New girl comes to funky town
Lismore’s new city centre manager Moira Bennett is looking forward to working in a town that is “funky, interesting and diverse”. Hailing originally from Glasgow, Moira brings years of experience in the arts and entertainment industry to her new role, along with a fair helping of creativity. She sees Lismore as “a bit like a mini Melbourne”, with its unique shops in a city with history and character.
Ms Bennett has recently moved to the local area from the Mornington Peninsula, where she worked in marketing and promotions for the Portsea Golf Club. She said she was looking forward to the change and getting involved in the lifestyle and culture of the North Coast.
“I wanted to combine my background in arts and entertainment with my social conscience to help a place,” Ms Bennett said. “I thought maybe I can do something that can make a difference, for the greater good.”
Ms Bennett has worked in London, Adelaide and Sydney, and is one of the few women in Australia who has been the head of a record company. She was the managing director for Virgin Records Australia and managed bands like Culture Club, XTC and Simple Minds during the 1980s. Always a bit left of centre, she liked the alternative, smaller labels and went on to start her own companies such as the Massive Label, Mighty Boy Records and her own distribution label Little Big Music, where she promoted bands like Not Drowning Waving and local North Coast performer Jodi Martin.
“I was fairly successful and spent a lot of my time finding money to set bands up and get them into the studio,” she said.
Ms Bennett is taking over the reins from former city centre manager Stephen Nelson, who is moving on to the role of Art in the Heart coordinator. She would like to see more street art murals and markets in the city and said she wants to refurbish and invigorate the city centre for shopping.
“I’d love to see a world where we get more businesses involved in arts – it would help everyone,” Ms Bennett said. “Lismore has a pretty arty environment anyway and I’d like to support and promote this creativity.”
Ms Bennett said she will continue with the business plan for the city centre and make sure events run smoothly.
“Lismore is quite progressive and has good infrastructure,” Ms Bennett said. “Hopefully next year its success will keep growing.”