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BYRON GUIDE 30 years in publishing people, politics and culture ByronGuide2013 (original) GbH.indd 1

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Photo: David Young

It is exciting to see brave people continuing the tradition of bringing fashion, art, music, food and environmental awareness, surfing, and sparking politics.

Shire. The rest of Australia has been living with mining for years but its spectre has now come to the heart of one of our country’s favourite visitor and residential destinations.

Over these thirty years Byron has had to be vigilant against proposals that threatened to make it the same as everywhere else. Some of these threats were: highrise development, Club Med, a large hinterland dam, an international airport at Tyagarah and recently a Woolworthsowned Dan Murphy’s. Byron does not win all its battles against inappropriate development, but it certainly does pull together as a community that can be powerfully focused on big issues. Dropping out is not what Byron’s about …

The name Byron Bay represents something that we constantly try to articulate. If one was to dream up a menu of situations and conditions to compose a utopia, Australia would be the model of the nation-state and Byron would have many elements of the actual place one might wish to live for the rest of their lives. But of course there is always the danger of excesses in tropical paradises especially when they become famous destinations.

This is an auspicious time. Our recent shire elections brought up a council that truly cares but is working with limited funds. Our Sydney-centric New South Wales government is introducing new planning and ecological controls and regulations. The end of 2102 has seen an application for exploration for coal-seam gas mining in Byron


Australia is being held to ransom for the ideology that we should be slaves to money and growth at the cost of a degraded and polluted physical and social environment. Byron at least was/is a refuge against this profusion of the so-called real-world perception that holds profit over environment as the way we must choose for our future. Byron is its own sea within our world of oceans, connected

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Australia is a celebration of freedom, colour and nature. Diane von Furstenberg

No matter how educated, population guesswork can vary, but the patterns tend to be consistent. The NSW Department of Planning estimated after the 2006 Census that the Richmond-Tweed region, taking in the area from Tweed Heads, down the coast through Byron to Ballina, and inland to Lismore and Kyogle, would grow from a population of 230,000 to 316,000 by 2036 – an increase of 86,000 people or 37 percent. Nearly 90 percent of that growth will come from people like me, migrating from elsewhere in Australia, mostly urban escapees. The latest census doesn’t appear to contradict that projection.

a workplace revolution like no other in human history – a revolution that will impact adversely on some but provide much greater flexibility for others. Capital city growth will continue to dominate Australian population patterns, and some experts argue that high speed internet access will not drive a boom in regional development. But it’s not hard to see why one of Australia’s most attractive regions will become an increasingly desirable target for frustrated urban dwellers who can take their jobs with them, or reshape their work to accommodate a permanent sea/tree change.

In fact, there’s every possibility that real growth will be higher, because we are on the edge of

With Brisbane now less than two hours away from Byron by road and getting closer by the


Photo: Rusty Miller

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year, and Coolangatta comfortably less than an hour away, there are two major airports (and a capital city) within relatively easy reach for locals who need to travel domestically or internationally – and Ballina Airport is also set to expand.

is lower than the state average, the cost to buy or rent a house is also higher than the state average. It’s a more educated workforce here than the state average, but many of the jobs are casual and in the service sector.

Then there is the future impact of tourism which we’re told is set to explode in the next decade or so. The Australian Treasury estimates that the burgeoning middle class of the Asia-Pacific region which now stands at 500 million, will explode to 3.2 billion by 2030. Many of those will be cashed up tourists with a taste for desirable and iconic Western destinations, including presumably, guess where?

What this all adds up to is a big set of challenges that will require practical outcomes beyond worthy vision statements – how to protect those things which have made Byron special, to acknowledge and try to control the irresistible pressures that are in the pipeline, to create the climate for industry and employment opportunity that would be in harmony with the spirit of the community to help address the economic disparity. If the forecasters are right about tourism’s future, then without an urgent focus on acceptable new high skills-based industry, this region risks becoming even more of an economic one-trick pony.

Byron Shire Council says tourism, which is the shire’s principal economic driver, already increases Byron’s overnight population by 22 percent. What will that be 10 to 15 years from now if the expectations are realised that international tourism, mostly from Asia, is about to deliver Australia’s next big boom? There is a further element to consider in trying to build a realistic picture of this region’s mediumterm future. We all know Australia’s population is ageing. That will be particularly so for the Byron Shire where the median age is already 41 and set to rise. Official figures project that the percentage of population over 65 for the TweedRichmond region will rise from 17 percent in 2006 to 30 percent by 2036. They won’t all be cashed up, totally self-sufficient self-funded retirees, and the demand for fundamental services with expensive infrastructure is only going to grow. The regional picture would not be complete without acknowledging another reality – that Byron consists of a two-tiered economy. Average incomes here are lower than the state average, most businesses are either sole traders or have few employees, the number of full time workers compared to part time

Yet the Council that faces these challenges is notoriously divided and permanently cash-strapped. One of the impressions I’ve formed in nearly two years here is that most of the big political issues in the public gaze have been more about opposing things than creating them – opposing a Woolworths, a Club Med or a fast food outlet, for instance. These things might be important in a broader philosophical context, but surely they have to be accompanied by a bigger plan, practical but imaginative that meets the realities of the future head on. The lack of funding for local government is a fact of life. Political division doesn’t have to be. If this region doesn’t find its own way of facing the future, we may find outcomes being imposed upon us that threaten the very reasons we’re here. Kerry O’Brien is a veteran ABC broadcaster who moved to the Byron hinterland two years ago and commutes regularly to Sydney.

Photo: Emiliano Cataldi


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We cut down six million hectares of forest every year just to wipe our arse.



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The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the world about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. Rachel Carson

When Karl and I first took this place over we came in here without a specific concept. We were just doing what we do. In Sydney people were so spoilt with choice and we wanted to include that up here without the baggage. It’s become a tourist area that we have to cater for. That’s our cafe. We’ve always thought of it as a meeting place for the locals and the visitors. The attraction for us to purchase the restaurant was the upstairs. It is like two businesses: a cafe downstairs by day and restaurant upstairs by night. This area is still way more laidback than city restaurants and, even though I’m working many hours, I don’t feel stress anywhere near what I experienced in the city.

the farmer/grower or from the farmers’ market. The farm to table/garden to table has well and truly taken off. And that’s the global trend at the moment and this is the perfect place to do it. And people are using that. I notice in the city if you see anything with the name Byron Bay on it you buy it. People see it as healthier and wholesome. I find being a pastry chef here it’s still very country, people love coming in for a coffee and cake. In the city they would come in for a sushi and a glass of wine. The CWA is next door and I help them put out their table on Saturday mornings. We were invited to go to the Bangalow Show because they wanted to bring in different food from the sausage in a bun so Karl and I did the Hawaiian version with a teryaki sauce using the Barcoo beef on a sate stick. Thirty years ago The Rocks restaurant was just new and it was the place to go and it was pumping, I remember working there until 2am. I guess you would have called it casual dining. Then a variety of foods and ingredients were not available. Now, you can obtain almost anything and everything.


the well-known Sydney restaurant MG Garage as pastry chef. There I met Karl Katani from Hawaii (now my husband), that followed by stints at Tetsuya, Restaurant IVV, Celsius and Longrain, then it was New York and Hawaii. Over the years, Karl and I had tried to move up to Byron Bay a few times, as each time we came up for a holiday we didn’t want to leave. We returned to Australia finally in 2011 and a dream of ours came true – we purchased Ate/ Satiate restaurant in the beautiful main street of Bangalow and have since changed the name to TOWN Restaurant and Café.

Locally raised Katrina Katani won the prestigious SMH Chef of the Year Award in 2007 and has worked at the best restaurants around the world.

We’ve become good friends with some of the farmers and suppliers. In the restaurant we’re using the local peaches, Davidson plums Barcoo beef, Bangalow cheese. We use as local as we can. I have a dessert here called Rain Forest based on all the local rainforest fruit. It looks like a salad. I go shopping at the farmers’ market 60 metres up the back lane. You couldn’t do this when I started out here 30 years ago. The trend now for many new restaurants is using local product direct from 19 ByronGuide2013 (original) GbH.indd 19

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I’m not telling ’bout the way it was, just the way it will never be again. Peanuts Larson

I see a lot of stress around food and diet. Many of us just don’t know what’s right for us anymore and we’ve lost the ability to listen to what our own body is trying to tell us. Trust me, it will let you know if it doesn’t like something you just gave it, or made it endure. I can feel sick after a meal if I am wound up or uncomfortable with the person I’m eating with, for example. Stress is the worst thing we can do to ourselves. We can spend far too much time obsessing about what to eat, and not enough time shopping, cooking and preparing locally grown organic food. The stress created is far worse for you than what you’re potentially about to eat. On that note, I am often asked what I think the best thing we can do for our health is. Eat organically! People say they can’t afford it, but this isn’t true for most of us. In fact we waste about one third of all the food produced in Australia – straight into landfill. That’s about $10 billion worth of food a year. We spend around 10 times more on alcohol and five times more on tobacco. So it’s really just about making a decision about what you want to spend your money on. What’s your priority? Make decisions with your wallet. What sort of world do you want to live in? One that supports local farmers, local manufacturers and providers, one that is kind to our environment and all who dwell therein? Me to. Which is why I made the move to this ‘emerald city’ we call Byron Shire. Once you have your diet down pat then you can start to tackle the rest of your to-do list, one thing at a time. It’s really not that hard to eat well, especially in this part of the world. We have the Byron Farmers’ Market on Thursdays, Mullum on Fridays, Bangalow on Saturdays, and New Brighton also have their own market, as do other towns in the area. And locally caught, gorgeous seafood and organic meat and dairy are never a

challenge to find, as all of this produce can be found at the Thursday market in Byron or at one of the beautiful retail outlets in our shire. We also have the best organic sourdough bakery, which sells only at the markets, and some pretty special organic coffee, chocolate, macadamias and goat cheese is grown here. Spoilt? I reckon. And every day I give thanks for the good fortune bestowed upon me to say I’m a resident. If the food available to us here, the eternally nurturing beaches, the rolling green hinterland, the loving people and personal freedom aren’t enough reason to believe I live in the best place on Earth, I don’t know what is. So let’s keep it simple – eat organically and mostly vegetarian, shop locally, get to the beach and in the water as much as you can and that’s it. Life is pretty good. Janella has been involved in the wonderful world of organics and whole food virtually since birth and professionally since 1994.


in the evening. When you’re out, travelling or at someone else’s place for a meal – relax a little. (I don’t mean just because you’re in Italy you should eat pasta with a creamy sauce and tiramisu daily, but perhaps occasionally have a tomatobased pasta and eat it for lunch if you want.)


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from page 23

– that is, for societies that live a long time precisely because they learn how to live with their place rather than brutishly attempting to defeat it.

no historic example of austerity producing prosperity. It doesn’t. But it does accentuate the rich–poor divide.

Rusty wanted me to write something about the end of globalism, my book on the subject and where we now are in this continuing crisis. Well, I think it is all there in those three paragraphs.

So, as I say, civilised people understand how to find the line down the river, along the current. Barbarians thrash about in the waves, denying the reality of their line, attempting to conquer them given the superiority of human intelligence and the logic of self-intent.

Forty years ago we were sold on the ultimate folly of the human capacity to rise above our place, our community, our nation, our planet and impose a magical economic determinism. And here we are, as a direct result, in a major social, political and economic crisis. Australia and Canada, thanks to that brilliance which led our great grandparents to settle on top of a bunch of commodities they didn’t know existed, aren’t badly off. Such intuition. In spite of this sheer good luck, the dominant political tone is that we also must impose austerity on ourselves. We also must suffer like our fellow commodity-less democracies. This is just the latest chapter in the globalist ideology. The people who led the ideology said from the beginning it would produce shared wealth and remove public debt. Instead it has produced a pre-1929-style rich–poor divide, the return of a 19th-century-style class system and an almost unprecedented private sector debt which, in a remarkable metamorphosis was turned into public debt in order to save the economy. Then the globalists, saved from their failure, turned on the governments that had saved them and declared that such disgraceful public debt required a culling of public programs, and austerity.

And so it goes. The thing about fools is that they are only dangerous if you take them seriously. I’m just an old-fashioned canoeist. I look for the eddy line to make my way through the turbulence. Like a surfer and a wave. That is what a good economist does. That is what a smart leader does: puts moralism and ideology and impossible theories out of their mind and looks for the way to help their people through the turbulence. John Ralston Saul is the author of The Collapse of Globalism and his most recent novel is Dark Diversions. He was recently re-elected to a second term as President of PEN International.

That’s where we are today. There is of course


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Education is what remains after you have forgotten everything you learned at school Einstien


Photo: Emiliano Cataldi

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“If you ask me what’s the true definition of luxury, I would say space and nature.”

In historical times, numerous civilizations have been shaped by their relationship with the coast. Human settlements were found on the coast for harvesting resources or trade. Approximately 4000 years ago Polynesians were navigating and expanding across the Pacific Ocean while, at the same time, Phoenicians expanded their sea trade operations across the Mediterranean Sea, founding coastal settlements on their way, and starting a relationship with the shore. Before those times, and for tens of thousands of years, indigenous Australians were living in harmony with the sea country, with the Arakwal people harvesting coastal resources in equilibrium with nature in the area known today as Byron Bay. Our town started as an economic hub and trading port for wood, agriculture and dairy products in the late 19th century, with high impact coastal industries being developed for short periods of time, such as beach mining, starting in the late 1930s or whale hunting in the 1950s. This coastal exploitation lasted a short time, as resources were scarce and storms were battering coasts and sinking vessels, reminding us that the bay of Byron, in the long run, is not a welcoming place for jetties, ships, mines and whalers. Today’s world is mainly a coastal civilization. Most activities are based in a dynamic and fragile strip between the land and the sea, concentrating

human settlements and fragile ecosystems. In this environment, coastal cities have grown at a very fast pace in the last decades. For example Shanghai, an historical trading port, has today a population of 23 million people concentrated in a low-lying area between the Yangtze river and the China Sea. Australia is a lucky country. The whole continent has the same population as Shanghai, with the major cities built on the sheltered shores of its bays and estuaries and 85% of the population concentrated in coastal areas. However, places such as the Gold Coast have experienced dramatic growth in the last 40 years, from a small coastal town to a major coastal city and tourism resort. On the other hand our town, Byron Bay, has followed a path of sustainable growth in the last decades, relying on pristine beaches, beautiful landscapes, natural and cultural heritage and alternative living as an attraction for a diverse population of residents and a growing number of tourists. Old days’ factories have been replaced today by tourism and residential developments and small businesses while the coast of Byron Bay has become one of the most iconic playgrounds of modern Australia, founding its wealth on healthy beaches and dunes, coastal environments and marine ecosystems. While people live or come here for sun, surf and fun, waves and tides


Diane von Furstenberg.

continued page 28

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from page 31

positive role modelling, we aim to prevent our youngsters from joining the drunken parkies that are seen around town. An awareness toward young people’s issues and the need for positive role models exists in the consciousness in our area, through philanthropic institutions and remarkable individuals. A general understanding – ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, – is a common view here. Yay! Some prominent individuals/organisations needing special mention: Michael Light and John McKay for The Uncle Project (linking boys without male role models with good men), Arne Rubinstein for Pathways To Manhood and TARPI (The Australian Rights of Passage Institute), Di Mahoney and team for Byron Youth Service (BYS), Nicqui Yazdi for Byron Underage Drinking & Drug Initiative (assisting the large celebrations during Schoolies Week in Byron), Northern Rivers Community Foundation (philanthropic foundation providing sustainable support). Being nurtured into a creative/surf-cultured/selfempowering environment will ultimately have its positive effects. Just look at all the professional

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surfers we have produced: Gary Timperley, Margo, Danny Wills, Kieren Perrow, Garrett Parks to name a few. And then there are the accomplished lawyers, architects, swimmers, artists, most of them who left after high school for university or a job, knowing that Byron is a semi-rural town that lacks employment and educational opportunities. And as a snapshot, there are young Byronites who also enjoy the place so much they don’t want to leave, while others seem to fall between the cracks and are speechless in depression. We have a strong and respected Aboriginal culture here. Young Indigenous locals perform ceremonies and introduce country at cultural events, something Byron can be proud of and nourish for further good. Whatever the journey, whatever the choices

our young people experience here, spoken or silent, we hope they know they are respected, loved and appreciated for their individualism and youthfulness … Chad is a lover of all things colourful, vibrant and active, the idea of inspiring kids to DREAM BIG and live a healthy active lifestyle resonates with him greatly. And from a personal journey as a sponsored snowboarder, fitness trainer, schoolteacher, loving father and ActiveKidsBooks. com founder this is his mission!

Shop 4 The Plaza,108 Jonson St, Byron Bay, NSW

Photo: Tao Jones


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Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands. David Steindl-Rast

will be dripping with laughter and intelligent thoughts and the flavour of the selection of food will linger into your week. The Byron town itself can prove tiresome at times, losing the real Byron in the hustle and bustle. Our busy season means unforgiving ‘out of town’ policemen (I have had my fare share of obscene fines), manic fiestas on the street at night and waiting a long time to find a park to just catch a wave. But considering that approximately 1.6 million people pass through each year, the town has still kept to its authentic self and not gone down our giant northern neighbour’s path. Although you see the generic shops slowly lining our streets we can still boast our unique boutique concept stores, local food, textiles and talent. As a resident you rarely need to leave.

Just like the sandbanks, Byron is in constant change. People are coming and going; each one plays a part in the community’s ebbs and flows. But some stay and my favourite stories are of the once-nomadic explorer who originates beyond our shores and travelled to find perfection. They come to Byron for a week and stay forever. This is the source of the greatest cultural privilege in my world; so many opinions, cultural differences and approaches to living life. Avenues for those who are just trying to work out what’s what in life and how to get the most out of it. It’s not all about crystals, dream-catchers and spirituality. It’s about embracing natural beauty and living the ultimate lifestyle the Byron way. Libby is studying International Development. She loves surfing Byron’s rights and is saving to explore the unexplored in order to solve the unsolved.


The green ideologies of social liberalism and grassroots democracy of the town are spread into local homes where recycling, composting, local and CSG are common and recognised topics of

conversation. Our priority to eat well and live well stand high above any other need. Just pop down to the farmers’ market on a Thursday and have a taste of this experience.

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Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company. Mark Twain

Empathy Try to imagine yourself fleeing from your cultural roots, your submerging island home, and be forced to cross international borders, where you are classified stateless, dumped in a facility – perhaps an offshore island that isn’t yet sinking – where you start again from scratch. And why? Because many of the major players on the planet have turned a blind eye to repeated warnings of imminent tragedy. What’s needed now are battalions of eco warriors with science degrees, gardening skills and the capacity to create zones of survival. We need to move beyond the world of the possible, and the maybe, and prepare for what may soon be urgent . Are we preparing ‘safe passage’ documents for climate change refugees, are the tents are being tested and the food kitchens assembled. If not, why? From where will food and freedom come? Richard Neville: Excerpt from Adbusters


The Byron Shire Echo. Hand written by dolphins for discerning readers since 1986. And now there is Echonetdaily. An online newspaper with today’s news from Byron Bay and beyond, emailed daily to your inbox – FREE! 39

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fame in the park A TALK WITH BEN & RAY GORDON

Marcello Since the early 70s music has been a significant part of Byron Shire. And it has come a long way from those early music days with bands such as Chincogan, 13th Floor, Hip Pocket and many others. Byron has always been a place for original music. For a small town we have been getting good music for a long time. The Arts Factory (now The Brewery) was one of these places. It brought world-class music to the shire. This was the beginning of big-name bands coming to our town and the venue spawned the Bluesfest. The shire is now home to many organised music festivals, such as Splendour in the Grass, the Mullumbimby Music Festival and Bangalow Classical. Byron Bay is also home to high-quality street busking, drum circles at the beach, and the likes of David Ades and Juzzie Smith. Also many Australian and world-famous musicians have made the shire their home: Jack Johnson, Xavier Rudd, Ash Grunwald, Pete Murray, Tex Perkins, Grace Knight, Toni Childs, Rob Hirst, Rick Fenn, etc.

out riffs and songs in the basement of Ray and Jenny’s home in Byron a dozen years ago. Ben has played drums in 66 countries now. The wall in the back holds a massive collection of musicindustry awards and album cover photos. Some years ago Byron Shire Council offered them money to change their name because it couldn’t keep people from stealing the Parkway Drive road sign just down the street. The last one was put up extra high but it too went missing the week before we met. Their music is heavy in beat, emotion, and for my vintage ears tricky to hear the articulation. I asked Ray how do you know the words they are singing? ‘We just get a readout on the computer and read the words as we listen to the song. And once you do that a couple of times, you’ve got it.’

So it is no surprise then that musicians born here are going out into the world and are now world famous, such as The Jezabels and Parkway Drive.

When they started, Ben says: ‘There were only a handful of kids at school that listened to heavyish kind of music at the time. We were a small tightknit group. We started a little band when there were kind of all sorts of little punk and hardcore bands. They all broke up around 2001, 2002 and so Winston (lead singer) said we should start another one a bit more technical with the best members out of the other bands. We got Jeff and Luke and, as soon as we started jamming, we clicked really well and had two songs the first day and that was the start.’

I talked to father and son Ray and Ben Gordon at a relaxed home pace in Byron Bay. Ben is in great shape. His muscular body is defined by an appearance of significant horsepower built by lots of workouts at the gym. But this body is a result of a decade of being the whirling powerhouse drum machine for one of the world’s most popular and formidable hard-core bands on the planet: Parkway Drive. They are described by Rolling Stone magazine as an ‘international force’ and worshipped by fans internationally because of the genuineness that their sound and actions personify. Along with four other local guys who all went to Byron High together Parkway began knocking 40

waiting approval

What is the commonality and provider of strength that keeps you together? Ben: All members of the band have parents who have stuck together, except one who also has a good relationship with both his parents. This is something we talk about, which is very rare these days. All our parents have been very supportive of

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Make haste, slowly. Anonymous

what we’ve done; that’s obviously a big thing with anything you have to do, if you have the support of your parents. My parents let us start here. We named the band after the street because this was the house we used to hang at. They never minded my playing drums for hours. How did you handle such radical loud kids? Ray: Possibly early in the piece we might have put in earplugs. But once we heard the songs in their embryonic form just as a riff, and they start to pull into shape, we’d look forward to their playing that particular song again and say, ‘This is going to be a great one’. And then once it was polished and became a full-blown song and then going to see the show, that for us (Ray and Jenny) was one of the greatest thrills we could ever have. What is it like moving through so many countries and then coming back to Byron Bay? Ben: It’s very eye opening but we have the same conclusion every time we come home. That is that

Photo: Tao Jones


continued page 42

train rides

mini golf




castle café

animal park

great gifts

Open 8am to 5pm daily • 5 minutes south of Bangalow along the Pacific Highway • Tel: 02 6687 8432 41 ByronGuide2013 (original) GbH.indd 41

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creates a stronger connection. Also we were very lucky with our timing. As we were coming up there was the whole explosion of YouTube and we’ve used that to our advantage. We’ve played in many countries that don’t sell our CD. They don’t play us anywhere there, but we’re still popular because of social media. That’s worked hugely in our favour. People seem to see that we’re not just putting it on, we’re not playing to get rich or famous, we’re just doing it, and appreciate our genuineness.

Ben: This was strange because we totally started with just a small group of people knowing about us, sort of almost word of mouth, and we’ve expanded and kept that feeling and those people probably feel that we’re an underground band and we feel that. For example one week in October 2012 we were Triple J’s featured album where they play a song every hour every day, all day for a week, off our new album – and that’s another breakthrough, mainstream radio. And we’re not a radio band. So we seem to have some crossover sound where we are heading but at the same time accessible to people. Parkway Drive is like Byron Bay: original, successful and hard to put in a box - Rusty Miller.


Ray: I saw the change. I remember one weekend Ben said to me: ‘Dad, something really strange happened last night. The whole front section was filled with girls. Before it was nearly exclusively a male-dominated thing, just for guys. Then suddenly girls were up front, they came on board.’ And I said from this moment on you’ll be moving closer towards the mainstream thing. And it wasn’t long before they attracted six thousand kids up

at the Riverstage, Brisbane. There is now a wider audience than just the hard-core secretive little society that’s been watching it before.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. Anonymous

Have you not seen how the cafes in town are chock-full of talkers? Now that’s something new. Even the ubiquitous iPad loses its power to entrance among serious habitues. Byronites enjoy getting together to talk, not to fiddle with screens. And to share ideas, to pinch themselves, moreover, for all being here at the same time. Now that’s a confluence! If there’s one disorder that people suffer from in Byron, however, then I’m afraid it’s a sense that they are living in god’s half-acre, awash in lotus blossoms, and wondering where Shangri-La got its name. Doesn’t Byron Bay claim such a title as its own, they ask? Self-satisfaction is often worn here like a badge. That’s not the worst of crimes. After all, Byron is different. It is allowed to be. No councillor or civic dignitary would dare suggest that the place should join the rest of Australia,

fly the flag, or sing the national anthem. I’ve actually met people who didn’t watch a day of the Olympics for fear of joining in the triumphalism of gold medals and tears-on-tap, simply because they believe that coming last is a triumph in itself! Now, finally, I am one of that crowd myself. I revel in the oddity of the place, and in its bid to make eccentricity into a shared experience, a gnome at the bottom of the garden. Can you ever go to a cinema like Pig Flicks at the Arts Factory to see a film (probably in Swahili or French), and be told with glorious indifference that they’ve run out of choc-top ice creams? Marvelous: what you crave for in Byron is forever out of reach. Let’s face it, the region is the ultimate escape artist. James Cowan is the author of more than 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction. He was awarded the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his novel A Mapmaker’s Dream. For his work among indigenous peoples he also received an honorary doctorate from Grand Valley State University, USA. He lives in Bangalow.

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Parisian elegance would not appear to be out of place as they strut their stuff downtown. In Byron, everyone is a flaneur, it seems.

Group Bookings available

Byron Bay Surf Festival Photo: Mike Jahn

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A depth of past TAYLOR MILLER

I needn’t sell you this place, evidently you have come here already and picked up Rusty’s Byron Guide, else, you have found these pages someplace else in the world and piqued a curiosity of your own accord. I’ll colour you a little more. Byron Bay, including its vast surrounding region, holds great allure, but by no means is it perfect. It is a strange and transient place at the best of times, and it too battles with development, expense and resources such as most other Australian coastal tourist towns. Here exists a constant push pull between tremendously passionate residents and an ever-rising visitor population; many of which bring great economy and enjoyment, others whom use or disrespect what they came here for.

crawled with sharks. The dairy factory that used to be here hosted men tough and steely who woke up at sunrise to work long hard days as opposed to a morning Yoga routine. The stretch of dune between Tallows Beach and Broken Head was bare and soiled having been mined six times over. The town sergeant was a tough man who in the early days was known to forcibly cut meandering surfers’ hair and send them home on the train (which no longer exists due to state government cuts). The hills were beautiful though, quiet clean and

The Indigenous name for Cape Byron, ‘Cavanbah’, means meeting place and it refers not only to the ocean and land, north and south winds, but also the spirits and people who come here. People are drawn to this place for its magnetic allure, the energy that radiates from the soil belt surrounding Mt. Warning and the surrounding ocean. They say however, you come here to meet, to heal and to reconnect. If you stay too long, you go crazy. And hell it’s true. That Byron has always been a melting pot of alternative peoples, living the bohemian lifestyle reminiscent of the 1970s is a myth. The longhaired surfers and city runaways, that came to the Northern Rivers to live off the land and reject the mainstream, fashioned the place for a consciously minded and different thinking people. I believe this way of thinking is still present today. This era also seeded what is now the nouveau and groovy latte sipping Byron clique. There are however, forgotten eras beforehand. At one time Byron stunk of rotting meat scraps from cattle or whales. The sea ran red and it 46

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Neither power nor wealth, only Art and Science will endure. Tycoon Brahe

Astronomer & Mathematician

tranquil. Meat and dairy farmers lived simply, and for their companies or families rather than selves. Things were cheap and until quite recently, the streets of Byron, Bangalow or Mullumbimby were thin and dusty. A local dairy farmer in Coorabell tells me that on a weekend you could shoot a rifle down the street and not a soul would notice nor care. Lismore was the regional centre with its river and supplies. And before then was a dense belt of incredible, rich coastal rainforest crawling with critters and birds and dripping wet. That was logged early in the 20th century; you can still drive down the old shoots where they rolled the logs down the ridge – Coopers Shoot, Possum Shoot, Skinners Shoot. The Wategos family had a farm down by the beach and to get from here to town ran a long windy road, seemingly ages out of town. Now we zip back and forth willy nilly to swim there with its nice lawns and swanky houses perched atop.

Taylor Miller is a 25 year old born and bred Byron Bay surfer. She has been in the editorial collective of Kurungabaa journal of the sea since 2008, when she began studying at Sydney University. Based in Byron currently, she is known to take off travelling to find more adventure further afield.


So much change has occurred here in an extraordinarily short period of time, and it’s

created a buzz about the place. The people who live here adapt how they can – most take it within their stride and others resent new ways. Nonetheless we remain beautiful and unique to the rest of Australia, and with time for one another. When challenges come – economical, social or environmental (such as the threat of current Coal Seam Gas mining proposals in the area) we function well as a community to do the right thing for quality of life and earth because these surrounds are what affect daily lives and future generations. We may not always win but we at least attempt to live the way we want to and maintain what is right and healthy. Consider what you enjoy about the Bay region, approach it with care and curiosity, and acknowledge a depth of past not only what appears at its surface.

Quality Builders Award Winning Architect Designs Renovations, Alterations & Insurance Builders Contact Darren Paxton 0412 497 637

24hr Emergency Call Out : 1300 095 393 47 ByronGuide2013 (original) GbH.indd 47

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facts about byron shire TRICIA SHANTZ

There is a lot said and written about the Byron Shire, but the perception is much different than the reality. I think one of the most common perceptions is about its population. The Byron Shire resident population at 2011 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census was just 29,209. It’s still a small place by any standards. The adjoining shires of Tweed, Lismore and Ballina are all much larger than Byron. It is swamped by visitors, estimated to be 1.4 million in 2011. Byron Shire Council estimates that there are 2,982,000 visitor nights/year (Byron Shire Council Draft Community Strategic Plan 2011/12-2020/2). While Byron Bay captures much of the attention there is more to the Shire than this one town. There are many localities each with its own character: Mullumbimby, Suffolk Park, Bangalow, Ocean Shores, South Golden Beach, New Brighton, Billinudgel, Brunswick Heads. And, then there is the rural hinterland: Coorabell, Possum Creek, Federal, Goonengerry, Wilsons Creek, Main Arm, The Pocket, Huonbrook, Myocum, Ewingsdale, Broken Head. The Shire’s

individualism, and collective consciousness, is what sets it apart from other places. There are so many communities within communities in Byron Shire. There is no ‘one’ Byron. Perhaps there never really was. It’s been many things from the beginning: Bundjalung nation, port for the cedar logs to be shipped to Sydney and overseas, a whaling station, dairy farms, hobby farms, holiday destination, alternative lifestyles, a surfer’s paradise. Maurice Ryan’s book Time and Tide explains that Byron has always been ‘a place of booms and busts’. No one industry has survived intact for very long. In addition to the residents and visitors are the short-term stay people; the people who come to Byron for 3-6 months to learn English, the backpackers who stay for summer, the city dwellers

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When did saving bankers become more important than saving a country? John Ralston-Saul

and needs ‘driveway service’ to refill the window washers.) I thought the car was beautiful but it was so big! I asked Nev what it was like parking ‘her’ in those tight Byron CBD parking spots. ‘Why would you want to do that?’ he snarled. ‘You know,’ I replied meekly, ‘to go shopping’. ‘She’s never been parked in those sort of spots. And she shouldn’t have to.’ He said. ‘I just park out of town and walk. He shook his head disdainfully at my husband and I knew he was wondering what sort of wimpy bloke would put up with a wife like me!

Moya Sayer-Jones is a writer and filmmaker. She has worked across all media but is best known for her comedy. (Moya was the original Modern Guru in the SMH Good Weekend magazine.) She now consults with business and nonprofit organisations to make the most of new media using creative approaches.

Without saying a word, he pressed the remote control and the roller door began to open again. The inspection was over. No matter how much Nev needed the money, there was obviously no way he was selling his pride and joy to careless people like us. The next day we gave up on style and bought a new wagon instead. We were disappointed but at least I knew Nev wouldn’t forget us quickly. The oil stain our jalopy had dumped on his driveway would see to that!


That’s when my son jumped in the back seat, slamming the door behind him and Nev took control. He said he’d had the car twenty-eight years and it had never been treated like that.

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bury my heart in byron bay

The Day of The Dead is a major public holiday in Mexico where the streets come alive with families dressed as ghosts and skeletons, the departed are honoured, lots of food and drink is consumed and everyone has a great time. It is a festival that can even make death look like fun. The mish-mash we have inherited to celebrate the first of November is a combination of things. Original pagan festivals of the dead evolved into the Catholic holiday of All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day. All Hallows’ Eve was observed on October 31st as a Christian holiday but it also had pagan roots in Samhain, or Summers End. All Hallows’ Eve has morphed into the modern commercial version of ‘trick or treat’ Halloween. It has crossed the Pacific and spread its confection through most Australian suburbs. My five-year-old, like any child, loves the opportunity to overdose on sugar so it looks like this corrupted version of the original South American carnival is here to stay.

funeral ceremony and make the process part of a ritual. A successful funeral needs to honour the dead, heal the living and invite in the divine.

Photo: Myriam Frank


As the baby-boomer generation goes through each stage of life, they adapt it to suit their sensibilities. Last year the eldest of the ‘Me Generation’ moved into retirement and we are now seeing agedcare facilities change to accommodate their demands. The next phase will be the journey into the unknown and all indications are Boomers will wish to redo the big exit to make it different from how the previous generation did it.

The confusion in how we celebrate this particular ritual is also seen in how we now interact with death and dying. Over the last century, western societies gradually removed death as part of life and tried to keep it behind closed doors. A whole funeral industry established itself so we do not have to deal with the unpleasant fact that we will all die one day. The downside of this is the inability of many people in a secular society to be intimately involved with a loved one’s death process and their funeral. The Natural Death Centre is a not-for-profit organisation based in Byron Bay. It is attempting to reintroduce a more user-friendly way of doing death, dying and body disposal. They provide information and assistance to people wishing to have a DIY-style funeral. As well the side advantage of saving money, it helps family members and loved ones take ownership of the 54

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Everything should be as simple as possible but not simpler.


Another interest of the Natural Death Centre is in the area of body disposal. Green burial is a growing trend around the world and is well established in the UK. This involves finding an appropriate piece of barren or degraded grazing land and rezoning it as a cemetery. Instead of erecting shrines and headstones, trees are planted on the grave and the landscape is gradually regenerated into parkland or natural bush. Small markings are allowed in some burial grounds but usually graves are found through a GPS system. Some council-run cemeteries are putting smaller parcels of land aside for this style of burial. This is a start, but the growth in demand will soon require larger areas of land. The rolling green hills around Byron Bay, after being stripped of hardwood, became productive grazing land for dairy cattle. The cost of the land means agriculture today is mainly sustainable only as a part of a pretty rural view. It seems plausible that many people who come here to holiday or retire would also be happy to come here to be composted.

In the USA, The Green Burial Council is an organisation that assists partnerships and individuals wishing to convert, lease or donate their land for green burial. This is also possible here in Australia and the Natural Death Centre is looking at ways to facilitate this. It is a simple and cost-effective way to combine body disposal with land conservation. Cremation, which is by far the most popular method to date, is convenient but does have some environmental negatives. So the next time November rolls around you can ponder on two of life’s certainties. The first is that the 1st of November is celebrated and ritualised in a number of ways. The other certainty, as well as taxes, is that you and your loved ones have a variety of choices available to you when the time comes to shuffle off this mortal coil. Michael Murray is a property buyers agent, mortgage broker and long-term resident of Byron Bay. He is on the board of the Natural Death Centre and interested in developing a green burial cemetery in the region.

Byron Bay

• Buyers Agent • Vendors Advocate • Mortgage Broker “We’ll get you settled”


Photo: Myriam Frank


Michael Murray

Mob: 0428 555 501 • Ph: 02 6684 1744 55 ByronGuide2013 (original) GbH.indd 55

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Byron Guide Directory 2013

phone (02)


ACCOMMODATION ArtsFactory Lodge 1 Skinners Shoot Rd

6685 7709

Bayview Beachfront Apartments 22 Bay St

6685 7073

Byron at Byron Resort & Spa 77–97 Broken Head Rd 6639 2000 9

Byron Luxury Houses 59 Shirley St

6685 6139 0404 875 075

Cape Byron Headland Reserve

6685 6552

Feros Village Marvell St – aged/respite care

6685 7676

Friday On The Beach 45 Lawson St

6685 6373

Julian’s Apartments 124 Lighthouse Rd

6680 9697

Main Beach Backpackers Cnr Lawson & Fletcher Sts

1800 150 233 6685 8695

North Coast Holiday Parks

6686 5171

Peppers Coorabell Resort Newes Road, Coorabell

6684 7348

Suffolk Park Holiday Park Alcorn St

6685 3353

Tallow Beach Motel 108 Alcorn St, Suffolk Park

6685 3369

The Park Hotel 223 Broken Head Rd, Suffolk Park www.parkhotel/

6685 3641

The Garden Burees of Byron Bay 17 Gordon St next to Arts Factory

6685 5390





Byron Bay Rainforest Resort 39–51 Broken Head Rd


For more accommodation selections see also: Real Estate

ARTS & PHOTOGRAPHY Creative Tattoo 11 Fletcher St

6685 5799


David Young Photographer

0428 187 025

Ming Nom Chong Photography

0410 682 090


6680 8234


Museagency Studios Simon Greaves & Gyan Sharky’s Tattoo 103 Jonson St Tao Jones Photography

0422 614 245 57

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Byron Guide Directory 2013

phone (02)


ATTRACTIONS/ACTIVITIES/TRAVEL/TOURS Airport Shuttle Bus - Xcede Byron Bay Ballooning Tyagarah Airport

6620 9200 1300 889 660 0414 558 794


Byron Bay Bluesfest 2013 @ Tyagarah from 28th March - 1st April

6685 8310


Byron Bay Golf Club 62 Broken Head Road

6685 6470


Byron Bay Weddings

6684 7260

Byron Bay Writers’ Festival 2013 Level 1/28 Jonson St August 2–4

6685 5115


Byron Car Hire at Byron Service Station at railway crossing

6685 6638


Byron Taxis & Limousines 24/7

6685 5008

Byron Visitors Centre Behind the bus stop

6680 8558

Cape Byron Headland Reserve Visit Australia’s Most Easterly Point

6620 9300

Cape Byron Marine Park

6620 9300

Crystal Castle Monet Dr, Montecollum

6684 3111


Macadamia Castle Pacific Hwy, Knockrow

6687 8432


North Byron Events Bayshore Dve

6685 5152


Palace Cinemas 108 Jonson St

6680 8555


Pighouse Flicks Byron Lounge Cinema. Skinners Shoot Rd

6685 5828

Rusty Miller Personalised Surfing Instruction

6684 7390 0428 847 390


0412 497 637


6684 2644


BUILDING Arcbuild Pty Ltd Specialising in architect-designed residences Contact: Darren Paxton

DENTAL Mullumbimby Dental Centre 100 Stuart St, Mullumbimby



Direct Lingerie & Swimwear 182 Centennial Cct, Arts & Ind Est

6680 8512

Driftlab 40 Jonson St 16 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar. See Facebook

6680 9869 6687 0751


Goddess of Babylon 4/1 Acacia St, Arts & Ind Est

6680 9606


Girl Overboard swimwear 2/7 Lawson St

6680 9550


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Byron Guide Directory 2013

phone (02) page

Ibiza Lingerie Shop 3, Byron St

6685 8868


Lingerie Drawer Feros Arcade, 3/2 Lawson St

6685 7733


Tupelo Boutique 3/33 Jonson St

6685 6911


Surf, Dive & Ski Byron Bay, 30 Jonson St.

6680 9222


VSTR 15 Lawson St

6680 8280


Bay Seafood Market Shop 7 cnr Lawson/ Fletcher Sts

6685 5660


Bangalow Espressobar & Pizza cnr Station & Deacon Sts

6687 1271

Bun Coffee 4/1a Banksia Dve

6680 9798

Byron at Byron Restaurant 77–97 Broken Hd Rd

6639 2111


Byron Bay Chicken Shop 3 - 31 Lawson St. opposite Aquarius Backpackers

6685 7688


Byron Bay Premium Brewery 1 Skinners Shoot Rd @The Arts Factory

6685 5833


Byron Bay Services Club & Pandanus Room, Jonson St

6685 6878


Byron Farmers’ Market Byron, Butler St, Thurs morning Bangalow, Sat morning

6687 1137


Earth ’n’ Sea Pizza Cnr Fletcher & Byron Sts

6685 6029


Fig Tree Restaurant & Rooms 4 Sunrise Lane, Ewingsdale

6684 7273


Fish Mongers Bay Lane, behind Beach Hotel

6680 8080


Italian at the Pacific 2 Bay St, adjoining Beach Hotel

6680 7055


Legend Pizza Jonson St, Shop 1. Woolies Plaza

6685 5700


Luscious Garden Cafe 1/6 Tasman Way Arts & Ind Est

6680 8228


Mac’s Store 26a Bangalow Rd,

6685 6809


O-Sushi authenic Japanese cuisine, Woolies Plaza, Jonson St also in Coolangatta

6685 7103


Pass Cafe Brooke Drive

6680 8028


Peppe Pizza Santos Organic 51 Burringbar St Mullum 105 Jonson St, Byron Bay; 3/7 Brigantine St, Arts & Ind Est

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0404 508 041


6684 3773 6685 7071




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phone (02)


Slice Pizzeria Shop 5 Cavanbah Arc beach end Jonson St

6680 9357


The Cellar 4 Lawson St & Woolworths Plaza also at Byron St, Bangalow

6685 6455 6687 1262


The Park Hotel 223 Broken Head Rd, Suffolk Park www.parkhotel/

6685 3269


The Top Shop cnr Massinger & Carlyle Sts

6685 6495


Town 33 Byron St, Bangalow

6687 2555


Trevor Mead’s Quality Meats 27 Jonson St

6685 6583


Why Not Cafe/ Restaurant 18 Jonson St

6680 7994


Bangalow Rug Shop 11 Byron St, Bangalow

6687 2424


Byron Bay Newsagency 47 Jonson St

6685 6424

Byron Photo Magic 4/108 Jonson St, The Plaza

6685 5877


Eco Furniture 14 Banksia Dr, Arts & Ind Est

6680 8655



Eden at Byron Garden Centre 140 Bangalow Rd 6685 6874 46 Ixtlan jewellery/gifts 7 Jonson St

6685 6976


Focus Crafts Beach end Jonson St

6685 7437


Mary Ryan Books 21-25 Fletcher St.

6685 8183


Rocks art and decor Shop 4-13 Lawson St. Byron Arcade

6685 5505


Turning Point Book

6684 7390


Tequila Sunnies Byron Arcade, 13 Lawson St

6685 6033



Ananta Yoga 144 Jonson St.

0414 969 187

Ben Ormond

0401 375 900

The Buttery PO Box 42, Bangalow

6687 1111

College of Neuro-Training/Kinesiology Jennifer Beasley Suite 3/Level 1/Strand Arcade 74-Molesworth St, Lismore

6622 1514

Deep Tissue & Relaxation Massage Russell Varcin & Associates, Lennox Head and Byron Bay. By appointment only.

6687 5588 6685 6030

Feros Care

6685 7676

Kachina Hair 13 Lawson St, Byron Arcade

6685 5339

The Spa & Wellness Centre Byron at Byron, 77–97 Broken Hd Rd

6639 2110


49 9

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phone (02)


OPTOMETRIST Byron Bay Eyecare Stephen Brady, 6 Lawson St

6685 7025

PRINT, MEDIA & COMPUTERS Bay FM Community Radio Tune in on 99.9 FM.

6680 7999

Byron Bay Interactive Web marketing

6687 1594


Byron Shire Echo Village Way, Mullumbimby & Unit 5, 6 Tasman Way Byron Arts & Ind Est /

6684 1777 6685 5222


Lightforce Apple Mac Service/Sales 3/84 Centennial Cct, Arts & Ind Est

6685 8796


Rusty’s Byron Guide PO Box 851, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481 /

6684 7390

REAL ESTATE 6685 4039


Byron Property Search

6684 1744


Ray White Byron Bay 15 Fletcher St

6685 6222


Bank of Queensland (BOQ) Shop 6 Bogarts on Byron cnr Byron and Fletcher Sts

6639 7600


Byron Community Centre 69 Jonson St

6685 6807

Byron Service Station at the Railway crossing, NRMA

6685 6638


0421 422 645



TS Consultants Social Planning PO Box 851 Byron Bay, Social Geographer / Planning / Research Uncle Byron Bay - helping boys become men


Byron Beach Realty Shop 7, Suffolk Park Village

6680 8582

SOLICITOR Ramsey Moloney 1/6 Jonson St, Fax: 6685 6516

6685 6400


SURFING C Skins 12/10 Lawson St

0412 081 546 30

Surf Dive and Ski 14 Jonson St

6685 7819


Black Dog Surfing

6680 9828


Munro Surfboards 29 Acacia St, Arts & Ind Est

6685 6211


Rusty Miller Personalised Surfing Instruction

6684 7390 0428 847 390


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Photo: David Young

Rusty’s Byron Guide is actively reducing its carbon footprint and has been verified by Coolplanet as achieving a high standard of environmental practice. © Byron Guide. While the publisher has made all reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this publication at the time of printing, the publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have occurred. All original design and artwork remains the property of the publisher and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the written permission of the publisher.

LOCAL MARKETS: 1st Sunday: Byron Bay - 4th Sunday: Bangalow - 3rd Saturday: Mullumbimby - 6684 3370 Saturdays: Byron Artisan (summer eve only)


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FARMERS’ MARKETS: Tuesdays - New Brighton: Thursdays - Byron: Fridays - Mullumbimby Saturdays - Bangalow: www.byronfarmersmarket

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Police • Ambulance • Rescue • Fire Brigade

LOCAL SERVICES Police Station Marine Rescue Byron Bay Hospital Mullumbimby Hospital Byron Bay Community Centre

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6685 9499 6680 8417 6685 6200 6684 2266 6685 6807

Byron Bay Library Byron Shire Council George the Snakeman Byron Bay Visitor Centre NRMA

6685 8540 6626 7000 132222 / 5454 6680 8558 132 132

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contents What’s going on? - Rusty Miller........................................................... 8 Shaping our future - Kerry O’Brien................................................... 12 Living in paradise - Dylan Wiehahn................................................... 16 Going to town - Katrina Katani............................................................ 18 Food for life - Janella Purcell................................................................ 20 Finding the line - John Ralston Saul................................................. 22 A sea of change - Marcello Sano........................................................ 26 A young culture - Chad Kolcze............................................................ 30 Dream catcher - Libby Caskey............................................................. 36 Fame in the park - A talk with Ben & Ray Gordon.................... 40 Byron Bay mon amour - James Cowan........................................... 44 A depth of past - Taylor Miller............................................................ 46 Facts about byron shire - Tricia Shantz......................................... 48 A new car - Moya Sayer-Jones............................................................ 52 Bury my heart in Byron Bay - Michael Murray............................ 54 Directory........................................................................................................... 57 Map & emergency numbers................................................................... 63 Editor/Publisher: Rusty Miller Production: Tricia Shantz Art Director: Jodie Clowes Printing: Geon Group p: 02) 6684 7390 m: 0428 847 390 e: Cover photo top: Rusty Miller Cover photo bottom: Tao Jones Cover poem ‘Days’: Phillip Larkin

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what’s going on? RUSTY MILLER with Tricia Shantz

A walk between where I park next to Why Not cafe and the Byron Bay Post Office on Jonson Street and back on any given day can be a grand experience and an uplifting of spirit. Just when I was cynically thinking our town was being run over by way too many visitors and making me feel like throwing up my hands in surrendered mindset, my series of brush-ups with people turns my mood around and moves my emotional state to elation. In that few hundred metres, I reflect that my several encounters with people along the trail somehow represents 40-odd years of built-up relationships and experiences I’ve had in this place of Byron Shire. And although so much has happened and physically changed in this length of streetscape Byron has kept its magic for me and others because it has always been about the people and the experiences you have with them, whether you are a visitor or a resident. On this particular day I run into a half-dozen Byron pools of vibrant new and old energy upon the street: the surfing manager of a shop in town who always so politely does not stop listening to me about the thrill I had this morning as I was teaching, pushing beginners into little reformed waves, inside at the Pass, while also watching a group of 12-year-old kids trading waves just outside, hooting and laughing and freeform dancing and playing on the relatively uncrowded newly arrived east swell. He replies about the positiveness of the youth here when they are focused on waves and attended to and cared for. Then just doors along the street I turn into a new shop full of paintings and sculptures, discovering all the combinations of art pieces that made a new synergy of feelings that reminds me how infinite, refreshing and new art can be. I keep up my motion, thinking I will never get to my destination of checking the mail at the post office. But just then I have to halt slightly as I 8

am overhearing and watching – without being noticed – the serving lady at the milk bar talking to an English girl, maybe in her mid-20s, saying: ‘especially coming out of a failed relationship, Byron is a great place to heal… everyone is very friendly and forgiving, good place to work on your diet change and life change too… cool’. She replies, ‘there are lots of assuring genuine people here and they are not afraid to smile. This is a gentle landing place.’ This is a flipside from the city where many people have come from. To have been here a long time and see all the changes and see that, despite all the baloney and hype and warped perceptions circulated about this place, there still is living strongly a spirit and feeling of the real things here. In 1973 I published the Byron Express a monthly newspaper. The first Byron Guide my wife Tricia and I worked on in the summer of 1983–1984 was with the Chamber of Commerce. In 1983 Byron Bay was devastated by the closure of its main employer, Walkers Meat Works. Over 300 people from a town of 3000 lost their jobs. This was the end of the primary-industry era for the shire. The shire council took up the mission to reposition itself to attract visitors to enjoy our abundance of natural resources. The seminal publication, commissioned by Council still referred to but mostly forgotten, was Keeping Byron Unique. It was a significant turn towards what we would become. On an exchange program a federal government bureaucrat, the late Michael Malloy, came to work as the first tourism marketing officer. As with everything he turned his hand to it, was successful, as was his promotion of Byron.

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Rustys Byron Guide 2013  
Rustys Byron Guide 2013  

The Original Byron Bay Guide - 30 Years in Publishing People, Politics and Culture