BEECHWORTH is a beautiful old tourist town.
Homeware, clothes and gift shops, plus fine eateries, line its main streets, Ford and Camp.
Well-heeled tourists flock there and retired superannuants dwell in the hills, in dream homes.
Yet Beechworth, like communities everywhere, has an underbelly, a tide of drifters and disconnected souls.
Near the town's heart is a bookshop.
It's housed in the 152-year-old Wesleyan Church, resting in the generous shade of an oak tree.
It's called Quercus, latin for oak tree.
Inside, at various times, 40 volunteers beaver away, sorting, binding and cataloguing books, stacking them neatly on shelves and tending to sales.
This is a not-for-profit, community-run and managed second-hand bookshop.
Its entire collection - almost 25,000 books - has been donated, as have the shelves, the wall hangings and the decorations.
Even the colour scheme was volunteered by a local designer.
It's here that retail trainees, many of whom haven't worked at all or for long periods, learn how to retail.
They conduct sales, learn how to operate the Eftpos gadget and balance the till.
They gain experience and confidence, and, if all works to plan, they leave equipped with good references from the bookshop.
Among them are prisoners from the nearby minimum-security correctional facility, who are nearing the end of their prison terms and preparing for their return to the outside world.
As well as mowing the lawn, fixing shelves and carrying out general maintenance, some prisoners are learning to reconnect by completing the accredited retail course.
The course was the brainchild of Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre manager Judy Lazarus, a retiree who'd spent her professional life working in high-security men's prisons with prisoners and ex-prisoners and their families, until illness sent her packing from the city to Beechworth.
She sees the retail training at the bookshop as a key step towards re-integration for the prisoners.
"From my point of view it's crime prevention, by getting these guys to come and be part of the community," says Judy, a bright, garrulous woman with enthusiasm and hope.
"It's also removed a lot of fear from people who volunteer and visit here because they see they are our brothers and fathers.
"They are people who have done wrong but they have served their sentence."
I discovered, while talking to bookshop volunteers, that Judy has a transitional centre for prisoners named after her.
During her professional career, a Churchill Fellowship funded her research into programs that could offer prisoners' children different life possibilities than those they'd been exposed to via their recalcitrant fathers.
"I believed if we worked with the children then we had a hope of changing things," she told me. For a lot of the men, it was too late.
"But I watched their children go through the visit centre and I stayed around long enough to see them come into the system. Just because Dad was in prison and they came to visit him every week they thought that was okay."
She says the key to working effectively with prisoners was to concentrate on those who showed signs of wanting to change their bad ways.
That's how she maintained her optimism.
Somehow, fate drew her to a place where her skills were perfectly matched to a localised need, where the drifters and the disconnected could find connection again.
At the Neighbourhood Centre, she and others work at that, developing courses and concepts to build connections and to build Beechworth's capacity for embracing all.
"This centre is not just for middle-class people," Judy says.
"It's about inclusivity and people being able to access programs." Underbelly and all.