A ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
TONIGHT Heather Ewart explores the vibrant coastal community Woolgoolga in northern New South Wales. As Ewart says it’s a hard name to say but a great place to stay. To the locals it’s affectionately known as “Woopi”. It’s where former banana-growing locals are riding a blueberry wave of prosperity, with beachfront shacks giving way to million-dollar mansions overlooking spectacular ocean views and marine parks. East certainly meets West in the stunning spot and leading the town’s economic transformation is the local Indian Sikh community, who’ve called Woolgoolga home for at least four generations. Their stunning temple on the hill has become a local icon to rival (well, almost) the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. And it’s a symbol of a community that’s reaping the benefits of embracing cultural differences. Key to the Sikh community’s success is its belief in the concept of sharing. On Sundays, there’s a standing invitation to the entire town, including visitors, to join their Sikh neighbours in a delicious, traditional feast at the magnificent temple. Then there’s the beachside markets. Thirdgeneration Aussie Sikh John Arkan (pictured above with Ewart and his wife Surinda Kaur) sings ‘Hurry, hurry I’ve got curry’, bantering good-naturedly with his customers. This good nature is central to the ethos of the wider community with neighbours looking out for each other in every way.