In response to Brian Mollet’s article : Byron Bay – the new Shire Rome? (4 January), I would argue that the ancient Roman resort city of Pompeii is a much more suitable comparison to our Byron Bay.
Nestled in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in the Bay of Naples, the city was preserved for centuries in ash and debris when the volcano erupted in 79CE. The remains are prime evidence for the lifestyles of the Roman rich and famous. Like Byron, the population was around 11,000 and the streets are full of Hellenised villas, spas, theatres, and bars (with the inhabitants still inside frozen in time).
However, when you search a little farther from the main tourist attractions you will easily discover the rooms of Pompeii’s slaves and lower classes – cramped rooms containing the common items of their precarious existence.
We know from the remaining graffiti and slave revolts (don’t forget Spartacus), that not everyone was happy with the situation.
In the end, the only solution to the housing crisis in Byron will be innovative, creative, collaborative action… or if Mt Warning erupts and levels the playing field.