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Byron Shire
June 16, 2021

Swift’s fierce indignation

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David Morris, Byron Bay

Jonathan Swift, who, in Gulliver’s Travels, coined the exquisite term ‘Yahoo’, wrote his own epitaph. It is inscribed in Latin on a wall in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, where he was Dean. The great Irish poet Yeats translates it: ‘Swift has sailed to his rest/ Savage indignation there/ Cannot lacerate his breast…’ Here, in supposedly idyllic Byron Bay, I have found increasing identification with Swift’s fierce indignation. Friends tell me that the bypass works, and it has eased the previous traffic problems. Maybe so; happy the vehicle drivers. But I feel it is still a modern environmental eyesore, a blot on the area. Now that it is filling up with traffic it grows noisier. From my own aspect, it is now a dangerous highway for crossing pedestrians. Although some youth, ‘hot and void of care’, frolic around, and on it, with careless abandon… skateboards, bicycles etc.

After the interminable inconvenience of the wretched bus station construction, now that it is open, we see that it often doubles as the skateboard-and-cycle-cross arena for local ‘Yahoos’. Well, like much of the town really.

Regardless of the provenance of its garden vegetation, the Yahoos on electric motorbikes were ripping it up the other night, before tooling around on the bypass. That fine expanse of brickwork and concrete, devoid of shade will, I predict, bake in the hot sun of summer. 

That it is brightly lit now simply gives theatrical illumination to the scenes that unfold there regardless. Most were predicted long ago by objectors.

I see in the Council newsletter, apart from its lauding of the ex-mayor for his making some tough decisions (que?), that there is intention to make Skinners Shoot more ‘traffic friendly’. I can predict that the effect of that will be to further increase reckless speeding along that road. That ought to be a pleasant walk through an almost natural environment; but I feel some trepidation each time I attempt it. 

I will add, once again, that I believe the contemporary developments here are destroying the whole character of the town and its community here. I often wonder just how many developments here – those that promise big bucks for a minority – ever get refused?

But these are the tough decisions, I suppose…


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Cartoon of the week – 16 June, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

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