BIG families are often the backbone of small communities, and that's certainly the case in Rheola.
For more than a century, family names like Mason, Catto, Soulsby and Leach have been the driving force behind the development of the town.
While the township numbers are dwindling, that sense of community keeps the descendants of those families coming back to play their part in the annual Rheola Charity Carnival.
They travel from across the state to help set up the events that made the carnival great, keeping it running into its fourth and fifth generations.
The town held its 145th installment of the carnival on Monday, attracting a crowd of up to 2500 people - about 10 times the population of Rheola.
Rheola Charity Carnival committee secretary Ann Leach said not even a smattering of rain could dampen the family oriented fun.
"There was just enough rain to make it a little uncomfortable, but I think that made some people even happier," she said.
"It's been so dry here for a long time that we were all happy to see that rain."
The carnival is held in aid of the Inglewood and Dunolly hospitals, and the Rheola Public Hall and Rheola Pioneers' Park.
Sheaf tossing, tractor pulls and sheep dog trials made Rheola just like the family fairs of old.
Yet the Rheola Gift footrace always draws the most eyes.
"The 70 metre mixed event had 25 entries - we had to have heats two and three for each," Mrs Leach said.
"It was the most entries we've ever had."
The Walmer Gun Club and Loddon Pony Club played their part in the day, while the Wedderburn Patchwork Group also added to the colour and fun of the Rheola carnival.
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