In the tiny township of Mingoola, on the border of New South Wales and Queensland, local woman Julia Harpham was grappling with a common problem in rural communities.The population was in decline, enrolments at the local primary school were down and farmers could not find labourers to help with manual work.
Her town was dying before her eyes.”Many of us have children who work in the city and aren’t going to come back to the farm because things have been so tough on the land,” Ms Harpham said.
“You don’t like to see a community die. And there’s not much joy in a place with no children.”
Three years ago the local progress association decided to take a leaf from the region’s migrant past and looked for refugees willing to move to the area.