Unique welcome to Bega Valley with re-purposed timber signs

Three giant signs made of timber salvaged from Tathra Wharf after it was severely damaged in the June 2016 'super storm' will be erected at the gateways to the Bega Valley Shire.   

People entering the Bega Valley Shire from the north, south and west will soon be greeted with three welcoming signs telling stories of local environment and heritage.

A 6-metre by 7-metre sign depicting a whale tail will signal the southern entrance of the shire near the Timbillica turnoff south of Eden. Drivers arriving at the northern end of the shire at Cobargo will be greeted by a cow, while a kangaroo will be erected on the shire's western boundary on the Brown Mountain.

The recycled timber signs - designed locally by Dirk Signs and made in Melbourne by Sign Express - should be ready for installation in mid-July, subject to RMS approval. 

It is part of a bigger project that will include individual town signs also being made from the recycled wharf timber.

The plan to welcome visitors through the main gateways of Eden, Bemboka and Cobargo started last year when working with Sapphire Coast Tourism on promoting the shire and the uniqueness of its individual locations.

Council’s general manager, Leanne Barnes, said the signage at each location has been developed to reflect the variety of elements that makes the shire a special place.

“From the outset we wanted the gateway signs to do more than just welcome people to the shire,” she said.

“They needed to be signs that told a story of individual places, highlighting the histories and diversity of a Shire known for coast, country and wilderness.

“Visitors entering from the north of the shire will be greeted by a rural scene reflecting the importance of the local dairy industry; entering from the west through Bemboka will reflect the stunning wilderness of nearby Brown Mountain and the Wadbilliga range; and visitors are welcomed from the south with a scene referencing the importance of whales in both the past and future.

“Each of the signs will acknowledge the people of the Yuin and Monaro Nations; their culture and position as traditional custodians of the land and waters of the shire through the use of the local Aboriginal word for welcome, Njindjiwaan.

“It is important to recognise that the People of the Yuin and Monaro Nations formed the first human chapter in our local story,” she said.   

“Choice of materials was an important part of the design process, and settling upon the use of large repurposed timber from historic local sources reflects the role of timber production, wooden bridges, wharves and sleeper cutters in forming part of the shire’s unique story.    

“The gateway signage is the first step in a plan to introduce other signs highlighting the unique nature of towns, villages and localities in the shire,” Ms Barnes said.

The Gateway signs are planned for installation before spring 2017 pending planning and NSW Roads and Maritime Services approval.