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Byron Shire
July 1, 2022

The changing face of Lennox Head

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I was thankful for Duncan Dey’s input at the last Council meeting where two representatives spoke in public access...

I’ve been lucky enough – after a five-year hiatus for study and some time overseas – to return to my hometown of Lennox Head for the winter. A lot has changed.

Fortunately, one thing is still the same: the stunning natural beauty which surrounds our little village – something I used to take for granted.

Our family returned to Lennox when I was two years old. My mum’s been here – on and off – for almost fifty years. My family lineage tells a story of over six generations of families living in the Northern Rivers region.

I guess it’s fair to say I have a deep connection to this place. I feel something intangible yet powerful with every homecoming– that beautiful moment as the car swings around the bend past the Point – the panorama of the village of Lennox Head nestled between the towering Norfolk pines;, the slight curve of Seven Mile to the north; the dark and eerie depths of Lake Ainsworth.

No matter how far I go, Lennox always calls me back. I have no doubt that it has profoundly shaped the person I am today.

I mentioned earlier that a lot has changed. Lennox has grown and its small community has welcomed many new faces.

After ten years working periodically in the bottle shop, newsagency, the surf shop and a few cafes I’ve come to know many Lennox locals. During my city stints, every return was inevitably characterised by the friendly run-ins with locals It often took half an hour just to walk the length of the main street.

Eventually I grew tired of the city life and decided to flee the traffic and smog for the temptations of home: clean air and consistent waves

When I returned home in June of this year, a few things caused some concern for me personally.

I grew up surfing at ‘Brockies’ – in front of the carpark at Dress Circle Drive where the always friendly Chris Brock still lives. It’s a place that’s dear to my heart, as I’m sure many Lennox locals have before me.

Now, all of a sudden, my view through to the breaking waves is obstructed by rusting stainless steel railing – the natural aesthetics were dealt a serious blow.

When the wind turned onshore in the summer holidays, my friends and I used to switch our our fibreglass boards for boogieboards and head across the road to the notorious surf club for some ‘shorey-bashing’.

The openness of Seven Mile Beach always conveyed a sense of freedom in my teenage years – kilometres of beach seemingly uninterrupted by our human footprint.

Now, as I walk down onto the beach for an early morning swim, the semi-circle of bright yellow buoys bobbing in that very same shore break are hard to miss.

Not to mention the bits of shark net that have washed up on the beach as far south as the boat channel – I hate to think of the threat these ‘eco-nets’ are causing to our native marine life. (apparently these are now being removed after copious amounts of wasted money).

Sometimes, to escape the summer crowds, we would sneak around the back of the lake for a surf at the ‘dog beach’. Floating on my surfboard in crystal blue water as the winter offshores airbrushed each breaking wave, I would gaze back at the coastal heathland as birds darted in and out of the banksias.

Now I worry that any surf up at the ‘dog beach’ will be marred by a giant 38 metre man-made tower protruding out above the native coastal heath. It will undoubtedly alter any future experience in that part of our town.

In addition to these aesthetic and environmental issues, it’s worth noting a few more: the ugly new black mesh fence installed adjacent to the footpath on the road down from the roundabout to town –surely we can come up with a better alternative?

The metal walkway that was installed on the walking track from the Point over to Boulders beach – can’t we build something that blends into the surroundings better?

I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve almost slipped over a number of times on the slippery steps. I thought Lennox Point was a national surfing reserve?

Can’t we think of more environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing solutions to these issues? I am unsure as to whether there was sufficient community consultation prior to these council works.

If there wasn’t, the issue needs to be addressed. If there was, then maybe those of us who care about these special places didn’t do enough to make our voices heard.

If I have learnt anything in my twenty-five years, it is that change is inevitable. Embracing change is the only positive way forward, but change can’t occur unchecked. he reason people love to visit Lennox Head is surely for its natural appeal.

I reckon people first come to Lennox for its natural beauty and they return thanks to a friendly and welcoming local community.

We owe it to ourselves to safeguard our natural treasures, because they really are all we have. Our iconic places like Lennox Point, Lake Ainsworth, Seven Mile Beach – they need to be cared for.

Even more importantly than what they do for our tourism dollars, these places have shaped the people and the community that we are today.

I love Lennox and I know you all do too. Isn’t it worth protecting the Lennox we all love?

Tom Wolff, Lennox Head

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1 COMMENT

  1. Insightful comments that place the importance of sensibility in our human experience .
    It is the bedrock of any real response to any environement .
    Most people do not have the imagination and curiosity to visualise the future by learning from the present .
    Lennox has become Mc Mansion by the sea now – another paradise lost

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