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First Impressions are important
Tourists or prospective citizens receive their first impressions of a small township when passing along the main street and its environs. When approaching the central business district of Nambour, from the south in particular, the visitor is first presented with the pleasing aspect of the town situated in a picturesque valley surrounded by verdant hills. Once in the town centre, the visitor can observe the buildings and other features shown below - the colour photographs were taken on 4 February 2014:
1: At the main intersection in the heart of Nambour
2: The new Nambour Mill Village shopping centre
3: A vacant child-care centre at the entrance to the Nambour Bus-Rail Interchange
4: The entrance to the Nambour Bus-Rail Interchange
5: In earlier decades, the view of Nambour from the entrance of the Railway Station was of a park sporting a raised band-stand called Railway Square. The view also included an elegant Shire Council Chambers with a majestic main entrance in the classic style, flanked by Ionic columns - see photograph 22 below. Now, all one sees is a featureless brick wall.
6: A building in the centre of Nambour
7: Inside that building. It has been empty for some time.
8: Nambour's second main intersection - the corner of Currie and Lowe Streets - compare with photograph 27 below.
9: A sign that once showed the way to the Nambour Plaza shopping centre
10: Nambour's largest office building, known variously as the Seymour Centre, Nambour Civic Centre, or Centenary Square. Locals have another name for it. It is functional, but that is all that can be said in its favour.
11: A line of five vacant shops in Currie Street
12: The same line of shops in Currie Street
13: The Coronation Avenue bridge over Petrie Creek is grimy above and covered with graffiti underneath
14: Petrie Creek upstream from the Price Street railway bridge
15: In 1932, Petrie Creek at this same spot was a popular swimming and boating venue. The water was clean then, as was the three-year-old concrete road bridge. Around 1950 a boulevard was planned to run along the south bank so that people could enjoy the creek as a recreational facility.
Nambour is an excellent place to make your home. It is much better than the impression one gains from passing down Currie Street, although there are some great shops and eating places there, too. The lack of parking spaces cripples the businesses in the main block. This contrasts strongly with the parking situation (and the commercial activity it attracts) as seen in the photographs of Currie Street from the 1930s to the 1960s illustrated below. By counting the parked vehicles on both sides of the street and in its centre in photographs 16 to 18, we see that there could be approximately 70 vehicles parked in Currie Street between Howard Street and Lowe Street, and that was at a time when all Bruce Highway traffic, including touring coaches and heavy semi-trailers passed along this very street. There are parking spaces at the present time for only 18 cars. Parking at the Nambour Hospital, particularly for staff, is an absolute disgrace, and a severe indictment on all the politicians, past and present, local and State, who have failed to solve this problem which continues to grow worse every year.
The pictures below show that in the past Currie Street was a busy, vibrant thoroughfare - observe the numbers of people on the footpaths. The Regional Council and Chamber of Commerce should rouse themselves and do something to restore the heart of Nambour, but talkfests accomplish very little. What is needed is action, not words - a radical strategic town plan. Is the provision of adequate car parking the key? Maybe the provision of retail outlets should be left to the shopping centres of Nambour Plaza, Nambour Central Mall and Nambour Mill Village, and the buildings in the town centre replaced by a green heart, a 'Central Park'. One thing is certain: the empty shops in Currie Street are a waste of space.
16: Currie Street in 1933 - it is still unpaved at that time
17: Currie Street in the early 1930s
18: Currie Street around 1935, after the surface had been bitumenised and central parking introduced
19: Currie Street in the late 1930s (despite the caption)
20: The Railway Square park and the Maroochy Shire Council Chambers with its Ionic columns in 1935
21: The environs of the Commercial Hotel and White Rose Café (right) around 1960
22: The main street in 1960, looking south. Woolworths and Penneys had large stores in the block at left. The street accommodated four lanes of traffic and two lines of parallel parking, as well as central parking for the length of the street.
23: The main street between the Club Hotel and the Shire
Council Chambers in 1961, after installation of fluorescent street lighting
Monochrome photographs courtesy Sunshine Coast Libraries
Digital Nambour Chronicle Picture Sunshine Coast
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