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 talks to the people of Marnoo...
A BATTLING community spirit and convenient location make Marnoo the place to live and work for its residents.
Marnoo had a population of 197 people at the 2006 Census.
The 2011 Census shows the 'gazetted locality' of Marnoo falling within a wider area with a population of 333 people.
Marnoo now incorporates Laen and Rich Avon West in the north and Bolangum and Wallaloo in the south.
Griffith 'Chips' Fearon has been a Marnoo resident for 33 years and raised his family in the town.
The retired electrician and charity fundraiser said Marnoo was the 'best place ever'.
"We recycle our own waste and won a Tidy Towns award," Mr Fearon said.
"We do 60-odd tonnes of recycling a year.
"I do talks about recycling at Marnoo Primary School.
"The school should have about 15 children this year."
Marnoo includes a hotel, milkbar and general store, fitness business, engineering business, farm supplies business, piggery, fire brigade and park.
Mr Fearon said Marnoo battled to survive the 1990s 'recession we had to have' during then-Prime Minister Paul Keating's reign.
"The recession and rural downturn sort of killed this community," he said.
"That hurt farmers pretty bad and a lot of them went.
"We are trying to keep our identity."
He said Marnoo people pulled together in times of need, despite their differences.
Marnoo Milkbar and General Store co-owner Keith Brown has owned the business with wife Sandra Brown for 10 years.
They are selling the business so they can move closer to family at Callawadda.
Mr Brown said they moved to Marnoo from the Stawell area for a lifestyle change.
"It's been fine living here," he said.
"It's quiet and convenient.
"We are far enough away from everybody, but close enough if needed.
"Marnoo is a very friendly, good community and town. Everyone knows everyone and helps out."
Manna-Gum Alpaca Farm co-owner Tracy Krupa has lived and worked at Marnoo with husband Jerry Krupa for more than 12 years.
The couple moved from Kyneton to Marnoo.
Mrs Krupa said they chose Marnoo because of its ideal livestock environment.
"We started breeding alpacas more than 20 years ago," she said.
"This is definitely the best environment for alpacas.
"They tend to grow out well and produce more fleece. We have just started exporting breeding stock overseas."
Mrs Krupa said Marnoo people were helpful and the town was centrally-located near major service centres.
"It's been an interesting 12 years," she said. "We went through drought and floods.
"It's not boring here.
"This is the place for us."