Celebrations move to Bangalow

A tradition stretching back more than 20 years will come to an end next month when the official Byron Shire Australia Day celebrations will move from Mullumbimby to Bangalow.

Byron Council voted for the change after the Brunswick Valley Historical Society, which has organised and staged the event at its Mullumbimby museum site since 1985, said it didn’t have the numbers to take on the job next year.

However, the Bangalow Historical Society said it would be more than willing to stage the official ceremony in 2010.

The society said it would be possible to hold the official ceremony in the A & I Hall, with lunch being served in the Moller Pavilion and entertainment on the showground oval.

Australia Day ceremonies at Mullumbimby in recent years have attracted big crowds to witness citizenship ceremonies, community awards and Australia Day addresses.

Former long-serving secretary of the Brunswick Valley Historical Society, Robyn Gray, said the first Australia Day celebrations at the museum were held in 1985 to mark the successful relocation of the old town post office to the site.

Dream

Mrs Gray said the celebrations were fairly informal, but hundreds turned out for a ‘cup of tea and flag raising by the mayor Stan Robinson and a couple of speeches’.

She said the same informal approach was adopted for the next couple of years, with the celebrations really taking off in the Bicentennial year of 1988.

Over the next few years, Australia Day celebrations became firmly established at the museum site and in 1992 a shirewide committee was formed and the official program for the day was developed, she said.

The first Australia Day address was given by Katrina Alidenes, a Year 12 student from Mullumbimby High.

That speech and all others up to 2007 are contained in a book by Mrs Gray called ‘Australia Day Byron Shire’.

She said the dream was to have the main Australia Day celebrations shared across the shire and it would seem that dream had now been realised.

“If Mullumbimby doesn’t want it now, more power to Bangalow,” she said.

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