It’s always been ‘the Bay’ and that will do me

An aerial shot of Byron Bay. For many, it’s still ‘The Bay’.
An aerial shot of Byron Bay. For many, it’s still ‘The Bay’.
Are those of us who refer to Byron Bay as ‘The Bay’ and then getting perhaps a little bit snooty with those who call it ‘Byron’, just a tad precious about it?

Are we, as David Gilet intimated in a letter to the editor in last week’s Byron News, living in the past?

Is it ‘provincial’ and ‘parochial’, as David claimed, to still call Byron Bay ‘The Bay’?

He reckoned it would have been fair enough years ago when people’s parameters were basically limited to their own region.

But these days, he argued, Byron Bay was an internationally known tourist destination and, although he didn’t say it, in those circles, the town certainly wouldn’t be referred to as ‘The Bay’.

Well, I’ll put my hand up on this issue and like Cicely Reid, another letter writer on the issue in last week’s Byron News, would like to see the tradition continue.

Indeed, I actively encourage it’s use and gently chide those who refer to the town as ‘Byron’. (Shudder, shudder.)

I well remember reading sports reports in the little A4 Byron News when I first came to the town 25 years ago and many of them invariably ended with the line, ‘Go The Bay’.

And it still happens today. It’s a tradition. Part of the town’s culture. Go to the footy and what do spectators scream out? ‘Go the Bay’ of course.

Indeed, it’s almost like a secret Masonic handshake when the words ‘The Bay’ are dropped into a conversation.

It’s an instant indication that the person you are speaking to has been around for a while and not a five-minute blow-in. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Being a blow-in that is. Most of us are these days.

But I look at this way: this town accepted me and my family and I fully took on its traditions.

I asked our mayor, Jan Barham, whether we were all just a bit precious about the whole thing.

She said we were. Ouch.

Jan said she called the town different things at different times – The Bay, Byron Bay, Byron.

And she reckoned it was very ‘Byron’ to do the same thing differently. A touch of that well-known ‘Byron’ quirkiness.

Some people just didn’t care what the town was called, others took it very seriously, she said.

Jan didn’t mind how people referred to the town, as long as they did it with respect and affection.

That’s fair enough. But I’m sticking with tradition.

Which means there are no prizes for guessing what the last line in this piece is going to be.

Go The Bay . . .

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