Who remembers the TV series “A Town Like Alice ” or the movie or the book? I loved all author Neville Shute’s work as a teen and still do. At that age, I was pulled in by the skillful writing, gentle romance and thrilling survival story. I still appreciate these things but as an adult and a small business person, I can now fully appreciate the community building aspects of the story. You see, rather than complain about her new husband’s primative town, the female lead Jean set about improving it. One of the main tools she used was establishing sustainable businesses to employ locals and provide for their unmet needs.

Interestingly, it’s a theme Neville Shute comes back to in another novel “Ruined City”. This time the main character uses his skills as a financier and some rather risky means to reopen a shipyard closed during the Great Depression in the UK. There is a strong theme of how job creation reanimated a dying town.

Without resorting to questionable dealings, I am certain there are now things I can do to support and develop local business. I plan to start on the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane but hope that what I learn and develop can be applied in truely remote and regional areas.

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