TIGERS: Oleander Carnival Poolmans Service Station Tiger In Your Tank promotional girls- Dawn Clarke, Robyn Bannah, Nita Marr and Connie Keane.
TIGERS: Oleander Carnival Poolmans Service Station Tiger In Your Tank promotional girls- Dawn Clarke, Robyn Bannah, Nita Marr and Connie Keane. Robyn Bannah

Byron Bay– a touch of the Australian sublime

IN PUTTING together A Walk Through Time, in the Byron Shire News today, we received amazing amounts of help from local historians and history enthusiasts.

See below for a few photos and pick up a copy of the Byron Shire News for the full  eight page lift out.

Big thanks go to Pat Kranz, assistant at Byron Bay Library, who delved into the Eric Wright Collection to help us out.

Thanks also to Donald Maughan, from the Byron Historical Society, and the members of the Know What I Miss About Byron Facebook site.

This is by no means a definitive or even chronological historical survey. Many of the pictures have quite a lot of associated detail, and some have almost no detail at all.

So if you can add anything to our collective knowledge, please drop me an email at: editor@byronnews.com.au.

One person I would like to particularly thank is Dr Robert Smith, from the School of Education at Southern Cross University.

Dr Smith co-authored Time and Tide Again - A History of Byron Bay, with Maurice Ryan.

Published in 2001, the book still stands as one of the definitive histories of the region and Dr Smith was able to explain why Byron Bay is such a special place.

"Byron Bay was always regarded as an industry town right from the 1890s up until the mid 60s," he said.

"Starting right back with the timber- getters, then the farmers, the meat works, the dairy industry and through to the whaling and sand mining, Byron was always regarded as a smelly industrial town.

"Over that time, Byron was never seen as a prospect for the kind of development that took place on other parts of the NSW coast or the Gold Coast.

"The other protective factor was that Byron was a long way from Sydney, with a lot of other places to develop in between.

"Then, as luck would have it, the winding down of industry in the 1960s coincided with the eventual end of the Vietnam War, the Aquarius Festival and the birth of the environment movement in the early 70s.

"The result was that a relatively undeveloped seaside town became a Mecca for a new population of people drawn by the area's sheer beauty but also committed to keeping that natural beauty intact.

"Even today, as the town has started to expand and develop, it has still stayed at a 'knowable size'. You can still know the people and not get lost here as can happen in larger towns.

"There is a very diverse mix of people living closely together, with an intensity and creativity like no other place.

"As I have come and gone from Byron Bay over the years, I am always struck by its stunning natural beauty upon my every return

"There are very few places that have what I call a touch of the Australian sublime, and Byron Bay is one of those places."