Abstract: This study seeks to highlight the response made by the people of Tumby Bay to the extremely negative publicity the town received in an article in The Advertiser, South Australia's only daily newspaper, in 1991. The township, whilst believing that this publicity was inaccurate, was concerned about the social impact of the rural recession upon its community. Families were leaving the district. Stress levels amongst families that chose to stay were high, with the associated consequence of marital breakdown. There was an increase in psychological and medical complaints - depression and anxiety, and rumours of an increase in the rate of suicide. Local businesses were feeling the pinch of a depressed economy and, in general, community morale was low. There was a growing awareness that something had to be done, and that the community could no longer depend on government assistance, or a sudden turnaround in the economy to change their situation. Thus, in retrospect, the negative publicity acted as a catalyst in mobilising the community into action. The findings of the study identify the need to address financial debt reduction proposals with banking and State authorities, as well as promoting the assets of these towns. Educational facilities enabling local community involvement coupled with an increased commitment of local government to social concerns are seen as the means of enhancing community development.