Although I make Brisbane my home, I was raised just south of the border in Brunswick Heads. It's hard to pin-point exactly where I grew up as during my first eighteen years I lived in a few locations around Byron Shire. Sometimes in the hills and sometimes at the beach. But for the most part I'd say Brunswick Heads, or 'Bruns', was my home.
Like many people from BrizVegas, I love to travel south for a visit now and then. But I visit my friends as my family are no longer there. It has now been more then ten years since they left.
In 1972 Byron Shire consisted of two mainstream cultures - 'farmers' and 'hippies'. My parents were of the latter. They tree changed from Sydney before I was born to have a life in the hills. My dad was a hippie/farmer. Is there such a thing? Probably more so now than back then. None the less, the place they migrated to forty years ago was very different to what resides there now. My Dad used to surf at The Pass. There were never more than six surfers out with him.
Nothing stays the same though.
The top pub was sold and renamed The Beach Hotel, Elle MacPherson visited, Brett Whiteley painted it, Paul Hogan bought, two primary schools and one high school, the community battled Club Med, we lost the battle over the bypass, Australia said goodbye to Keating and hello to Howard, and finally a grandchild. Things were very different. The culture of Byron Bay now incorporated 'Dole-bludgers', the 'Yuppie', the 'Artist' and the 'Developer'. Thirty years later and there were too many surfers at The Pass. At least, too many for my Dad.
It was time to go.
A small town was found. One road in, one road out. No roundabouts or traffic lights. I can't even confidently say that I've seen a Zebra Crossing there. A town that hasn't been 'discovered' and so seems lost in transit between its earliest developments of fishing shacks that existed before WWII, and the quintessential Australian brick homes of the last twenty years or so. It is quaint with a character all of its own.
I'd tell you where it is, but I can't. I've been sworn to secrecy. Besides, the surf is terrible.
Instead, I'll trade you a view through my lens.