After nearly 18 months in development and construction the new gateway to Mullumbimby is officially open and locals and visitors are invited to stop and have a closer look at the new totem pole and refurbished rotunda.
The project was proudly funded by the NSW Government with a $91,962 grant from the Stronger Country Communities program.
Richard Mordaunt from the Mullumbimby Gateway Association, along with the project management team of Richard Hughes, Sunita Bailey, Greg Aitken and Maggie Brown, worked with well-known indigenous artists, Richard Clarke and the late Digby Moran, on the new 15m Uplift totem pole.
The totem originally carved by Tonu Shane has been donated to the Gateway by the founders of Uplift and incorporates the goanna, whale, dolphin and carpet snake – important symbols to the Bundjalung of Byron Bay – Arakwal Bumberlin people.
The Hon. Ben Franklin, Nationals MLC and Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Arts, said he was thrilled the Gateway is now officially open.
“I’m delighted the Gateway once again shows the artistic skills, environmental awareness and cultural heritage of the area, and I hope everyone stops in to enjoy the refurbished space,” Mr Franklin said.
“The new totem pole is an incredibly important feature to represent the indigenous heritage of the Arakwal people and share the cultural history of Mullumbimby
“I thank everyone who has worked together to make this project happen and I’m so pleased the NSW Government was able to be a part of this important project,” he said.
Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the Mullumbimby Gateway Association’s gift to the community is not only an eye-catching sculpture but also a magnificent representation of indigenous cultural heritage.
“The more you look at the totem pole the more you see; the detail is remarkable and Richard and everyone involved in this project should be extremely proud of this sculpture,” Mayor Richardson said.
“This is a project made by many, skilled engineers, artists and volunteers,” Richard Mordaunt from the Gateway Association said.
“We set out to refurbish the whole site and create a new cultural space which would celebrate the culture of our First People.
“The totem has been restored and refined by our local sculptors Greg Bowering, Paul Hinchey and Jason Morning,” he said.
Complementing the totem is a new-look rotunda which includes an eight-metre panorama of this region painted by Daniel Hend, with work by local Arakwal artists, Delta Kay, Nickolla Clark and Belle Arnold.
The project has been sponsored by the Northern Rivers Community Foundation. The Rotunda also includes an early history of Mullumbimby sponsored by the Brunswick Valley Historical Society.
“On behalf of Byron Shire Council and our community I thank the Mullumbimby Gateway Association, Richard Mordaunt in particular, for the work, time and effort they have put into this project,” Mayor Richardson said.