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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Mullum gears up for Big Picture

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Mandy Nolan

How does a community provide a cohesive narrative which weaves history, helping us to understand our ever changing tribalism, our unique opportunities and challenges?

According to Malcolm Price, president of Creative Mullumbimby, this is the vision for The Mullumbimby Big Picture Show: a half-day forum that aims to create a unified community voice.

For Price, it’s about creating a community action plan that can become a blueprint for future projects.

‘Unless you have a master plan, which is voted on by council,’ says Price, ‘ideas can’t be actioned.’

Master plan

Creative Mullumbimby grew out of the Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce, and has been an incorporated organisation for the last six months.

Office bearers are sculptor Suvira McDonald (treasurer), David Peisse as secretary and artist Steven Hall is the pubic officer.

The committee has asked not-for-profit community groups to participate in the Big Picture Show, and have also enlisted the support of Mullumbimby High School, Byron Council, the Brunswick Valley Historical Society and the Mullum Chamber of Commerce.

‘They have all been very supportive,’ says Price, who adds that community collaboration is key.

‘We all have a story.

‘We don’t have to think about Mullumbimby in the same way – there has to be some common understanding so we understand where others are coming from.

‘It’s an accepting tolerance that creates the story of community.’

Even before the hippies came in the 1970s, Mullumbimby has always had its own unique tribalism. Sometimes those differences can stand in the way of creating a cohesive narrative of place, but Price believes that this is one of the town’s key strengths.

‘The thing that is really obvious, whether you look at old or new community, is that everyone here loves the place.

No carpetbaggers

‘There is no sense of carpetbaggers where people are here to rip something off.

‘The cohesiveness is in all wanting the town to be a better place.

‘There is a weird mix of cultures and it constantly has you exasperated. It’s the sense of the creative tension between all the groups: the old rural community, the hippies and the yuppie group which has emerged in the last ten years. There has always been an interesting crossover.’

Looking back to history is also key in creating a story of Mullumbimby’s identity says Price. ‘Mullumbimby Shire broke away from Byron three times, and the then-council in 1924 created a hydro-electric scheme that operated until fairly recent history.’

Mullum’s hydro-electric scheme

It was proof that from very early on Mullumbimby had a vision of self-sustainability and its own very separate identity.

‘The whole point of doing the Big Picture Show is to create a melting point of ideas,’ says Price. ‘It’s about putting energy into achievable projects, and engaging a professional process. Its about being opportunist and having clever ideas that we can do in the right way.

‘We are looking for those bright-spark ideas!’

The Mullumbimby Big Picture Show will include a half day of workshops, soapboxes and presentations and great food on Saturday May 31 from 9am to 2pm at the Civic Centre.

For more information email [email protected]


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