Whilst travelling through the Mallee country in western Victoria we experienced two opposing feelings from two different towns. One was positive and the other was depressing.
To put this into context, these feelings and judgements were only made after spending 30 minutes and stopping for a coffee but this is my point. What outward displays did each of these towns give for us to form these immediate opinions?
I will focus only on the positive town, Kaniva, to try and answer the original question.
To distill the vagaries of “a good vibe” into some substantive points I have come up with the following:
- It had colour and movement. The local community had organised statues of sheep to be dispersed throughout the town on footpaths. Each sheep had different groups advertised on them as sponsors and everyone had a hidden windmill icon to give the visitor a bit of a treasure hunt if they wanted. These gimmicks showed us immediately that the community cared how they presented their town.
- The locals were talking to each other openly in the street and seemed happy for you to be there. They acknowledged your presence as a visitor and smiled.
- The small businesses in the main street were vibrant and quirky. There was not just the usual stores but also bric a brac, art gallery and a puppet shop. This diversity gave a very artistic feeling and made the stroll down the main street interesting.
- The community notice board was full, neat and current.
It was hard to actualise the “things” that gave us an immediate positive feeling but these items definitely contributed in a major way.
How does your community “feel” when a visitor comes into it?
Brad Scott is a Redlander currently travelling at a leisurely pace around Australia with his wife Narelle in a caravan they’ve named “Situation Tolerable”.
In 2016 Brad was The Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Bowman.
Redlands2030 – 8 June 2017