Chelle and the Fig

Photographic Art


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My Mountain Home and The Places You’ll Go Post Card Series

It’s taken a while but I think I’ve finally completed my Murwillumbah Post Card Series (which you can find in our local Bowerbird gift shop and the Tweed Regional Art Gallery). I have made a few changes since the first instalment on wood, and I have added another mountain image which is the one you can see here. I have loved creating this Murwillumbah series and thought I would share a bit about what this town means to me. I left my home town Geelong when I was 21 to study in Rural Victoria and then Melbourne. Once I left Geelong nothing felt like home to me for a long time, not even when I went back to Geelong…probably because all my family had left. I felt untethered and often lonely. 

I moved to Brisbane and immediately felt a connection with the old Queenslanders and the lush tropical earth and then I met my main man David, who grew up here in Murwillumbah and my sense of home stretched across the border to this beautiful Caldera Valley. I commuted to Uki, where he lived, every second weekend for 6 months before we shacked up in Brisbane. Eventually we both started longing more for nature and by the time I was pregnant with our second baby we made our home here. 

Murwillumbah is one of those towns that enlivens my imagination and where I am never short of creative inspiration. I love the sense of two worlds colliding. The old world with strong threads to a timeless past…the Sugar Mill, art deco shop fronts, the Austral, the Regent, the Bundgalung Nation and it’s mountain, and those locals who have seen a generation of changes. And then there is the new wave of families looking for affordability and character in a town…who value the humble beauty of Murwillumbah, it’s trees and mountains, it’s good food and coffee and it’s proximity to all the culture anyone could ever need. I feel almost a perfect symmetry of the old and the new and that holds something lovely and steady which is hard to describe, but which I feel grateful to be a part of.

I hope my children will have a deep connection to this land and the three generations that came before them, their dad, their grandparents and great grand parents who first settled in Brays Creek in the mid 1930’s. My own family were so scattered and disconnected, I always longed for deeper roots. My mother-in-law Jan and father-in-law Gordon told stories about when they were kids and it took a whole day to get from Tyalgum to Murwillumbah and back again by horse and cart. They are deeply good people as is their son (my partner)…and maybe I’m being overly romantic, but I feel that’s got something to do with this place, some old fashioned values and the beauty of this land seeping into their soul.