You hear of unsung heroes, but you don’t always know them, or meet them.
The unsung heroes, who work on both New Year’s Eve and Day, are nurses, doctors, police, and the ambos and other emergency services.
They are also those who are in bed by 7pm on New Year’s Eve, so they can get up early and turn a trashed tourist town into a clean and welcoming breakfast hub after the partying is over.
Rick Duggan is one of those people. He went to sleep early on Saturday, and donned his high-vis shirt and protective gloves to be on Byron’s streets on Sunday by 3am, January 1.
This year, Rick, with a team of Council workers, said town was surprisingly clean. He said, ‘Yes, it was a mess, and there was a lot of rubbish, but it was far better than any previous year that I’ve seen.’
Rick said the end result of the post-party streets, parks and beaches clean-up is up to the workers’ discretion – but they try to make it as clean as possible. Rick also feels that in recent times people are being more considerate about what they do with their rubbish.
‘It’s unusual for New Year’s Eve because it’s always just full on – but Boxing Day down here was shocking. There was a big party on the beach and they just let go.’
Rick said he would probably nap for an hour or two when he got home and that New Year’s Day would continue as usual.
But, there’s something else special about Rick, who is employed three to four days a week to get things ship-shape in Byron: on the other days, the days he is not ‘working’, Rick and his partner Rosie still get up and are on the beach at 5am to clean from Main Beach to The Pass – voluntarily.
‘I do that in my civvies though. I try to remain incognito.’