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Bangalow's change caught on camera

IN FOCUS: Documentary filmmaker Terry Bleakley with former Bangalow Chamber of Commerce president Tony Jones.
IN FOCUS: Documentary filmmaker Terry Bleakley with former Bangalow Chamber of Commerce president Tony Jones. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

AN historical short film will examine how Bangalow was transformed from a struggling truck-stop town on the state highway to an up-market boutique tourist destination.

The documentary is being compiled by Bangalow filmmaker Terry Bleakley for the Back to Bangalow event which will celebrate the village's major historical milestones.

Most notably, the opening of the Bangalow bypass in 1994.

The documentary will combine archival material, such as old photographs and film, with supporting interviews from people who were in the area when the bypass was opened.

Mr Bleakley said the documentary was a celebration of 20 years since the bypass came in and examined how it had changed the fortunes of the townsfolk.

"Historically, Bangalow was a really large and prosperous rural town with dairying and other activities," he said.

"But it went through those periods after the 50s, 60s and 70s when it died and there were a lot of empty shops in the main street.

"One of the benefits of that was that it wasn't valuable real estate so that people didn't come in and pull down buildings and renovate them and things like that, so much of the heritage of the main street was preserved.

"But it was a really sad old place just servicing a mostly rural population."

The highway became busier and the town was slowly transformed into a pit stop for truck drivers and tourists.

Former Bangalow Chamber of Commerce president Tony Jones owned a Japanese antiques store when the bypass was built.

"You would get semi-trailers going up and down the street all day and all night," he said. "Buildings used to tremble and shake ... it was a nightmare."

Mr Jones said the town's Progress Association had worked hard to maintain the town's heritage.

"As a team, as business owners, we really got the village starting to move and there was always the dream that we would maintain it as a federation village," he said.

Topics:  bangalow



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