164-year-old store's new look stops traffic
TOURISTS and locals alike have been loving the new-look Goolmangar General Store.
Owner Kirstin Paterson made the decision to "refresh" the store with a brand new building-wide exterior artwork after the historic store was inundated during the March 2017 floods.
The 164-year-old building was given a facelift over a three month period by Back Alley Gallery street artist Justin Livingstone, also known as Julla, who had said it was a "privilege" to be commissioned to create the stunning new artwork.
Work commenced in October, and Ms Paterson said she was "thrilled" to see the work completed last month.
"I'm so happy to see it finish. It is a really beautiful piece of art," she said.
"He has captured the whole area all in one building.
"There's an obvious pride in the community. Everyone loves it."
When The Northern Star spoke to Julla in October 2018, the artist said he planned to put "more of a modern spin" on the existing iconic cow paintings.
And Ms Paterson couldn't be happier with the end result.
"It's already having a huge impact," she said.
"As well as the locals, we've also had dozens of cars stop in to check it out, and tour buses have been pulling over on the way to Nimbin, bringing tourists into the store. It's just been amazing."
The enormous artwork features a barnyard with cows, chickens and pigs, as well as beloved real-life resident store cat Splice, with special features such as an Australia Post cow and an indication of where the 2017 flood level reached on the building.
While the exterior walls of the store itself and the adjoining shed have been completed, Ms Paterson is already planning to "fill in" and paint the seating area with homages to the local rural fire brigade and WIRES.
She offered her thanks to the local businesses who had helped support the artwork, seven of which have been immortalised in the painting.
Ms Paterson has some big plans to expand the store, to include either a cafe or fish and chip shop, but acknowledged it would be quite some time into the future, and there would need to be public toilets before that could happen.
There are no public amenities between Lismore and Nimbin, and Ms Paterson said it would be "fantastic" to have some in Goolmangar in order to give people the chance to stop and have a break.