Byron Bay is a coastal town in the southeastern Australian state of New South Wales. It’s a popular holiday destination, known for its beaches, surfing and scuba diving sites. Cape Byron State Conservation Park is on a headland with a lighthouse. Between June and November, humpback whales can be spotted from headland viewpoints such as the Captain Cook Lookout.
The local Arakwal Aboriginal people’s name for the area is Cavvanbah, meaning “meeting place”. Lieutenant James Cook named Cape Byron after Royal Navy officer John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and grandfather of the poet Lord Byron.
The first industry in Byron was cedar logging from the Australian red cedar (Toona ciliata). The timber industry is the origin of the word “shoot” in many local names – Possum Shoot, Coopers Shoot and Skinners Shoot – where the timber-cutters would “shoot” the logs down the hills to be dragged to waiting ships. Timber getting became insignificant after World War I and many former timber workers became farmers.
Gold mining of the beaches was the next industry to occur. Up to 20 mining leases set up on Tallow Beach to extract gold from the black sands around the 1870s.
Today, Byron Bay is one of the most up-market residential areas on the Australian east coast with the growth in multi-million dollar mansions now pushing the median value of house sales up beyond AU$1.5 million in 2017, over a 100% increase since 2013, based on 2018 data from realestate.com.au.