A Short History
THE MULLUMBIMBY GATEWAY was constructed in 1988 with the aim of creating a dramatic visual new entrance to the town of Mullumbimby
Mullumbimby is the home of Byron Shire Council and the Gateway is used as a major drop off and rest stop everyday, for busloads of school aged children, visitors and local residents.
This is a landmark site and over the last 30 years the Gateway has become a significant Byron Shire icon. At the centre of the Gateway is the site specific, sculptural installation which was designed as a Bicentennial Project funded by the NSW Government, the Byron Shire Council and the Mullumbimby Community.
The main concept and impetus behind the project was to showcase our region’s renowned artistic skills, environmental awareness and cultural heritage.
Due to the ravages of time in a moist tropical environment, the totem sculptures have deteriorated and are now in urgent need of repair.
Mullumbimby Gateway Moving Forward
Exciting progress is underway as the Mullumbimby Gateway team bring all the new elements of the project together, to complete the restoration and refurbishment of the Gateway at the crossroads entrance to Mullumbimby.
Unlike many public art projects, the Gateway has been a significant part of the fabric of the Mullumbimby and Byron Shire communities. The hand-carved Nature and Peace poles were erected on the site in 1988 as a bicentennial project with the collaboration and support of Byron Shire Council, local artists and woodcarvers. For 31 years the site has acted as a landmark for locals and visitors, in addition to showcasing the region’s artistic skills, environmental awareness, and cultural heritage.
Sadly the old totem sculptures were unable to be restored having succumbed to the ravages of weather and time. However, the highlight of the renewed 2019 Gateway Project will be the installation of the 15 metre high Uplift Totem. One of the tallest carvings in Australia, it will now become the central focus of the Gateway.
The totem was carved for the Uplift Festival by Tonu Shane from a local Mt Jerusalem Tallowwood tree donated by the Hughes family of Upper Main Arm. The totem incorporates symbols sacred to the local Arakwal and Bundjalung people, the goanna, the whale, the dolphin, the turtle and Kabul the carpet snake, representing the community coming together. During the 2013 Uplift festival, the handprints of hundreds of participants were carved onto the totem, honouring our fundamental unity with each other and all of life. The Time Capsule at the base of the totem also contains messages for the diversity of our community and aspirations for a positive future for our Shire and the world.
This impressive sculpture donated to the Mullumbimby Gateway by the founders of Uplift, has been cleaned and refined by local sculptors Greg Bowering, Paul Hinchey and Jason Morning and painted by well - known indigenous artists Digby Moran and Richard Clarke.
The Gateway Rotunda will become a celebration of this regions first Peoples Culture. Led by Delta Kay, artists Daniel Hend, Nicolla Clarke and Belle Arnold, are creating a landscape panorama showing the ancient pathways used by Bundjalung people for thousands of years.
The Rotunda will include a visual history of early Mullumbimby.
Two years in the making; the refurbishment of the Mullumbimby Gateway has been created and designed entirely by local artists who celebrate our local history and our indigenous heritage. The site will be solar lit at night and become an even more impressive landmark for the whole community to enjoy, welcoming people to Mullumbimby.
The project is proudly funded by the NSW Government.
Support and funding has also been received from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF), NSW Community Building Partnerships, the Brunswick Valley Historical Society. The Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce and many Mullumbimby and Byron Bay businesses who have become sponsors of the Gateway in a range of ways.
Many thanks go to Essential Energy and Bashforths for their assistance and support.
Mullumbimby Gateway Inc,
Project Director – Richard Mordaunt
Project Management team – Richard Mordaunt, Richard Hughes, Sunita Balley, Greg Aitken assisted by Maggie Brown.