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The Secret.

We're kicking off Gippslandia - Issue No. 18 with the opening editorial and the secret that holds small towns together.

Mar 20, 2021

Words: Tim Leeson
Images: Gippslandia

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Welcoming. Remote. An escape. Isolated. Supportive. Stifling. Close-knit. Feuding.

Our small towns can be many things to (not so) many people.

I was a year away from finishing primary school when I learnt their secret.

Tragically, a beloved classmate was killed on her way to school. The funeral was held at the petite chapel adjacent to the lineup of well-used cricket nets. At that stage, the school’s student population was still slight, but there wasn’t a chance that we’d all fit onto the handful of pews inside.

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It didn’t matter; we respectfully sprawled out onto the thick grass surrounding the humble church. Joining us was the vast majority of our community, standing solemnly to pay respect and provide their support. Of course they were all there.

“The secret is, when it matters, they’re there."

Christmas carols, school fetes, fundraisers or working bees, markets, footy finals or menacing bushfires — these are the moments that pull a small town together.

The secret is, when it matters, they’re there.

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Gippslandia - Issue No. 18

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Gippslandia is a community, non-profit publication. We curate an ever-optimistic take on regional, national and global issues, in a local context. Leaving you feeling like a Gippslandia local, no matter where you’re from. Read more

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