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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Frankly 2020…

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The years started with Falls Festival, director Brandon Saul and the festival art curator, Andy Mac. Photo Jeff ‘Falling For You’ Dawson.

2020 was welcomed in the usual way across the country and the idea of having a refreshed 2020 clear vision became a theme for many as we stepped into the second decade of the 21st century – little did we know…

Kelvin Davies surveying the forest at Upper Wilsons Creek. Image supplied.

Locally things were meandering along as usual, the Bruns woodchop turned 60,

Masks and PPE became the new black.

the Northern Rivers chapter of Pflag called it quits and Kylie Minogue was in Byron as part of a PR push to get ‘Poms’ to come and visit the colonies. Little did we even imagine what 2020 was prepping in the coronavirus kitchen. The Northern Rivers and the entire country were still coming to terms with the loss of life and homes and environment as the result of the summer bushfires and all eyes were on how we could begin to rebuild.

Chloe Hart – talented and hardworking chef by day, Your Gourmet delivery driver twice a week during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Kate Holmes.

Protecting koalas became the focus in January as the drop in numbers caused by fires and logging saw populations come under serious threat.

Jason Campbell, Delta Kay and Danny Teece-Johnson will march in solidarity with protesters in America and to highlight the ongoing racism and Aboriginal deaths in custody in Australia. Photo Tree Faerie.

For many people the devastation caused by the fires were the tipping point to be convinced that climate change was a real actual thing, and the numbers at rallies echoed that.

Then things changed – our pages began to look like a clipboard at the end of a hospital bed. Many of the usual stories you would expect to see through a year just stopped, as we came to a screeching halt – as did the country and the world.

Channon Gorge, threatened by proposed Dunoon Dam. Photo David Lowe.

The first confirmed case of coronavirus in Australia was identified on 25 January in Victoria, when a man who had returned from Wuhan, China, tested positive for the virus, it wasn’t until the end of the month that the first cases of coronavirus started to appear on our turf.

Mungo MacCallum. Photo Eve (the other Eve) Jeffery.

As PPE masks became the new black, we forged ahead into 2020.

February saw Claire Oelrichs get an OAM and more COVID-19 and then the dawn of March saw the advent of toilet paper hoarders and lockdown, a word we’d only heard before while watching reruns of prisoner.

The middle of the year became a blur of PINs (Penalty Infringement Notices), Jobkeeper stats and watching the awesome run of National Theatre at home free to view on YouTube.

There were other notable events – of course there were…

The Black Lives Matter movement changed the way some people see Indigenous people in this country, but sadly, some things never change.

Bluesfest, then Splendour, then life as we know it was cancelled.

The Dunnon Dam came, and went with the voice of the Traditional Custodians being the scale tipper for some – but really, who in their right mind would take on the people of the Northern Rivers?

Not so for the people of Narrabri – who could not believe against the weight of public opinion, that the IPC gave the Narrabri Gas Project the green light.

Sadly we lost Dr David Moss, Aileen Pepper, Jesse Blackadder to name a few and The Echo lost our dear Mungo MaCallum.

In 2020 people were still trying to free Julian Assange, still trying to get cannabis off the ‘most wanted’ list and still trying to make people understand that this always was and and always will be Aboriginal land, but no matter what else happened this year, even the demise of the American Cheeto will fall into the shadows as we remember the year that C word gained a whole new meaning.

I think the closing scene of Gone With The Wind, has something for all of us, and the 2020 that was.


SCARLETT: (2020)

Oh, Rhett, Rhett, please don’t say that. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for everything.


My darling, you’re such a child. You think that by saying I’m sorry, all the past can be corrected. Here, take my handkerchief. Never in any crisis of your life have I known you to have a handkerchief.


Where are you going?


I’m going to [insert name of town where you’d rather be, here]. Back where I belong.


Please, please take me with you.


No. I’m through with everything here. I want peace. I want to see if somewhere if there is something left in life with charm and grace. Do you know what I’m talking about?


No. I only know that I love you.


That’s your misfortune.


If you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?

Channon Gorge, near site of proposed Dunoon Dam wall. Photo David Lowe.


Frankly my dear, I don’t give a dam(n).


Be safe in 2021, we love you too much to lose you

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  1. Very very clever commentary as usual and on another bright note, who would have EVER thought whilst other less brave/ less brilliant and downright boring mega newspapers would crumble & the Echo , our countries BEST independent paper would survive in 2020? The world went nuts, a man with yellow hair (or was it a squirrel on his head) wanted to rule the world & things got very kooky. The Echo survived & actually thrived because our community trusts & respects you….that is a love no other paper can claim.Well ! maybe the Nimbin Times ? Thank you one & all at our beloved Echo for not only telling the truth (Wow! that’s rare) but valuing issues & individuals who represent the forces of good and not the forces of darkness. The Eco Warriors, the human rights activists , indigenous activists, social justice advocates & animal rights activists are the real heroes in a community & rarely get the accolades or respect they deserve.


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