by Kerry Tolson @kerrytolson.com
My latest project has me visiting all the local towns, villages, hamlets, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it two-abode communities and spots that are just so out of the way no one realizes they’re there. And like localities the world over, each and every community has something beautiful, interesting, fabulous and quirky… or just down-right head-scratchingly bizarre in it.
Funky Brunswick Heads has the lot.
Brunz, as the locals call it, is famous for many things – it’s incredible beach, it’s stunning river, the Bikes and Kites Festival, the Fish and Chips Festival – which is actually all about fishing and woodchopping…. yes, definitely two things you'd think about at the same time - and of course, it is the Vintage-Retro capital of the Far North Coast – no, that’s not an official State declaration, just me declaring a statement that should be made official!
This laid-back sweet little village is filled with fabulous vintage and second-hand shops at every turn, cafés quirked up with real vintage fixtures and shops of all kinds oozing retro flair; it’s as if you've walked into a mash of beautiful memories.
On this glorious Saturday, we’d popped down to Brunz to hunt out its street art. And to have a quintessential Brunz breaky – another thing Brunswick Heads is famous for.
Stopping to snap away and having my snapping morph into a full blown photo shoot, Mal’s tum was doing the grumble and he suggests firmly that we eat first then hunt and gather. 'Sure,' I say… ‘but let’s go this way,’ I say, pointing down an alley, and off we trot with every good intention to eat first.
But art never waits…
well actually it does, its just my good intentions of going back to something always fall away, like a butterfly easily distracted, I'm already onto the next sweet piece … and we don’t get too much further when flashes of
graf-art pop out.
A face peers from a wall. Across from it an innocuous mandala flower stenciled on a utility box turns out to be a wonderful collection of faces, further down a row of surfboards on a roof cast shadows across the laneway and exposes a stunning mural.
Painted in 2014 as part of the Youth Street Art Project it is a gloriously explosion of colour that expresses the floaty soul of Brunz - the sea and its secret possibilities - and the deep dedication to the life-giving environment we need to protect... along with a pistol packing Panda on a bamboo shoot out.
By time I’ve finished photographing this, as well as checking out what has to be one of the most hippest barbers parlours I’ve ever see, and the incredible retro shop next to it – The Big Fish Collective - and discovered where Santa gets his beard-trims from, breaky time has turned into lunch and a desperate need for coffee.
The glorious 'Welcome to Brunswick Heads' mural by large-scale artist Glenn Case of Super Wet Paint has graced the Fabulous Mrs Fox wall since 2012 yet looks as if it's been there since the fifties.
Next to it, a mural of sweet wooden toys from a bygone era play with funny bunnies and joyful beings from out of space. Just to the side of this shop I notice a sweet little door between two of the shops and think with amusement, ‘Ooh a fairy house’, and we wander on.
As we amble along, I notice miniature ‘abodes’ along the street, hiding in trees and gardens and realise they are fairy houses… and somewhere in the back of my mind I remember reading something about Brunswick Heads being touted as the place for fairies to come and have their ‘holidays’. A quick trip into the local Information Centre confirms this and much to Mal’s joy, I come out with map and guide in hand and gleefully tell him we’re going on the Fairy Trail. He's so delighted he can barely contain his thoughts.
It turns out Brunswick Heads is the fairy 'AiryB&b' capital.
And I promptly fix this the very following weekend and we return with our very own two little sweet fairies and hunt for the homes all over again. Grumpy Gramps was all smiles on that day!
The fairy homes are darling. From the 'enlighten' stupa style - complete with prayer flags - abode of Fairy Metta from Tibet, Gum Blossom's hidden abode, and Melaleuca's home in a shady glen by the river to Fiery Fairy's fire house and the Polly Fairy police station. Hiding in trees (a castle), sweeping down to the beach and tucked away in the mangroves, the fairy homes lead us on a merry chase.
The trail leads us over to Brunz's stunning beach, reserve and rock wall break where I find more wonderful graffiti art and murals, as well as a 'driftwood village' that has sprung up on the beach.
The day is drawing to an end and as we drive out of beautiful little Brunswick Heads, our last stop is the skate park where more gritty art bursts from the cement curves and off the container walls.
Along with a warning as we drive off; to watch for unicorns!
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book