They were carved into existence 30 years ago on the river back in Mullumbimby and placed at the gateway to the town. The creation of the totem poles and rotunda as a dramatic new entrance to Mullumbimby represented the spirit of the growing and changing town and showcased the regions artistic skills, environmental awareness and cultural heritage.
But time has taken its toll with a number of the totem poles being removed due to their deteriorating condition.
‘Richard and I got worried that they were all gradually going to disappear,’ said Bob Grey one of the original artists who carved the poles.
Richard Mordaunt and Bob Grey were the original drivers behind the creation of the Mullumbimby Gateway and they have now got the revitalisation project going with a grant of $85,425 NSW community government grant and funding from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation.
‘If we don’t look after this it will be gone,’ said Richard.
‘Andy Erskine, from Byron Council, looks after the site and he was the one who rescued the pelican replacing the wings and repainting it – that was the beginning of the drive to do this.’
Symbol of Mullumbimby
The site will have the remaining totems repaired and repainted while the rotunda, originally designed by local architect Christine Vadasz, will have Arakwal artists decorating it led by local Arakwal person Delta Kay.
‘The rotunda is exactly the same shape as Mount Chincogan,’ said Christine.
‘I spend my life looking at Mount Chincogan from where I live so I took a photo and the rotunda is a replica of the shape of Chincogan. Everyone did it for love.’
A new addition to the site will be the 15m Uplift totem that has been donated by the Uplift Festival.
‘It encapsulates the prayers and aspirations of this ever-growing global community, which is now co-creating a global nation of love and happiness,’ said Briji from Uplift.
‘It features the lovingly carved handprints of local and global renowned visionaries, indigenous elders, global youth leaders, evolutionary musicians and poets, doctors, scientists, farmers and teachers who all come together to dedicate their collective wisdom to conscious evolution for people and the planet.’
Ben Franklin the National Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW was on site to announce the funding and expressed how ‘incredibly exciting’ he felt the project was for Mullumbimby.
‘The upgrades will include restoration works at the site, construction of a new pathway to the gazebo, the installation of new gardens and signage as well as the commissioning of a new sculpture.’