The dad was king hit from behind while trying to protect his terrified daughter from a gang of about 20 or more young men who had coming running at them screaming, ‘Nimbin, Nimbin’.
He said the gang had surrounded his group in the park adjacent to the Clarks Beach car park and attacked them without warning.
‘Bill’ – he didn’t want his real name used because of reprisal fears – said while his injuries were serious, it could have been a lot worse if police had not arrived at the scene.
“Someone from the units across the road must have called police,” he said.
“It was lucky the police arrived when they did. We were dead.
“These guys were not going to stop. They were not drunk but were fuelled up on something.
“They knew exactly what they were doing. We were in serious trouble. They were not kids, they were going to do some damage.
“It was horrendous. The girls were terrified.”
‘Bill’ said he was speaking out now about the unprovoked attack to alert local residents to be on their guard and alert when they were out at night in the town.
He also wanted to highlight what he believed to be a lack of funding for staffing at Byron Bay Hospital.
He said he believed the gang that had attacked his group had been involved in other attacks in the town.
‘Bill’ said the attack happened shortly after 11 pm on New Year’s Eve.
He said the attackers came in a ‘wave’ from the Lawson Street footpath and they were yelling out ‘Nimbin, Nimbin’.
When they tried to pick fights, Bill said he tried to calm them down by saying, ‘Come on guys, we’re having a family picnic’.
“They kind of backed off a bit, but out of nowhere, as we were packing up and trying to get out of there, they came running back again,” he said.
“I pushed two of them out of the way to protect my daughter. I was hit from behind.
“I staggered and two of the lads with me helped me. My face was busted and there was blood everywhere.”
‘Bill’ said he went to the car park where he straightened his badly broken nose – it was something he had seen done in the movie, Die Hard with a Vengeance – before he was taken by ambulance to Byron Bay Hospital.
With hospital staff overwhelmed dealing with New Year’s Eve revellers and a young girl seriously injured after being hit by a car, ‘Bill’ went home after waiting for more than two hours for treatment.
“I was told there was nobody to see me until early in the morning,” he said.
“Security were literally pushing people out the door. There were people crying out, ‘Help me’. But there was nothing else they (hospital staff) could do.
“It’s not their fault. It’s the level of funding. It’s horrific.”
Byron Bay Police Duty Officer, Inspector Owen King, said police had no specific information about a particular group at Byron Bay.
Inspector King said New Year’s Eve at Byron Bay was extremely busy with seven assaults reported.
The incident outlined by ‘Bill’ was being investigated, he said.
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