Sunrise at Bellingen, NSW
|Elevation:||15 m (49 ft) |
|Location:||547 km (340 mi) from Sydney|
Bellingen is a small town (pop 2,721) on Waterfall Way on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately halfway between the major Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane. It is the seat of Bellingen Shire and has a mixture of valley, plateau and coastal environments.
The township lies on the not-quite-spelled-the-same Bellinger River; this different spelling is most likely the result of a misinterpretation of some poor handwriting. The name Bellingen was first mentioned by Clement Hodgkinson as the native name for the area, and is believed to come from "Baalijin", the Gumbaynggir name for the Quoll (Native Cat). He refers to the river as the "Bellingen River" in his 1845 book, "Australia From Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay".
The Bellinger Valley including Bellingen was first settled by Kooris - the Gumbaynggir People - long before European settlement. Bellingen was originally known as Boat Harbour, changing its name to Bellingen in 1870. In the 1830s, Bellingen was literally a backwater where red cedar was shipped to the mouth of the Bellinger River. From the 1840s onward red cedar attracted more and more settlers. In the 1890s, Bellingen was selected as the government centre of the valley, due to its location at the tidal limit of the Bellinger River and the availability of fresh water. A period of rapid growth ensued.
By the early 1900s, red cedar supplies were virtually depleted, except for those that survived in the inaccessible upper reaches of the Bellinger Valley. The indigenous population had been decimated by disease and inability to move across the land to locate traditional food supplies, and many were killed in their bid to drive away the cedar getters and new settlers from traditional Gumbaynggir land. 'Black Jimmy' is reported to be the last full-blood member of the Bellinger Gumbaynggir People. Black Jimmy died in 1922 and is buried in Bellingen Cemetery. The Gumbaynggir People still live in the area of Bellingen. Most of the old customs have long since disappeared only few remain today.
The dairy industry crashed in the 1960s with the rise of the European Common Market, when export prices fell (with Britain no longer relying on Australian dairy products) and the margarine industry finally overcame laws restricting its production levels. Dairy farming still continues to a lesser extent.
Rainforest logging ceased altogether in 1975. Sclerophyll forest logging is still carried out, but to a much lesser extent than in the past.
In 1950, Bellingen came to national fame with the birth of the Sara Quads (Sara family quadruplets). From the 1970s until the present, alternative life-stylers purchased land in the area and built owner-built homes. Numerous intentional communities were established, such as Shamballa Co-operative Limited, Shamballa (still extant) in 1973. The rural lifestyle of Bellingen and surrounds has consequently diverged and is now a mix of traditional and non-traditional farming. Many of today's residents, such as artists, craftspeople, writers, musicians and horticulturalists, have established home-based activities.
Owing to high rainfall and its proximity to the valleys of the Bellinger and Kalang rivers, Bellingen is known for its frequent flooding. Tallowood Point near Bellingen often has the State's highest annual rainfall.
Bellingen was one of the filming locations for the 2003 comedy film Danny Deckchair, written and directed by Jeff Balsmeyer. Bellingen was also the notional setting of the book Oscar and Lucinda written by Booker Prize winning author Peter Carey. The film version of the novel Eucalyptus was set to be filmed in Bellingen as well before it fell through.
Bellingen has a strong affinity with the arts and is home to numerous festivals: the popular Global Carnival (often known simply as " The Global"), the Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival, Camp Creative, the Bellingen Music Festival (classical music) and the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, held for the first time in 2011. The first and original festival, an annual event, was the Azalea Festival, which included a procession of floats, the local brass band and pipeband, and various community organisations marching down Hyde Street to the cheers and applause of the spectators.
Tourism has been encouraged in recent years by the cafe, market, festival and motorcycling culture. More recently, there has been an annual meet for Harley Davidson enthusiasts riding from Queensland and regional NSW. This annual meet has been organised by a local motorcycling enthusiast which sees many riders converging at the Diggers Tavern for accommodation and then riding the many scenic roads in the region. 2012 sees riders from three states meet for the first time with accommodation needs overflowing to the Federal Hotel.
- Adam Gilchrist - past Australian test cricket wicketkeeper/batsman
- Ben Cropp - Ocean adventurer, shipwreck hound, marine conservationist, and filmmaker
- David Helfgott - Multi award-winning Australian Concert Pianist,
- George Negus - Australian author, journalist, and television presenter, Currently hosting Dateline
- Keith Froome - Australian national Rugby League Test captain
- Mike Cockerill - Australian Football journalist writing and presenting for Fairfax Newspapers and Fox Sports respectively.
- Matthew Locke - Sergeant of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment, and Medal for Gallantry recipient. He was slain while serving his country.
- ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Bellingen (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2001 Census QuickStats. http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ABSNavigation/prenav/LocationSearch?collection=Census&period=2001&areacode=UCL106800&producttype=QuickStats&breadcrumb=PL&action=401. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- ^ Commonwealth of Australia (16 January 2004). "Place Names Search: BELLINGEN". Australian Government - Geosciences Australia. http://www.ga.gov.au/bin/gazd01?rec=35675. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- ^ "Bellingen Post Office". Climate Averages for Australian Sites. Bureau of Meteorology. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_059001.shtml. Retrieved 2006-11-24.
- ^ "Bellingen Shire Council - Management Plan 2005 - 08". Bellingen Shire Council. 2005. http://www.bellingen.nsw.gov.au/files/1440/File/2005-2008_ManPlan.pdf. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- ^ "Bellingen hit by floods yet again". ABC News - Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 October 2009. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/27/2725046.htm. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
|This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Bellingen, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.|