I also strongly agree with David Gilet and Paul McCarthy on the creeping cancer of increased building heights/heists in Byron CBD, and I have breaking news for David and those concerned with Byron heritage, news which is only 17 years old. In 2003–2004 Byron Shire Council secured a grant of around $130,000 from the State government to conduct a heritage study for the entire Shire, under the direction of a heritage expert, Dr Donald Ellsmore. At this point I must declare an interest, as I was part-time assistant to Dr Ellsmore during that time.
After a comprehensive survey of all parts of the Shire, lasting some 12 months, a report was submitted to Council recommending a list of properties and items to be listed for heritage protection, and presumably that list still exists in Council archives. At the same time, Dr Brett Stubbs from Southern Cross University, was commissioned and paid to produce a Thematic History of Byron Shire. This brief 42-page history was so well written that the heritage committee recommended that it be published by Council and distributed to local school libraries and tourism venues. Two members of Council, Jan Barham and Jan Mangelson, had other ideas.
Because both Jans had quibbles with the Thematic History which verged on the trivial, they refused to support both the publication of the history and to progress the results of the heritage study so that recommended items might receive heritage classification. The upshot was that Thematic History was not published, no heritage items were officially listed at all, and the entire exercise could only be judged a complete waste of time and approximately $130,000 (twice that in today’s money). Those interested in the heritage of Byron might care to access the Council archives, as I am sure all this information is still there. In any event, I retained a copy of all official material submitted to Council, which makes interesting reading, if only for the evidence it provides of what heritage items have already disappeared, because of the bloody-mindedness of two individuals.