PICTURED are just some of the tense scenes from the blockade 10 years ago.
PICTURED are just some of the tense scenes from the blockade 10 years ago.

Sunset gathering to mark protest

The tenth anniversary of what became known as The Paterson Hill Blockade will be marked by a sunset gathering on Saturday at the prime coastal scenic site at Byron Bay.

The blockade was the flashpoint of a long campaign by the Paterson Hill Action Group to stop the development by a company called Detala, of 14 houses on heathland on the ocean side of Paterson Street, Byron Bay opposite the water tower.

Very early on the morning of October 28, 1999, a low loader carrying an excavator was seen reversing up Pacific Vista Drive to the planned development site.

Word quickly spread among action group members with an initially small group mounting a blockade on the roadway to stop the truck.

Hundreds of people eventually joined the protest with police arresting 64 people during a long, hot day.

That particular protest came to an end at 5 pm after Byron Council intervention.

There were further protests, but in mid-2003, the State Government announced it would buy the land to protect its environmental value – and the Paterson Hill Action Group and the wider community celebrated.

The land was later made part of the Arakwal National Park.

People who would like to take part in Saturday’s gathering are asked to bring along food and beverages of their choice.

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