Abstract: Rural Australia is under increasing social, economic and environmental pressure—and there is a perception of rural Australia struggling to adjust. Nowhere is this more evident than in some of Australia's rural towns. In the midst of the dark clouds of rural decline, some communities seem to defy these trends. Positive energy, optimism for the future, alternative income sources and growing businesses are the norm. Yet not far away there are other towns, faced with very similar economic and geographic circumstances, which are doing it tough. For them, apathy, loss of energy, declining populations and empty shops are the norm. Why is it that some towns demonstrate resilience, optimism and growth, whilst not far away there are other towns in decline? This was the question that led to the following research the subject of this document. Eight small Queensland towns participated in the research and provided both quantitative and qualitative information through interviews, surveys and census data. The resulting findings are summarised below, and explained in greater detail within the body of the report.