It’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it!
The town of Gulargambone in central west New South Wales proves it’s not size that counts.
With a population of less than 500 people, this small town has demonstrated how one great idea and a generous portion of community spirit can create big outcomes.
Gulargambone’s big outcome is two eight two eight. Named after the town’s postcode, Two Eight Two Eight is a cafe. It is a cinema. It is a library. It is also an art gallery, a gift shop for local crafts and produce, a function centre, a catering service and a second hand bookshop. All this sprouted from the seed of an idea their local committee had in 2002 to create a tourist information centre.
There were a number of influencing factors behind the conception of the original idea.
Firstly, there was a need to diversify their economy. Gulargambone was a low-socioeconomic town with a high unemployment rate. Primarily an agriculture area, it had been a thriving community until the banks vacated and commodity prices dropped. This resulted in the closure of many local businesses and a decline in services.
The second influencing factor was the town’s proximity to the Castlereagh Highway. The locals had noticed an increase in caravans passing their town to travel interstate or visit nearby attractions; including the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, and the opal fields at Lightning Ridge.
Establishing a tourist information centre would hopefully encourage tourists to call in to Gulargambone, as well as create a new stream of income for the town.
With the assistance of local fundraising efforts and their council, the committee were able to purchase the unused and dilapidated town hall in their main street. It took a lot of time and effort to fix the building, involving more than 200 locals from the town and nearby areas and numerous working bees.
The effort the community has put into the space throughout the years has allowed it to grow and expand into what it is today.
Coordinator Colleen Ower says, “Small grants help us to keep running. Although the monetary gains aren’t high, two eight two eight benefits the town in a lot of different ways. It provides employment, it allows hospitality and tourism training for students at the high school, it benefits the other businesses in town through the tourists it attracts to the region, which in turn entices more businesses to the local area.”
To top it off the town has won a number of community and tourism awards for their hard work.
Gulargambone was able to inject new life into their small town through a Lightbulb Moment. Now we want to hear yours! Click here to submit your idea or find out more about the campaign.
Read the inspiring full story of two eight two eight at www.2828nsw.com/2828-blog/our-story