Old Byron Bay Images

July 4th, 2023

Old Byron Bay Images

2023-07-04 04:10

Thanks to long-term resident Kerry McDonald Baunach for putting together this website of old and gold images of Byron Bay. It’s easy to forget that Byron was not long ago a sleepy, little, coastal town where the main industry was either killing whales or cows. What happened? I have selected just a few of them here with some commentary. Thanks to ex-councillor Jan Hacket who donated a lot of the pics.


The sign we used to have entering Byron Bay before the new one was put there: Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out. The new sign was put there by an independent wag and was not planned or authorised by the council. It is now very popular and council should provide a small parking bay there as it is dangerous with people stopping to take selfies.


Byron Landmark on the Jonson and Lawson St roundabout. It was the Orient for many years and home of many restaurants.


For a time in 80s the corner shop was called Get Frocked which I thought was a pretty good name for a dress shop.


This is a pic of the BB surf lifesaving clubhouse during the 1974 floods. Apparently, one of the houses on Border Street, Belongil Beach was also hanging over the edge during this storm and decided to sell for $1000 at the Great Northern on the night. The house is still standing there.


This is an aerial of the old Byron Bay meat works. It was used for whale processing as close as the 60s. It was then an abattoir and after that had a life as the Epicentre, where it was a venue and used for artist studios. John Cornell and Paul Hogan even used it to shoot a few scenes of Crocodile Dundee there. It was torn down and eventually developed into residential building lots. John Cornell and Delvene Delaney bought a chunk of it and the remaining ones have now the beachfront lots have been selling for over $20 mil.


The original Byron Bay School of Arts building was erected in 1895. It went through a variety of names and uses and the iteration pictured was after a renovation in the early 1980s. The murals were added by two local artists. The Byron Bay Community Centre we know now was completed in 2002 after nearly 20 years of fundraising. It was designed by architect Ian McKay and faced fierce opposition by opponents wanting to keep and restore the original.


An aerial of Wategos beach – probably circa 1970s. In 1933 Murray (Mick) Watego leased some of the land. He and his wife, Mary and 10 children grew bananas and other fruits and vegetables to supply local and Sydney markets. In 1961 Council put up for auction approximately 86 lots of land. The average price in 1961 was $700, and in 1970, $2320. It would take over 25 years for all of the lots to be sold and built on. The last Wategos record for a house was $22.5 mil and blocks with tear-down houses on them have sold for $5-7 mil.


A disheartening picture of a Bunjalung man – the original, and only true local resident of the time. SAY YES TO THE VOICE!

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