Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

May 23rd
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Home Culture Culture in Australia BUNDANOON ---- The first town to ban the sale of bottled water in Australia

BUNDANOON ---- The first town to ban the sale of bottled water in Australia

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Bundanoon made headlines as the first town in Australia to stop the sale of bottled water. Nestled at 120 kilometer south of Sydney, about an hour and a half’s drive from Sydney towards Canberra; today it is one of the tourist towns that has retained its village charm setting. It is renowned for its tranquil, rustic and fresh atmosphere and is also a well known honeymoon destination.

Bundanoon was first explored in 1818, but it was not until 1881 that it was officially named. It was a meeting and trading (market) place for aboriginal inhabitants and early European settlement due to it being on the route of the railway. Its early industries included mining and timber milling, and its sandstone and slate quarrying, which is still in operation today, is a main source of supply in NSW. The nearby tourist attraction – Morton National Park, rivals the Blue Mountains with its diverse species of plants, insects, birds and geology; attracts a large number of tourists every year for bush walking, horse riding, cycling, tennis, golf and it is the best place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. At the height of its tourist industry, there were 68 guest houses. Today, some of them are still in business after being refurbished. There are also beautiful private gardens open to the public on selected period of times.

Bundanoon has a population of 2,000. The majority of them are immigrants of Scottish background, mostly retired professionals. There are also some small business keepers.  Along the main street in town are several art-and-craft and antique shops. Every year in April, a major event occurs --“Bundanoon is Brigadoon”, which is one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the Southern Highland. It attracts more than 20,000 tourists per day.
As to why the town bans the sale of bottled water, it began about 10 years ago when a water company discovered the fine water quality in Bundanoon. It began to purchase land with the intention of digging wells to pump water. The local community was concerned about impacts on the local traffic caused by trucks carrying water, as well as land subsidence caused by the pumping. They rallied together to oppose, so the water company’s water extraction application was never approved by the local district council. Some residents started to think, that the idea of taking local water out of town to process and package, and then sell it back to the locals by the businessman, is a stupid chain of supply. Therefore they set up free water refilling stations on the streets. The local retailers supported the initiative by stopping the sale of bottled water, and instead will only sell refillable water bottles. Because of the inspiration of these residents, Bundanoon has unwittingly become the focus of world attention. Major newspapers from Great Britain and America sent reporters to cover the story. Da Ai TV  from Taiwan was also allured to make media coverage, thus gave me the opportunity to visit this rustic and innovative town –Bundanoon.

Translated by Margaret Wong