Monday, 11 June 2007

Tweed Valley - Murwillumbah

Before European settlement, the whole area from the mountains to the coast was the home to the Bundjalung Aboriginal people. Timber getters moved into the region in the 1840s , followed by sugar cane growers in the late 1860s, dairy farmers in the early 1900s, and more recently banana growers in the 1960s. Most of the dairy farms have now gone, but sugar cane and bananas are still important.

Today Murwillumbah has a population of over 10,000 people, and is now the main town on the Tweed River. The town is thriving despite it's bypassing by the new Pacific highway and the withdrawl of train services.

It's also a busy place of artist and creative endeavour, with the local Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra, a philharmonic choir, jazz club, folk, world and alternative music, as well as home to writers and an eclectic visual arts community. In the picture above is the town's concrete levee bank decorated by local artists.

This gorgeous building on the Tweed, constructed in 1923, was home to the art gallery till it outgrew the location. A new purpose-built Tweed River Art Gallery was opened in 2004 on a hill over-looking the Tweed River and with panoramic views to Mt Warning and the semi-circle of World-Heritage National Parks that form the caldera of a huge and ancient shield volcano. In the photo below, 'borrowed' from the gallery's website, you get the picture from the gallery's cafe balcony.

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