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Mullumbimby demo and Funeral for woolworths Big box

Mullumbimby demo and Funeral for woolworths Big box

On the 12th of July 2008 more than 500 residents of Mullumbimby turned out for a large demonstration and funeral procession for the proposed Woolworths Big Box supermarket in Station street. On a wonderful sunny winter day, the turnout exceeded the organisers expectations. Speakers included Byron Shire mayor, Jan Barham, Deborah Lilly, Mark Cochrane, and Garry Scott and more.
The speeches were followed by a march to the Woolworths site carrying a cardboard 'coffin' symbolising the Woolworths big box. The climax was the ritual burning of the 'big box' made of a large cardboard box in the centre of the proposed building.

The rally and demonstration was held at Apex Park, near the railway station. The huge crowd contributed to a most colourful event, representing a wide cross section of the community.  The rally had a community feel with artistic placards, great food stalls and that unique Mullumbimby feel. The overwhelming sentiment from the crowd and the speakers was 'No to Woolworths' and 'we have been shafted by the State government'.

mullumbimby local with dump sartor  no woolies placard Mayor Jan Barham spoke passionately about how we have been shafted by the State Government planning laws. 'The state government is not interested in sustainability.  'The State Government has overridden our community's decision that this supermarket in Station Street is totally inappropriate'.said Jan.  'These laws  have taken away our right to plan for our local community, plan for sustainable and appropriate development and lifestyle,' continued Jan.
She was heckled by Deborah Lilly ,who shouted out, 'Not Yet !!!'.

Mullumbimy food stall ladies the food faries Mark Cochrane , a local real estate agent,  quoted Cicero,  'The will of the people is the highest law.'  He said it is really worth putting in the effort to resist this development and spread the word. He went on to say that the only reason that Woolworths is coming to Mullumbimby is to make money' ,not to provide cheap or fresh food or anything else. The central business district would become derelict and the value of houses in Station Street would drop by at least 10% or more, meaning that  the idea of Woolworths being cheaper is false economy,  because more than 2 million dollars would be lost from the property market.

Garry Scott spoke about how bad this development proposal's details are. Especially the sewerage treatment system, which unworkable as proposed, and pumping it under the bitumen carpark!!.

woolworths big box in centre of ceremony circle mullumbimby After the speeches the crowd started marching along the railway line towards the proposed Woolworths site. A long colourful procession, snaking along the tracks with drums, fancy costumes and of course the cardboard 'coffin' at the front.

burning the carboard woolworths coffin in mullumbimby The coffin was placed at the centre of the proposed building which had been accurately staked out and surrounded by yellow tape. At each corner were helium balloons set to fly at the height of the building. The scale of the building became obvious and obscenely large for a residential area in a small town.

woolworths sign over the ashes in mullumbimby The people formed a large circle around the box and after  a ceremony where invocations , representing the peoples' wishes were offered, it was set ablaze. The burning box symbolized the sentiment of the people, "This supermarket  will Not be built here". Chants of 'Not to Woolies'  and 'No more Woolies'  rang out until the box was reduced to ashes.

People then returned to the park to hear further speakers and enjoy local music food and other activities.



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