The Roma dump would have been considered the least interesting place in 2019, but the power of the internet has turned it into the town's biggest meme. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
The Roma dump would have been considered the least interesting place in 2019, but the power of the internet has turned it into the town's biggest meme. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

How this southwest meme helped strengthen community bonds

Every small town has its own unique quirks and community culture, but one place in Southwest Queensland has developed a collective fondness of a place that no outsider would ever imagine.

It started when members of Roma's community Facebook groups started posting asking if places like IGA, Woolworths and the local dump were open.

And as these posts kept flooding his newsfeed, local resident Campbell Crouchley found it quite ironic how many people continued to ask if places were open given that the opening hours are usually available on Google.

He was even more amused by posts about the Roma dump, which is open every single day of the year, bar two.

So Mr Crouchley went ahead and created his own Facebook group called Is the Roma dump open? on May 23, 2020.

Members started sharing their pictures about their trips to the Roma dump, handy items available for pick-up, and even plans to hold a 2020 Christmas ('Dumpmas') party.

There have even been live streamed interviews with southwest dump workers and tours of other landfills.

The popularity of the group surged as the year went on, with 625 members as of December 29, 2020.

And with the community just coming out of Queensland's COVID-19 lockdown, the group brought a bit of amusement to a community that was struggling.

Mr Crouchley said he's not only had locals join, but also people from Toowoomba, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and even one member from Bangladesh.

"It probably brought the community together a bit, we've got a pretty broad demographics of ages, sexes," he said.

And the meme has spread far and wide around town, with Roma locals having a giggle and a joking nudge when casually talking about the town's dump.

But the Facebook group is more than just a joke or a meme, with Mr Crouchley, a self-described 'environmental warrior', hoping to use it to promote eco-friendly causes.

"I'd like to see it being more easy for people to get stuff and recycle," he said.

The Roma dump allows people to pick up furniture and some electrical goods for a small fee, so that they don't end up in landfill.

And with these items being heavily promoted on the Facebook group, people have been keen to share their newfound treasures to the community.

Mr Crouchley isn't stopping there though, because he has some bold plans for the future of the Facebook group.

He's planning on running some fun competitions in the future and looking for more material to make the group more exciting.

"If we can double in size, I reckon that'll be good," Mr Crouchley said.

"Every part of it and everything's been positive."

He said the group is inclusive for everyone, and members can ask about anything, whether it be the dump, whether the supermarkets are open, or if water's flowing through Bungil Creek.

 

The Roma dump would have been considered the least interesting place in 2019, but the power of the internet has turned it into the town's biggest meme. Pic: Lachlan Berlin
The Roma dump would have been considered the least interesting place in 2019, but the power of the internet has turned it into the town's biggest meme. Pic: Lachlan Berlin

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