Community spirit. It’s why so many people live in the country. It’s knowing your neighbours and being on hand to help them when the chips are down. It’s bringing your spirit and culture to a town and working to make sure you are part of it.
The story in this week’s Bendigo Advertiser about Avoca rallying around the local butcher in a time of hardship is a true tale of mateship.
James Collicoat and his wife Hayley moved into the town two years ago to create a better work-life balance and to spend more time with their five children.
They started a butcher shop so that locals wouldn’t have to travel out of town to get quality meat.
They supported the locals.
They “made a deliberate choice to source its cattle from a nearby farmer, its lambs from down the road, fresh produce from local growers and wine selections from neighbourhood vineyards”.
When the Avoca butchery burnt down recently it upended their world. But as they had supported the local community, so the local community returned the favour.
It rallied, helping them overcome a few hurdles with the aim of being back in business within six weeks.
It’s that kind of small-town help that looks so appealing to outsiders, whether from the big smoke or from overseas.
This week it was suggested that immigrants moving to Australia, as part of their visa conditions, could be made to move into regional areas to help show the crush of metropolitan overcrowding.
If they move to a place with the community spirit of Avoca, or, say, Pyramid Hill, where the Filipino community has helped to revise the town, we could all benefit.
If you need further convincing, look to Bendigo. The Karen community has injected millions into the economy and promoted cultural diversity.
We should welcome in new neighbours that add to the amenity of the towns and cities we love. Afterall, we are a nation built on people seeking new and better lives.
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