AIM: To explore and compare older people's contributions to social capital in a large rural community. METHODS: Data were collected from a large representative sample (n= 1431), through a social capital questionnaire. The survey was cross-sectional and measured frequency of participation across different age cohorts in informal social activities, group activities and community and civic activities. RESULTS: Age and life stage pattern proved to be a factor in determining the types of activities people were involved in. While younger people were more involved in social participation that involved public places or group and sporting events, older people, particularly those in the retirement age group of 60-69 were more involved in community and civic activities. CONCLUSION: Older people living in non-metropolitan areas are not only recipients of social capital. Their considerable involvement in volunteer groups, service clubs, church groups and local government demonstrates significant involvement in civic and community life.