The contribution of the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal People for making the land available and efforts of previous council members, including the most recent ex-mayor Jan Barham, were acknowledged at the gala opening of the new Byron Bay Library on Saturday evening.
The current Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson and Ms Barham unveiled the official opening plaque at the library before a gathering of about 130 people including local member for Ballina and minister for local government Don Page, Yvonne Stewart from Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal People, Cameron Morley from NSW State Library, Richmond Tweed Regional Library staff and Byron Bay Friends of the Library, the long-awaited library was celebrated with applause.
‘Under the Indigenous Land Use Agreement, the land on which the new library sits was significantly given to the community as a gathering place for lifelong learning and on behalf of the community, we say thank you to the elders past and present,’ said mayor Richardson. ‘In recognition, the Library features a local studies and Indigenous room to house research and archival material – plus an Arakwal Room that no doubt will grow to be yet another meeting place of significance and feature in history yet to be written.’
Mayor Richardson also thanked the NSW State Library and the NSW government for the $200,000 funding each provided for the construction of the building; and the Byron Bay Friends of the Library who have donated $20,000 for new books and items to the shelves.
The new library opened its doors today to the community at 9.30am and on Saturday, a fun-filled community morning will be held with storytelling, Arakwal performers, face painting, sausage sizzle and a ballet. The morning starts from 9.30am and runs until 1pm.