There is a distinct camaraderie in country towns. They are often small, with neighbours on hand to share good times and bad. To help out with baby sitting and looking after the family pet when you go out for the night. To build a sense that somebody has your back.
At the heart of many of these towns is the local pub. They’ve been around since places in central Victoria were settled - some towns which now struggle to keep one pub once had hundreds filled with people seeking their fortunes on the goldfields or the new farming territories that were opening up. As the gold dried up and the people moved on the pubs failed. Only a few remained to keep the legacy alive.
The Axedale Tavern was one which, a few years ago, was up for sale and in danger of closing. Locals believe had it ceased to trade it would have taken the heart out of the town. It was a hub - a place to catch-up, hear about what was going on, plan for the future. Not to mention grabbing a parmigiana and a pint.
There’s no doubt that pubs have been the heart of villages for a long time. In Britain this century the closure of pubs has lead to the demise of hamlets with little more to recommend them than a beautiful location and the local. All who survived continued to be essential to their local communities.
Today we write about a central Victorian town that is looking to the future. The pub and the general store in Goornong are touchstones for the 700 people who live there (and more who will move in as more land becomes available). They bring the community together - a community which needs volunteers to help with the hall, the cricket club and the pool. Come on in, they beckon, the welcome’s warm.
It’s part of a series by the Bendigo Advertiser on small towns with a pub and a general store (and often not much else business wise) and with big hearts. Farming communities looking after each other, small towns on the fringes of bigger towns fighting to keep their identities, towns growing due to an influx of tree changers, towns at risk of dieing due to people leaving. All stories about locals, one and all.
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