Brisbane, QLD

Monday, April 15, 2024


Byron Bay is a famous beach town on the north coast of NSW. It is only a few hours drive from Brisbane. It has beautiful beaches and a rainforest hinterland. There are lots of activities for holiday makers. It is loved by surfers, scuba divers, backpackers and international celebrities. It has amazing restaurants, resorts and million dollar houses. 

In 1770, Captain James Cook named the cape Byron after  Vice Admiral John Byron who sailed around the world in 1764-66. He was Lord Byron the poet's grandfather.

(Photos from website)

However, it hasn't always been like this. In early days it was a timber town, then a meat processing place and a whaling station. When I visited with my parents in 1956 it was a very smelly place but after whaling was banned the town became a camping destination.  

When we visited Byron Bay in 1956 my parents and friends went up close to a whale on a flatbed rail carriage  waiting  to go to the processing factory. It was very smelly. I stayed back and took the photo with my new Brownie box camera.

 In 1985 we took the girls for a camping holiday there. It was a sleepy holiday destination with beautiful scenery. We went swimming, horse riding and played golf but it was all undeveloped, quiet and peaceful.

Later it became a hippy and alternate life style place to be. These people have stayed and introduced yoga and wellness stays. It had huge music festivals although this year festivals have found it hard to survive.

In 1999 we visited Sonya (our daughter) who was living there and working as a barista in between Stage managing theatre productions.

Cape Byron Light was built 1899-1901 and the architect was Charles Harding. It is an active heritage-listed building. It was automated in 1989 and it now has a museum inside giving information about Byron Bay's history and stories of shipwrecks. The view over the township and the beaches is amazing.

In 2015 we stayed again in Byron for a reunion of friends from PNG.  Now we have been to the most easterly point, the most southerly point, the most northerly point and almost to  the most westerly point of the Australian mainland.

Some of our group walked out to the tip of the most easterly point of our continent but not Bill and I (the aging process had started.)
We did do the Lighthouse walk, which was strenuous enough.


  1. Wonderful memories there Diane. It's an odd town in my book. Last time we were there you wouldn't give two hoots for the place, the roads were dreadful and the streets were looking rather drab and dirty, such a shame, however, way back on our first visit hardly a soul about, went to the lighthouse and walked etc...beautiful beachs though and that's an attraction.

  2. The lighthouse walk looks scenic and vigorous, but I still hope the lighthouse was well worth going to all that effort.

    1. You can drive right up to the lighthouse. The walk down the cliff is just for views and stupid people like us.

  3. SO much beauty...God really knew what He was doing!
    Love the photos...beautiful.

  4. Your description makes it sound like a wonderful place to visit, except I know otherwise as it currently is. Maybe it will become unpopular in the future and a better place to visit. But then I really disliked Surfers Paradise until I stayed there the first time. It was terrific. The tram line made it such a better place to visit.

  5. beautiful beaches and love that lighthouse. you did great with your brownie box, mother had one in 1953, the only camera she ever owned. looking back at a place, any place we visited or lived, the changes are incredible, just like this place

  6. Great to see your photos of the lighthouse and your camping holiday in the 50's. We went to BB a few years ago and were disappointed too, it was very busy, everywhere we wanted to visit we had to pay parking fees if we could even get a car park. We did eventually get to walk around the main shopping area and enjoyed the cafes and did a bit of people watching which was interesting. I think it would have been better back in the 50's and glad you were able to enjoy the old BB.

  7. Diane, Byron Bay looks like a lovely place to visit and thanks for sharing your memories and photos with your back then new Brownie camera. Did you revisit recently?

  8. Never really liked the place - went there with college mates for a term holiday.
    We were a bit naughty and managed to get various alcoholic drinks l
    We were not good drunks!!! Still you live and learn..........little then would I think
    I would live in PNG for 6 years where in the area I lived - Morobe District you
    joined the Bible bashers or the drinking fraternity - I joined the latter!!!
    Ah funny days in the land of the fuzzy-wuzzers.

  9. Looks like a beautiful area with lots of great memories. Thanks for sharing these Diane, your photos are always enjoyable.

  10. The beaches are stunning. It is just a shame that the town is always a traffic jam. Until I was 9, my family lived at Kyogle. I will never forget the day we visited the whaling station. Just gruesome. So wonderful that now we can sit on any coastal headland and watch these magnificent creatures, pass.

  11. Wow, what a historic perpsective on how an area can change. So interesting with our concern for the demise of the whales.

  12. Byron Bay looks a lovely place to visit, many thanks for sharing your memories and photographs.

    All the best Jan

  13. What lovely memories and I am so glad that whaling has been banned. Cheers t'other Diane

  14. Interesting history and how the area has changed over the years.