Having been born and bred in the South West town of Bunbury Western Australia, and lived here most of my life apart from some shifting when I was a Guard on the railways and then as an Airman in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Bunbury is supposedly a city, but unfortunately Bunbury isn’t really that rich in history, nor does it really have the population to be called a city.
However, one of Bunbury’s greatest attributes is that it is not overcrowded with big city problems such as air pollution or traffic congestion; however, Bunbury does have a slight housing shortage.
Of course, Bunbury does have its freedom and tolerance, but when it comes to entertainment and or parades there are no wide squares to cater for such scenarios.
Like most other cities around the globe, ordinary people of Bunbury live in the suburbs occupied with their own day-to-day problems such as drugs, crime, unemployment, mental issues, and alcohol dependency.
Bunbury’s Central Business District used to be the principal retail centre of the town; unfortunately, this is no longer true as other shopping centres have sprung up all over the suburbs of Bunbury whereby parking one’s car is not an issue, to the detriment of the CBD where parking meters exist.
The CBD is finding it increasingly difficult to function effectively.
Albeit Bunbury has been gazetted as a City for quite a number of years, in reality,compared with other cities in around Australia and the globe Bunbury is in fact, a small town, as Bunbury’s estimated residential population is a mere 39,791 as at June 2015.
Bunbury has an unusually small area for a city consisting of (65.7) square kilometres (40.2 miles) along the coast of Western Australia some (180) kilometres (112 miles) South of Perth being the capital city of Western Australia.
As a child during the 60’s and 70’s the economic life of Bunbury consisted of shipping grain, fruit, timber, coal, mineral sands and other mixed commodities from Bunbury, while ships brought in fuel and oils (the reason why there used to be huge fuel tanks on top of Marlston Hill) which is now an housing estate.
Trains would bring perishables from Perth to Bunbury marshalling yards and railway station and would be broken up and made up so that trains would then head to Northcliffe, Busselton and Nannup, with mail, superphosphate, stock and other cargo.
The marshalling yards and railway station no longer exist in the CBD of Bunbury, the marshalling yards were relocated at Picton Junction some (7 kilometres) (4 Miles) from the CBD, whilst a new railway station is located in the suburb of Wollaston some (2 kilometres) (1.2 Miles from the old railway station, which is now used as a bus and coach terminal.
Bunbury councillors and former councillors it seems have been hell bent on impeding development within the CBD of Bunbury, inhibiting tourism, artistic ventures and cultural activities.
What lets Bunbury down is the multitude of car ownership in the Bunbury Regional Area which is rising rapidly and there is no policy by the State or Federal Governments and or the Bunbury City Council to improve public transport, and if Bunbury wants to be a modern city instead of a small town, it needs have a rapid transit system integrating the existing bus services.
Bunbury lacks contemporary transportation and commuting methods. There is no plan to say that there will be a Very fast passenger train between Bunbury and Perth and indeed there are no plans for any light rail in Bunbury.
Within five to 10 years Bunbury will become one of the most congested cities in Australia and even with the outer ring road that would have been operational for about five years by then the roads leading into and out of Bunbury will be heavily congested.
It is a well-known fact that cities throughout the world grew by constructing railway lines whereby houses and units could be built surrounding the railway lines.
By 2030 the Greater Bunbury Regional Area will have a population base of 208,476 people and when you include other shires such as Collie, Nannup, Bridgetown, Donnybrook-Balingup, Augusta Margaret River, Busselton, Boyup Brook, Manjimup, Capel, Dardanup and Harvey the population by 2030 will be around 385,664 persons.
Finally, tourists should be contributing towards the city’s income, however, this can’t be done if there is very little accommodation to cater for tourists, and then Bunbury wonders why tourist venture further south where accommodation for tourists is appropriate.
The City Bunbury will never reach its full potential until its rail infrastructure is improved and a light rail system prioritised catering for Eaton, Australind, Dalyellup, Usher, and South Bunbury.
© Brian Hastie