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 Dooen residents . . .
DOOEN resident and retiree Kola Kennedy, 72, slaughtered a goat before posing for her photograph.
She said she cleaned herself up, put her ears on straight and emerged a 'new woman' for the camera.
Mrs Kennedy has lived at Dooen for 35 years.
"I had to earn my stripes; it only took me 32 years," she said.
"My former husband Darrell, who is now deceased, became a plumbing instructor through the Education Department and was posted to Horsham.
"So we lived in Pearl Street I think for about 22 months or something, then we looked around and found this little place at Dooen.
"It suited our bank account and was pretty run down, but we had the exuberance of youth."
Mrs Kennedy became a goat breeder by accident before moving to Dooen.
"There was a knock on our door in Pearl Street and this chap said, 'I believe you have a bit of land'," she said.
"We said 'yes' and he said, 'do you think you would be able to look after this?'
"On the end of a piece of string was a goat.
"So we bred up to angora goats, purebreds.
"We had the wonderful experience of breeding a champion buck in the 1980s."
Mrs Kennedy divorced her husband in the 1980s.
"Darrell moved to Horsham; he went to different pastures," she said.
"He jumped the fence.
"I stayed and put our two sons through university.
"This is my family home."
Mrs Kennedy said the 10-year Wimmera drought affected Dooen.
"We were all just about ready to take a pill," she said.
"But Dooen is still a good area to live in."
Dooen Hotel owners and husband and wife Mick and Helen Harris have lived at Dooen and run the hotel for nine years.
Mr Harris's sister Sally Bolwell also lives at Dooen and cooks for the hotel.
He was born in Horsham, while his wife is from country South Australia.
Mr Harris travelled the world with the Royal Australian Navy for about 20 years before returning to the Wimmera.
"We decided that Dooen would be a fantastic place to live," he said.
"The pub was a wonderful attraction.
"We were attracted to the characters and people who were here.
"It was a great career change."
Mr Harris said being self-employed was challenging, but he liked the flexibility.
"When they say the world is your oyster, it's definitely about how much you put into it, being what you get out of it," he said.
"It's very relaxed here at Dooen.
"Contrary to what the reclassification says about small towns, I say we have been upgraded to a thriving metropolis.
"Dooen sure does have a community atmosphere.
"There is a wonderful camaraderie among people here.
"The pub is the heart of the town."