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Photos from the Past (part one)


It’s funny as you get older, we all seem to have a closer connection to the past. Recently we have posted a selection of historic Byron Bay photos online to an overwhelming response.

This is part one. The majority of the images are from Max Pendergast‘s archive (otherwise noted).

Today, you wouldn’t be able to rent a place at Watego’s for a night for $200, but back in early days, Wategos Beach was considered “too far out of town” and “too expensive”. Just imagine if you owned a piece of land there today after buying it for $200?

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Before Ocean Shores existed! 
Jack Devine’s farm. Photo courtesy of The Wilsons Creek, Huonbrook & Wanganui Historical Record.

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A shot of The Pass during a Cyclone Swell in 1972.

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Looking towards where Cooper St through to Pacific Vista now is, from Mackay or Scott St by the looks of things. No idea on the year sorry…any guesses (this photo is mirrored by the way)?

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This photo above is of Jonson St (the main street in Byron Bay). We are not sure what year it is. You can see the Post Office in the distance which still stands today. The old Community Centre was a Literary Institute.

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An aerial photo of Byron showing the sand mining between Clark’s Beach and town – Photographer Unknown (please let us know if this is your photograph9, circa 1970’s.

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The most common question asked of Max is “Have you lived in Byron Bay all your life?” His laconic reply “Not yet!” Born in the Bay in 1943, Max has been in or on the ocean from the age of eight, swimming, surfing. diving, sailing and fishing. You could call him a true waterman. These interests have enabled him to travel extensively throughout the Pacific and particularly to his beloved Hawaii, where 30 years ago his great friends Rell Sunn and Keoki Puaoi introduced him to the true Hawaiian way of life. Max and his wife Yvonne were the foundation members of the Byron Bay Malibu Club of which they are both life members. Although they both no longer surf competitively, for the past 22 years they have organised and conducted a surf contest in conjunction with the Byron Bay Malibu Classic called “The Future Legends” for kids under 12 years old. Each year Max writes and illustrates a colouring-in book for the contest, mainly aimed at water safety, surf etiquette and the ocean environment, to gently try to educate the kids about the ocean. Still surfing “when it pleases me“ Max admits he is a little slower getting to his feet these days but he is trialing a new board which is a radical version of the Hawaiian Paipo so he can “Lay down surf!” and be more relaxed about it. Likes: Hawaiian music (He has an extensive collection), surfing the Cape, or “Little Beach” as it was always known. Early morning walks on the beach, being with family. The description of “Island time”, “Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe not at all!” Dislikes: Crowds, People who take the ocean for granted, inexperienced people that put peoples lives at stake....There is a saying on one of the islands “A fool and the sea is soon drowned!" We are not fools and we are only drowned sometimes...


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