REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: What makes your community special?

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Character is one of those things that's hard to pinpoint. What makes it? What defines it?

What makes a town stand out? The people? The landscape? The local businesses? Or maybe it's the community groups, the local sports teams or volunteer organisations that tie us together.

It's always interesting chatting to people who have moved to a new town about what inspired the move. For those moving from one regional town to another it's usually work, or education or family but for those moving from one of the capital cities it's often something more intangible.

Some I've spoken to thrive on the isolation. They have moved all their work online and love that they can go days, weeks even without having a conversation with anyone. I dunno about you, but as much as I enjoy the solitude of working from my study at home I also love that the staff at my local club know my beer order and the bistro knows to never ever ever put dressing on my salad.

Or if I want to really feel like a local celebrity I can take my mate's dog for a walk and bask in Baxter's popularity. But here's the thing - after a decade living overseas I moved home to live just a few kilometres down the road from where I grew up. I've got people I went to school with within walking distance, people whose parents knew my dad, knew my grandparents.

So how do you become part of the community when you're new in town? If you've got kids, you can meet the other parents waiting outside the school gate or on the sideline at the kids weekend sports comp, but if you're a young, single guy like Roy Elder who moved to Forbes last year for work it's not so straightforward.

For him the answer has been acting on a long held dream of joining the RFS and playing AFL. Others, such as Howard Porter who moved to Dunoon up in the Northern Tableland, well he invited everyone over for a cup of tea!

I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to invite a whole village over, even one with less than 400 residents but whatever you do, it's obviously important to make those ties and help to keep the very thing that attracted you to the town in the first place.

This week we're looking at the many different ways people create a community, join us at Race to the Regions.

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