Taradale resident JENNY NESTOR explains the background to a push to make Taradale a republic...
The idea to establish a People’s Republic of Taradale sprang from an afternoon “drinks secession” at our local cafe.
We were discussing recent articles – including the Bendigo Advertiser’s – about alleged changes to the status of small towns like ours.
What was being reported was that we were no longer a town because we failed to be dense enough to qualify, being less than 200 people per square kilometre.
Without in any way wanting to shoot a line, in Taradale we have some seriously terrific people – both those who’ve grown up here and those who have chosen to move here.
There is a pool of talent, knowledge and skill in fields as varied as Indonesian, events management, music, massage, native revegetation, fashion design, science education, sculpture, wine-making and gardening to name just a few.
Along with this is a well of kindness, good-will and eccentricity all pooled together in this little valley, so I’d guess we punch above our weight in many ways.
The generosity that occurs between people on an everyday level is a real contrast to the distance many people who come here from Melbourne are accustomed to.
It certainly seemed daft to us that we were suddenly not a town.
The brilliant thought that afternoon was that if someone, somewhere, can arbitrarily decide we are not a town then we can as arbitrarily decide to secede and become a republic.
Drawing on the local talent we will chip away at this and see what happens by our annual Mineral Springs Festival on the March long weekend.
Hopefully the anthem will be ready by then.
Taradale received a coronary by-pass in 2008 when the Calder Freeway went elsewhere.
It is now quieter and sweeter but far from pulse-less.
Perhaps we don’t want a whole lot of people to realise just how lovely it is. We are not dense in population and that, for now, has its bonuses.
Change is never easy but when it appears out of the blue and unconsulted it can stir people up.
This is especially the case when the consequences of such changes are unknown.
What many people in larger towns might not realise is that if small towns like ours want small everyday things repaired, built, or added to, they have to apply for funding.
We have to put up our hand, wave it about and jump up and down or we will not be noticed. Anyway the upshot is that this change was not just arbitrary but non-existent.
The only change according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics is that they are now working from a different geographic statistical mapping system.
In 2011 they moved from the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
In fact Taradale has actually grown. Our new locality boundary is wider than previously.
According to the ABS, Taradale was always considered a ‘locality’ both before and after this change.
What we had was a knee-jerk reaction to being labelled externally as being less than we know ourselves to be.
But we also quite like the idea of being the People’s Republic of Taradale, so that will slowly grow, over drinks, and lead to quiet changes that you might notice as you drive through the town...
Or, you might not, and that is just fine with us.