Trips to Byron Bay always terrified me.
I’m talking quite some time back, and it was nothing to do with the traffic, alternative life style people or anti-vaxxers.
No, back in the 60s’ Byron Bay was a working man’s town, with a meat works, dairy factory and whaling station. (One of my wife’s first jobs was working in the office of the dairy factory. She would catch the train from Bangalow, where her parents had a dairy farm).
The car trip into Byron, across the Cumbewin Swamp plains, was depressing.
Then there was the viewing platform at the whaling station, where you could watch the whales being slaughtered, as sharks waited out to sea for the remains. (I think some of those sharks’ descendants come back every year to see what morsels they can gather).
While driving to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, my father, Jon would terrify us kids with tales of a car that went over the cliffs, with a stack of people inside, and there were only one or two survivors. (The story was always told while we were close to the cliff edge).
Many years later, my wife, Marie and I had a weekend at Byron, courtesy of The Courier-Mail.
I had to sing for my supper by writing a travel article, so I mentioned my childhood experiences.
Well, you wouldn’t believe it, one of the survivors of that car crash rang me to say she had got over it, mentally and physically, and now worked in real estate at Kallangur, north of Brisbane. So dad wasn’t making the story up.
I think I terrified our own kids with the yarn, when we had our first holiday at Byron Bay in 1987, staying in an apartment near lovely Clarkes Beach.
That’s something I should regret, but it didn’t turn the kids off Byron Bay. In fact, our youngest boy, Lliam chose Byron Bay for his wedding.
Photo: Jon Ricketts