The Mail-Times continues a series profiling the Wimmera's smaller towns after a new statistical definition downgraded the 'town' status of communities with fewer than 200 people. Journalist CAROLINE TANG interviews residents of Lubeck...
LUBECK people believe their community is great for families and will continue well into the future.
The 2006 Census showed Lubeck had a population of 141 people.
Lubeck is now a 'gazetted locality' in the 2011 Census, falling within the 'state suburb' of Murtoa.
No specific Census data is available for Lubeck.
The definition change does not worry life-long Lubeck resident Phyll Loeliger.
Mrs Loeliger farms at Lubeck with husband Les Loeliger.
She is a fourth generation Lubeck resident of the Gellatly family.
Mrs Loeliger has belonged to the Lubeck community for 64 years, excluding five years she spent away as a teacher.
She said the definition change was unlikely to make a difference.
"This is a strong, rural community," Mrs Loeliger said.
"It has been quite strong for a number of years since the post office and school closed; that was in 1989.
"Lubeck is a very supportive, tight-knit community.
"We support each other and work together well.
"It has been a great place for the children to grow up."
Mrs Loeliger said Lubeck had many young families.
"We can only count about six people over 60 in the district," she said.
"That is healthy for a community like Lubeck.
"The Lubeck Christmas gathering is always a strong community gathering.
"More than 100 people went last year."
Mrs Loeliger said examples of Lubeck's strong ties included the hall committee, fire brigade, park committee and Landcare group.
Fifth generation Lubeck resident Nathan Gellatly, a farmer, has also lived in the community his entire life.
He said the change would not affect how Lubeck people functioned.
"One thing I would be concerned about is funding availability, if we were not a town any more," Mr Gellatly said.
"But other than that, we are a strong community.
"So I don't think the change will mean much.
"We will continue to do the community things we do, as we always have.
"We meet in Lubeck hall for community barbecues and that sort of thing."
Mr Gellatly said Lubeck was an ideal rural environment for bringing up his children.
"I like the country lifestyle," he said.
Lubeck farmer Sarah Maher grew up in Melbourne, while her husband Graeme Maher has lived in the Lubeck community his whole life.
Mrs Maher said 'Lubeck is Lubeck' and was not part of any other area.
"This is not Murtoa; it's Lubeck," she said.
"Lubeck is a lovely area with a lovely atmosphere.
"The town still has its identity.
"We have gatherings a few times a year; we just had the Christmas gathering at the hall.
"My children love it here and it's just so different.
"They can go fishing and ride their bikes without the worry of being in a town."
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