The Bureau of Statistics has recently advised that a place with a population of less than 200 will no longer be considered a town. I know of many tiny little towns with less than 200 people who are perplexed by this decision and are now wondering “what constitutes a town?”
A town will probably have a school, a pub, a shop, a sporting ground, an industry and so on. A big town will have multiples of these things. But the fact that it is considered a town doesn’t say a thing about the people who live there, the connection those people have and the value they add to each other. These small towns have fewer services, reduced access to things that we in the city couldn’t do without and yet they function by being a capable and connected group of citizens. That is what community is all about.
Much has happened in our rural communities over the past 25 years to make it harder and harder to survive, including catastrophic weather events, the move towards larger regional centres and the changing agriculture industry.
As each knock has come these small communities have picked themselves up and started all over again, reinventing themselves and increasing their determination to live in a future where a small community matters even if the bureaucrat’s say it doesn’t.
Everywhere I go I find small groups trying to create their own communities within larger towns, looking for connection opportunities, looking to be a part of something real because living in a geographical area, no matter how many amenities exist in that place, does not create a community.
The really wonderful thing is that these little ‘non towns’ are the very models that our towns and cities should be imitating in order to develop wonderful communities everywhere.
Go little places, keep showing us how it’s done!