Peter Duke at Main Beach Byron Bay with his new book, ‘Byron Bay The History, Beauty and Spirit’.
Peter Duke at Main Beach Byron Bay with his new book, ‘Byron Bay The History, Beauty and Spirit’.

Book captures Byron’s beauty

Peter Duke has always been inspired by history and his love of Byron Bay.


“I love hearing and writing about the old times and I’m so inspired by the beauty of this town,” he said.


He first arrived in Byron Bay in 1998 and a year later, the former teacher now turned author started to document the history of the region.


“The research gave me a reason to stay and enjoy all that this beautiful town has to offer,” Peter said.


His passion for life and the town became the driving force for his new book, ‘Byron Bay The History, Beauty and Spirit’, which was launched last night.


It’s a 132-page vibrant collection of stories, extracts and poems with more than 150 black-and-white and colour photos and offers readers a glimpse into Byron Bay and its colourful history.


From the first indigenous settlers, to the timber-getters and farmers, to fishermen and whalers, the surfers and the hippies, the book weaves a rich tapestry of a town that has seen enormous changes, but one that today still remains a special place.


The book is the end result of an earlier project which Peter started in 2005.
 

After compiling a collection of images and history on Byron Bay up to the 1960s, Peter released a CD book called ‘Hundred Years of Imagery and Story’ which was launched at the 2008 Byron Bay Writers Festival.


“It was really well-received and I really wanted to continue researching and writing the history of the town,” Peter said.


“What started out as a project to showcase the beauty of the natural surroundings began to change direction after lengthy discussions with many of the older residents in town.


“I quickly realised that I couldn’t write the book myself, so there are lots of contributors who have written pieces or extracts.


“The book is a collection of powerful words, striking images and the stories told to me by an amazing cross-section of people.”


Renowned Byron Bay author Di Morrissey has written the foreword, and 70 per cent of the photos have been donated.


“It’s been a labour of love and now it’s a big relief that the book is finished,” Peter said.


 “I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope that people, young and old, will too.”


The self-published book is available locally in all three book stores in Byron Bay, as well as at the lighthouse keeper’s cottage at Cape Byron, the Mullumbimby Book Store and online at www.byronbaybook.com.


Price is $59.95.


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