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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Murwillumbah, New South Wales

Murwillumbah is among the top ten most desirable places to live in Australia. Close to the Queensland border it has a sub-tropical climate, rolling green hills and beautiful mountain scenery. Because it has an abundant rainfall, everything is lush and green and all the rivers run.

There are idyllic creeks and waterfalls, exotic birds and lots of wild-life. It has a populaton of about 8,000 people and the town was by-passed by a freeway in 2002 which makes it even more attractive. Nestled at the foot of magnificent Mount Warning, the town is surrounded by 5 World Heritage National Parks as well as pockets of sugar cane and banana plantations.

Murwillimbah is also the Hare Krishna capital of Australia and they offer young globe-trotters the opporunity to go WWOOFing. WWOOFing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms ) is an organization that links people with organic farms. Working in exchange for food and accommodation is the basis of WWOOFing, it means that travellers can see the country cheaply and learn about organic farming.

The farm is 10 kilometers from Murwillumbah in the foothills of Mount Warning. It's a 900 acre certified organic property with orchards, vege gardens, cows, peacocks and gently flowing streams. WWOOFers get to stay in a simple guest house room with shared bathroom facilities and are expected to work about four hours per day, five days a week.

Mount Warning

Tweed River Regional Art Gallery in Murwillumbah used to be the home of the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, Australia's richest portrait art prize, the winner receiving $150,000. To enter, both artist and subject must be Australian citizens. By comparison, the winner of our most prestigious art award, the Archibald, only receives $50,000.

Doug Moran

Doug Moran is an enigmatic character. A self-made millionaire from a working-class background, he started out with nothing and made his fortune in the nursing home industry. He and his family were thrust into the headlines when his daughter-in-law sued for damages, claiming they bullied her husband Brendan Moran and were responsible for his suicide.

The family imploded even further when Doug sacked his son Shane, former Chief Executive as well as his sister Kerry who was Chief Executive of the Moran Foundation for Older Australians.

This resulted in even more ligitation involving Moran versus Moran. Instead of sorting out their family problems in private, they chose to take each other to court, where all their sad family business was played out in the headlines for months on end.

Hare Krishner Community
Between 2002 and 2004 Doug Moran took the Tweed Shire Council to court which ended in an out of court settlement. The family are no longer associated with the Tweed Council.