Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 09:04
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The first people to live in the area were Bundjalung people. The name Murwillumbah derives from an Aboriginal word meaning "camping place" – from Murrie, meaning "aboriginal people", Wolli, "a camp"; and Bab, "the place of". Nearby Mount Warning and its attendant national park are known as Wollumbin, meaning "Cloud Catcher", in the Bundjalung language.
Timber-getters were drawn to the region in the 1840s. The river port at Tumbulgum was initially the main settlement. In 1902, a local government municipality was declared with Murwillumbah as its centre.

Most of the town's business district was destroyed by fire in 1907.
On September 15, 1907, at about 8:30 p.m., Murwillumbah was shocked by the sight of a fire at Dainer’s Bakery. Many of the townspeople had been startled by the clanging of bells and shouts of “FIRE!”, and rushed out to see what was happening. It was reported that Roy Dainer, the 14-year-old son of baker, Edward Dainer, first sounded the alarm, after he and his brother noticed smoke coming into their kitchen, where they were playing cards.

The long expected had happened. What 48 hours ago was one of the most thriving cityettes in the Commonwealth was now a heap of blackened ruins. After years of unparalleled prosperity Murwillumbah had, after being asleep for too long, been rudely awakened. The vast majority of the business centre of the town has been totally destroyed, and the town and district had received a blow which it took some time to recover from.
Murwillumbah is the location for Australia’s largest-ever bank robbery which occurred in 1978 and has not been solved. On a muggy November night in the sleepy sugar cane town of Murwillumbah, just across the NSW border from the Gold Coast, a gang of five highly-skilled, professional bank robbers pulled off an audacious crime.

Their target was the Bank of NSW (now Westpac), on the town’s main street, just a few steps from the police station. As the town slept, the men broke into the bank through the wooden back door, and made straight for the strongroom. There, they set up a sophisticated magnetic drilling rig and proceeded to bust open the vault. Inside was $1,763,400 in used bills - 50s, 20s, 10s, fives, twos and ones - neatly packed into small plastic containers inside seven cardboard boxes. When they had completed their haul, the gang calmly removed the loot and packed away their equipment, before removing the dials and the handle to the Chubb safe which had contained the notes.
On their way out, they jammed the tumblers to the locks on the strongroom. They loaded the loot into a panel van and left, most likely headed for the Gold Coast.

Murwillumbah is protected by a series of levees, but they do not protect all parts of the town in major floods. The worst flood to hit the town occurred in February 1954, with another major flood in 1956. In 1974, 200 people were evacuated from the town after floodwater from Tropical Cyclone Zoe inundated the area.

In January 2008, Murwillumbah and surrounding areas were hit by severe flooding. May 2009 saw more evacuations in the town and surrounds after heavy rainfall.
Zoe crossed the coast at Coolangatta and then recurved back out to sea. Major flooding occurred in North New South Wales and 200 people were evacuated in Murwillumbah and 500 families were evacuated at Lismore. Landslides cut the main railway line in 4 places between Casino and Coffs Harbour

Lisnagar has become a local landmark and classified by the national Trust of Australia (NSW) as a heritage treasure . The land bought at auction (1862) by Samual Gray and (1871) by Joshua Bray was later bought by Edward Twohill who in 1904 had Lisnagar built for his wife Ellen. Lisnagar is still owned by the Twohill family.

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Reply By: Athol W1 - Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 09:12

Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 09:12
Thank you Doug for yet another interesting account of Australian history.
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Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 09:19

Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 09:19
Gday Doug
Those bank robbers will be in strife when the "cold case" coppers get on the job.
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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Reply By: Member - Robyn R4 - Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 10:19

Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 10:19
You've done it yet again, Doug. You always seem to have that little bit of extra interesting detail that leaves me thinking "I didn't know that!"...and I've lived in the area for over 15 years!!


:) Robyn
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 12:05

Sunday, Feb 26, 2017 at 12:05
Thanks Doug, Great place Murwillumbah.
If I were free of obligations I would choose to live in the Murwillumbah district.

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