The Timboon Effect occurs when several factors in a small town coincide to support and empower the community to be their best, both collectively and individually. Allow me to explain.
Timboon is a small town in the South West corner of Victoria. With around 800 residents, many of which are dairy farmers, it’s a surprising delight to visit. Again and again, I’m learning that it’s not about the town, or it’s attractions, it’s always about the people. Timboon have some of the best.
Walking down the main street I felt an odd sense of belonging. Which is super weird, because I’d been in town all of 5 minutes. We ended up staying in Timboon for 6 nights, which was our longest stop so far. And we we’re genuinely sad to leave. It got me thinking. What was it that Timboon had, that made us feel so welcome and our time there so enjoyable?
Here’s are the factors I consider essential for the Timboon effect to occur.
The locals in Timboon said hello. Not just to each other, but to everyone. And it wasn’t a one off. The vast majority of locals smiled or greeted us warmly. It made walking down the street a warm and welcoming experience unlike any other town we’ve been through so far. As soon as you were a few kms outside of town, everyone waved, or did the one finger flick as a greeting. It was just lovey to be included in that type of simple kindness.
One afternoon at the park we started chatting to a family as the kids were playing. Turned out they were dairy farmers and they invited us out to see the cows getting milked that afternoon. Yes, after a 20 minute chat, they simply invited us to their working property. They showed us the dairy and explained the business. It was such a wonderful experience and so generous of them to share their farm. The kids adored it, cow poo and all.
While riding down the Rail Trail, Laura and I met another lovely gentleman clearing some trees. He immediately put his hand out and introduced himself. He was curious about our story and we asked about his. He was clearing the track for the Park Run tomorrow, a local event held every Saturday. I’d considered park run’s before, but never had much exposure or reason to join. But his warmth and kindness radiated, and he genuinely wanted us to be a part of something positive in his little community. So, we went.
We we’re amazed at how many people came to the park run, about 75 participated and they had plenty of volunteers to help. Laura and I ran together and at the start they acknowledged new runners and visitors to the area, of which we were both. Each time someone passed us there was praise, encouragement and a feeling of general comradery of which I haven’t experienced for many years. It felt like we’d been embraced by this tiny little community.
The next day was Australia day. Many people told us about the event in town with bands, food stalls and activities for the kids and encouraged us to come. For a small town, it was remarkable how many people came together over the afternoon to meet, eat and enjoy themselves. Everywhere I looked friendly people came together to greet each other. People we’d me the day before invited us to join their group and the day ended with many of us dancing with the band as they belted out some Scottish classics. It was certainly a day I’ll remember in years to come.
Then there was the triathlon. For a little community, three events in three days must have taken a bucket load of organising. But they did it remarkably well. People had told us about the triathlon and again encouraged us to come along. It was largely for the kids, and they were super keen. So, Laura and Dylan did their first ever triathlon in Timboon and totally loved the experience. It didn’t matter who was coming in, each leg of the way, the community cheered for everyone.
The remarkable thing here isn’t the events themselves, but the spirit in which they were created. There was an open willingness to give to the community and to create a spark of positivity and reason for coming together. It was powerful to see a community create such a positive vibe.
A big heart
Now, no doubt it’s the people that make Timboon, but I must mention, it’s also a great town. The lolly shop was the top of our list, with the friendliest lady ever, toys and games out the front and an array of lollies that would put most city stores to shame. (Just give the triple salt liquorice a miss unless you’re Dutch. LOL)
Then there was the strawberry farm, the ice creamery, the distillery, a fantastic skate park and access to miles and miles of Rail Trail to explore the beautiful countryside. So, if you get the chance, go see the Timboon effect for yourself. I think you’ll notice the people care. Not just for the town and each other, but they care about their environment, the visitors and the world in general. It’s a small town, with a very big heart.
What we can learn from the Timboon effect
- Friendly people make a town welcoming and create a sense of belonging
- Community needs a reason to come together to create a positive vibe
- The heart of any town is its people and the way they demonstrate care for each other