Community celebrates Bangalow's history

OUR TOWN: Byron St, Bangalow.
OUR TOWN: Byron St, Bangalow. The Northern Star Archives

TWO decades ago a road was built, marking one of the most significant milestones in Bangalow's history.

A snip of ribbon on December 14, 1994, by Ballina MP Don Page and the long-awaited $21 million Bangalow bypass was officially opened.

It's an event the Bangalow Historical Society and Chamber of Commerce are commemorating with a Back to Bangalow celebration on Saturday July 19.

Not only will the event celebrate the opening of the bypass, but also how the town has changed over the years and the lives and legends of the founding families.

Wendy Grissell was running Bangalow's Splinters Cafe when the town was bypassed.

"The business was thriving, but it was just busy with all the big trucks and everything coming down the main street," she said.

"It was a bustley sort of town and noisy.

"Then when the bypass went through we struggled for just under 12 months."

Ms Grissell said there was a drop in morning and afternoon trade, but the locals kept them busy during lunch hour.

A beautification and restoration project by the Chamber of Commerce also went a long way to bringing business back.

"When the town got refurbished and it was street-scaped and it was all very beautiful, it was thriving," Ms Grissell said. "And it's still absolutely thriving."

"The Chamber of Commerce back then was the driving force of that.

"It's a lot more up-market than it was."

It's hard to imagine the main street with its historic front shops housing antique furniture, vintage clothes and fresh, organic food, was once rattled by a seemingly endless stream of trucks and semi-trailers.

When the bypass was opened, Byron Shire Council's deputy mayor Cr Warren Simons said it was a day Bangalow would long remember as 'the day they got their town back.'

Planning for the project first began in 1989, with on-site construction starting in July 1989.

The 3km bypass included three bridges, an additional 3km of on and off ramps and both north and south bound overtaking lanes.


Back to Bangalow

At 11am Jan Hulbert will conduct a cemetery walk bringing into focus the lives and legends of the town's founding families.

At the end of the cemetery tour, CWA will provide a light lunch for $10.

At 1.30pm Bangalow Historical society President Rita Cowled will guide a town walk that examines how the town has changed.

The town walk will end with a morning tea at the Bangalow Historical Museum for $10.

A three-course dinner will be held at the Moller Pavilion where a film depicting the history of the village will be shown. Cost is $55 a head.

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