Urban dynamics of Bangalow (NSW)
History of Bangalow:
Prior to settlement in the mid-nineteenth century, Bangalow (village located 778km north of Sydney, 168km south of Brisbane and 12km west of Byron Bay) was inhabited by the indigenous Bundjalung people and was covered by the dense sub-tropical rainforest referred to as the ‘Big Scrub’. During the 1800’s the Bangalow area was exploited by cedar getters and foresters for its reserves of red cedar located in the Big Scrub rainforest, for both residential and commercial purposes. Little development took place during this time until 1881 when the town was first settled by Thomas Robinson. The development of Bangalow is inextricably linked to the construction of the Lismore to the Tweed Railway, in 1892 a station was built in Bangalow and many houses were constructed within close proximity. The establishment of the train station opened the platform for the construction of a small town with facilities such as two hotels, five churches, blacksmiths, tailors, motor garages, carriage builders, a local newspaper, two primary schools etc. By 1900 99% of the rainforest had been cleared and the new land attracted the dairy industry. This transformed Bangalow from a town full of loggers- to the centre of the country’s richest dairying areas. Bangalow was full of low socioeconomic families of working class and the number increased when Byron Bay was chosen in 1912 as the site of a major new industry, a meatworks, many residents of Bangalow were workers here. By August 1983, however, they were closed, resulting in the loss of almost 400 employees. By the 1890s dairying had become a very insignificant economic activity in Bangalow. With the downfall of these two industries, there was concern that bangalow would be a ghost town; the main street of Bangalow also became part of the pacific highway making the main street almost inhabitable and not an appealing place to stop. The town was experiencing urban decline (the decline of a city or township into disrepair. Characterised by; unemployment, depopulation, deindustrialisation and increased crime). The 1994 bypass was introduced and had residents fearing even more for the future of Bangalow as there would be even less business than that generated by the highway- but as Brian Grant, (a prominent real-estate agent and long-time resident) stated, after the completion of the bypass, from 1996 Bangalow experienced complete urban renewal (redevelopment of run down areas). Bangalow was now appealing as a hidden village, this is proven by the huge influx of Sydney and Melbourne residents around 1996 all in seek of exurbanisation (allows the resident to maintain a semi-rural lifestyle. Residents are often fairly affluent, and are able to maintain professional networks within the nearby larger city. They may travel to the city each day, or only a couple of times a week). Bangalow shifted from a town of low affluence to high affluence with an increasing population of retirees and professionals.
Culture of Bangalow:
In the last 18 years the culture of Bangalow has been subject to significant change. As it has transformed from a low socio economic village to that of high affluence, the lifestyle for residents of the town has changed. The only aspect of Bangalow that has remained unchanged and specifically so, is the architecture, the council has gone to lengths to ensure the architectural heritage of Bangalow is maintained through gentrification (a form of urban renewal. It usually involves renovation of heritage buildings). Brian Grant stated that the council has rules in place that require new buildings to maintain a similar façade to those of the 1900s for example the federation style veranda displayed in figure 1.1. The importance of this heritage architecture is also displayed in Figure 2, displaying data acquired from a survey in bangalow conducted on Monday the 3rd of March 2014-with 13% of people surveyed