sugar Australia and Paton’s Macadamia.

Grant has an Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Food Science and Technology.

CEO of Sunshine Sugar, Mr Chris Connors stated; “Grant brings a lot of skills and expertise to the table that will greatly benefit our business. His track record in successfully delivering Continuous Improvement projects, as well as his technical skills and people-management style make him a stand out appointment to our high-profile Mill and Refinery operations at Harwood.”

Grant is looking forward to working with the highly regarded management team already in place at Sunshine Sugar; utilising his skills and experience to help drive the business even further forward as it implements a structure and strategic plan focussed on business diversity, sustainability and continuous improvement.

Grant, along with his wife and three young children have moved to Yamba where they are looking forward to settling in to local schools, enjoying the relaxed seaside lifestyle and becoming a part of the community.

Grant K 3

NSW Labor Leader Not Sweet On Sugar Tax

NSW Labor Leader Mr Luke Foley visited the Harwood Sugar Mill this week.

Mr Foley met with Sunshine Sugar Chief Executive Officer Mr Chris Connors and was briefed on the unique structure of the NSW sugar industry and the economic importance of the industry to the Northern Rivers in terms of both jobs and financial input. Mr Connors also shared an update on business projects such as cane juice supply and development of a distillery.

Mr Foley used this meeting to reiterate his staunch opposition to a sugar tax. His views were supported by Mr Walt Secord, Shadow Minister for both Health and the North Coast; who sited not just jobs as a reason to oppose the tax, but also that international research has proven that a sugar tax is ineffective in changing dietary behaviour. It was agreed that a sugar tax would hurt the farming and milling communities the most and result in loss of regional industry.

In an interview with NBN, Mr Foley remarked on the impressive characteristics of sugar cane juice as a health product and the sustainability of sugar cane being a readily renewable food and fuel source.

Sugar is a natural and renewable product that provides essential nutrients when consumed at recommended amounts as part of an overall healthy food and exercise routine.

Foley visit.13072017

Pic L to R: Mr Walt Secord, Shadow Minister for Health, Arts, North Coast; Mr Luke Foley, NSW Labor Leader; Mr Chris Connors, Sunshine Sugar CEO; Mr Ross Farlow, Chairman of NSW  Cane Growers Association.

Web Home PageSunshine Sugar has recently upgraded its web platform and is now proud to reveal a fresh new look site. Major changes, apart from the     overall look and imagery, include additional business information including our management and site operations. The Agricultural Services content within Resources has also undergone a major overhaul - with a landing page created showcasing the breadth of information and  services available.


Educators and Students are invited to access our Resouces section where they will find information and tools relating to sugar growing, production and nutrition. This includes case studies of cane growers from across the NSW sugar industry.


Play School Visits Harwood Sugar Mill

There was lots of excitement at the Harwood Sugar Mill today as the crew from popular ABC children’s show Play School visited to film a segment called ‘To Market, To Market’. This series explores our food’s journey from paddock to plate – looking at environment, weather and seasons as well as the machinery and facilities involved in food production. 

We were able to showcase our full production chain from paddock to finished package, watching cane being harvested and transported to the Mill and then touring through the Mill learning about the sugar making process. Along the way the children learned how versatile sugar is, not only as a food, but also how it is used in making other important products such as medicine, paper, fuel and electricity.

Four local children participated in the filming – Keiran Benson from Lawrence Public School joined Lachlan Patch, Charlotte Reeves and Phoebe Mayo from Maclean Public School.

4 young stars

L to R: Keiran Benson, Lachlan Patch, Charlotte Reeves, Phoebe Mayo

Tasting sugar syrup

Tasting yummy sugar syrup

Sunshine Sugar Sweetens Local Chocolates

Sunshine Sugar is a proud local industry in the Northern Rivers and as such is always keen to support other local businesses and community groups wherever possible.

One such opportunity has led to a partnership between Sunshine Sugar and local artisan chocolate maker Dean Agic.

CEO of Sunshine Sugar, Mr Chris Connors said: “When we were approached with a request for sponsorship support of this years’ Ballina Food and Wine Festival, we were keen to get on board, but wanted to do something interactive and hands-on. When we learned of Dean Agic and his artisan chocolates, we thought this could be a good pairing. There is no greater test of how good a product is than in the tasting, and what a great way to showcase our sugar.”

Sunshine Sugar has supplied Dean with a range of locally grown and produced products that he used to prepare a number of bespoke chocolates for the Ballina Food and Wine Festival - blending not just sugar, but also molasses, treacles and even some cane spirit (white rhum).

Ballina Food Fest


25 May 2017  

Jersey Australia Meets Sunshine Sugar

Sunshine Sugar met with a group of representatives from Jersey Australia in Condong this week. The group have been visiting the northern rivers as part of their annual Conference and AGM.

Hosted by the Far North Coast Jersey Cattle Club of NSW, the contingent included some of the biggest dairy producers in Australia, many of which have travelled from Victoria and Tasmania.

Sunshine Sugars’ Condong Mill Operations Manager, Mr Greg Petersen met with the cattle producers over lunch at the Condong Bowls Club and delivered a presentation that shared some insights into the NSW Sugar Industry.

Jersey Australia

15 May 2017 Cane Growers Investing in Industry

The cane grower owned and operated North Clarence Harvesting Co-operative this week took delivery of a brand new John Deere harvester. Following a number of good seasons and a robust future outlook, the harvesting co-operative have given Chesterfield Australia their first sale of a new cane harvester since opening its doors in Maclean last year.

Director of the North Clarence Harvesting Co-operative, Andrew Fischer commented; “Sugar cane growers are business people, and like any progressive business we are always looking to improve our performance. Adding this advanced new harvester to our fleet ensures we continue to operate our harvesting business at its optimum level, delivering returns to our growers and our local industry.”

Enhancements such as intuitive steering and propulsion and a floating crop divider base cutter, are all designed to deliver harvesting efficiency and performance gains by cutting more of the cane stalk without breakage and minimal soil disruption.

This state-of-the-art machine also integrates the latest technology in the design and functionality of the cab, offering optimum operator comfort and control. Lead-driver for the co-operative, Warwick McLeod, says he is looking forward to putting the new harvester into work when the season kicks off next month. Having planned to retire after last season, Warwick has been enticed to stay on for at least another season by the attraction of the new machine, which offers creature comforts such as air-suspended seating, climate control and built-in fridge. The cab’s control centre also utilizes the JDLink telematics system to deliver real-time performance monitoring designed to optimize running productivity.

Chesterfield Sales Representative Campbell Underwood and Lead Mechanic Keith McLaren, handed over the keys to the new harvester at the co-operatives’ Chatsworth facility. Mr Underwood remarked; “We are very excited to develop this relationship with the local sugar industry and look forward to working with the North Clarence Harvesting Co-operative as the season ramps up.”

The Clarence cane harvesting season is set to commence in mid-June with yet another strong crush anticipated.

JD Harvester handoverJD Harvester driver and mechanic

Picture 1: Andrew Fischer, Director, North Clarence Cane Harvesting Co-operative and Campbell Underwood, Sales, Chesterfield Australia

Picture 2: Warwick McLeod, Operator, North Clarence Cane Harvesting Co-operative and Keith McLaren, Mechanic, Chesterfield Australia

3 May 2017  

Sweet Success at Local Show

With the Maclean Agricultural Show underway for 2017, local cane growers have again used this opportunity to showcase the high quality of sugar cane that is grown in the region. The Cane Pavilion has been lined with entries of 1 and 2 Year old cane stalks being exhibited by growers from throughout the Clarence Valley.

Of all the entries received this year, local cane industry identity Mr Milton Lewis has taken out both Champion 1 Year Old and Champion Exhibit with his stand of Empire cane stalks.

One of this year’s judges, Mr Jim Sneesby remarked; “The quality of cane exhibited here is a credit not only to the growers, but also to the broader community that supports this important local industry.”

Jim is a Director on the NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative Board and a highly regarded cane grower from the Richmond Valley. He went on to say that; “All of the growers who have exhibited have made a tremendous effort and this year’s winning entrant is a remarkable stand of cane, particularly given that it has been hand-cut from a crop that was harvested last August. The alluvial soils on the Clarence floodplain are clearly highly productive, especially when managed with the care and respect of professional landowners like Milton Lewis.”

Official presentations will be made today at 2pm in the Cane Pavilion.

Champion Cane Exhibit.Maclean 2017  

(L to R): Milton Lewis, cane grower; Alister Smith, Ag Services Officer Sunshine Sugar; Graeme Anderson, cane grower and Clarence Cane Growers Association member

31 March 2017

Flood Impact on the NSW Industry

17 February 2017

Sweet NSW Sugar Industry Watches Souring QLD Relations

31 January 2017

2017 Apprentices & Trainees

Apprentices 2017
L_R James Brown (HWD fitter), Kate Watts (HR Officer) Taylor Roberts (HWD admin), Jade Gooley (BWR fitter)
Credence Donoghue (CDG admin), Riley Flick (CDG Electrician), Grayce Kelly (BWR admin), Thomas Harmon (CDG fitter)
& Chris Connors (CEO)
Broadwater apprentices 2017Harwood apprentices 2017
Grayce Kelly (BWR admin) Jade Gooley (BWR fitter)             Taylor Roberts (HWD admin), James Brown (HWD fitter)
Condong apprentices 2017 
Riley Flick (CDG Electrician), Credence Donoghue (CDG admin),Thomas Harmon (CDG fitter)
23 January 2017

Sunshine Sugar on Local Shelves

SPAR Maclean
9 January 2017

Summer rain sweetens the season

Fertilising before the rain                                                                                   

  Fertilising before the rain

9 December 2016

NSW cane harvest wraps up for 2016


7 December 2016

Sunshine Sugar to help Rocky Point cane growers


5 December 2016 World Best Practice Certification awarded to NSW Sugar Industry

Bonsucro2 2016Flags at Harwood2

International Bonsucro auditors in the field


28 November 2016

NSW Cane Juice Making Boutique Rum

Cane Spirit2


21 November 2016

Selling Sunshine Sugar to Japan

Toyota Farm Visit November 2016


15 November

Appointment of Vivien Miller - Communications Manager


20 July 2016

IGA Promoting Sunshine Sugar


7 December 2015

Government Grant


2 July 2015

Manildra Restructure


30 April 2015

 Wilmar Imports Raw Sugar from El Salvador


26 February 2015

NSW Sugar Restructure


2 February 2015 Condong Mill celebrates a full year without a lost time injury
  cdg workforce cropped 



8 September 2014

Broadwater Incident


19 August 2014

MHS Celebrates 25 years of Refining


8 November 2013

Sale of Cogeneration Plants


25 June 2013

Zenith Award


19 April 2013

Sunshine Sugar leading the way in the world of sustainability being the first company in Australasia to sell Bonsucro Credits.


15 November 2012              

Federal Government Grant - Clean Technology Food & Foundries Investment Program


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