A day out immersed in the art and craft of Bellingen

40 kilometres along the Waterfall Way is the delightful small town of Bellingen. Surrounded by mountains and nestled on the banks of the Bellingen River it has the romance of a place loved by artists of all kinds. What attracts artistic people to a certain place? Is it the beauty and peaceful atmosphere? Is it a few artists settle here and suddenly a commune of artists develops? Whatever the reason in the 1970’s Bellingen became one of those places.

From the 1970s until the present, alternative life-stylers purchased land in the area and built owner-built homes. Numerous intentional communities were established, many of which are still in existence. 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.” (information from Wikipedia)

The old Bellingen Butter Factory is now a collection of art and craft shops, paintings, glass work, leather work, wood gallery, fashion emporium, antiques of all kinds. We spent a pleasant hour pottering around through all the outlets.

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This old corrugated iron shed had been transformed into a fashion boutique but with a difference.

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Can you see it? The trunk of the tree has been allowed to stay and the shed has been formed around it.

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The shops were all clustered around a landscaped court-yard.

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Huge, spacious area packed with fascinating stuff.

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Just look at that beautiful window in the leather shop. Dawn runs a “lingering look at windows” each week and invites us to share windows we see, so here is a gallery of windows I captured around this interesting place.

Of course there is a restaurant/café and a jazz band was entertaining the diners with very good Dixie land jazz. So time out for a coffee and light lunch and sit soaking up the atmosphere.

Before going back to the car we walked down to the river.

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Another 2 kilometres along the road and we stopped in the main street of Bellingen.

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I think this may be one of the alternative type locals. What do you think?

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 A group of locals are having a liquid lunch while the dog waits patiently for it’s master.

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Next to the pub is this old style “Emporium” going inside is like entering a time capsule and going back almost 100 years.

The shop assistants were giving us side ways looks as we oh’d and ah’d our way around taking photos.

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Next door this grocery shop had a definite old-time feel about it too.

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The bank is a splendid example of Art Deco. But then most old towns have very impressive bank buildings, I guess they had the money to make a statement in style.

Just look at the size of these trees.

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Floating down the street came the happy, chirpy sound of an Irish jig and we stood a while tapping our feet to the rhythm. 2 dogs wait for their owners here.

Just to finish our wander around this charming old town I couldn’t resist another gallery of windows.


Categories: Australia, Bellingen, Lingering look at windows, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “A day out immersed in the art and craft of Bellingen

  1. I enjoyed about Your high quality photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pomme – this post gave me one word…. details – and oh I love them all. This was one of those tasty posts that you give us where we cannot find in a travel brochure. all the little shots of the people (love the dreads) or the tree trunk int he boutique (how much was that brown dress) but lights, shelves and just the misc. that give us a detailed feel – enjoyed it much ❤ ❤


  3. I love artist communes. In my fantasies I live in one.


  4. Just the more welcoming, peaceful feeling!


  5. Great to hear from you…I was wondering how you were going yesterday! Yep love Bellingen. My Grandparents had a dairy farm on the river. One of my possibles to live and, given my dreads, I’ll fit right in. We are cloudy up here in Hervey Bay today but still hoping for an afternoon walk. Take care.


    • Lovely area, great vibes but I would look twice at that road in and out before living there…
      How long is your house sit? How is the bus coming along?


      • House sit is ’til next Monday! Have an older staffy to mind. We walk every day mostly along the esplanade. Unfortunately I have discovered this place is dreadful for allergies and both dogs and myself now are feeling the affects. I am looking forward to home again. I have rented home out for the next 6 months so I am truly out and about. Just have to get contents into that container which I can leave on the property. I have also met a lovely, lovely man who doesn’t mind the hippy in me, so I will be spending some time getting to know him. He lives in Northern Rivers. I won’t be far from you! Love your journey….every day is a happy one. Marilyn xo


  6. There it is! It really is a special place tucked up away from the super busy coast. I had a great few days while I was there and your photos and words do it justice.
    A crazy thing happened to me though after I checked into the YHA. I had this sudden urge to do the rounds of the real estate agents (x4!) and collect their house listings. I’m not sure if it was the energy of the river and the trees, or the drums and interpretive dance that was taking place in the park outside the council, but I knew right away that it’s somewhere I could live! 🙂


    • I think the community spirit of the place would be very welcoming to new comers. It is one of those “hidden gems” that you stumble across when travelling and have time to really look. It did have a great energy. We just missed the jazz festival I would’ve liked that and the community markets fell the week after we left… But always lots happening. Are you working your way around the world?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just a some places I wanted to visit for a long time. Coming home in about ten days for a road trip from Melbourne to Darwin! Then back to work in the tropics! Have you made it to Darwin during your time in Oz?


        • Yes we have been to Darwin a couple of times and it is a fascinating place. Especially loved Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks. That is a great road trip to go on.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Another lovely day out with you two – I have to ask, do you ever just stay at home and relax? Australia seems to have a few of these ‘alternative’ towns, I went to one close to Byron Bay possibly Nimbin? That had a distinct hippie feel.


  8. So much going on here, Pauline. I would love to sit outside that cafe, and just people-watch for an hour or two. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lyn

    Absolutely beautiful. Love the whole vibe and atmosphere. What a magical place.


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