How Byron Bay used to be an abattoir until 1983 before the celebrities moved in

Incredible pictures show the stark difference between Byron Bay now and almost four decades ago when it was still a working class area.

Until 1983, the town on the NSW far north coast had an abattoir next to its main beach, with the smell of carcasses off-putting to potential tourists.

The ABC has aired historic footage from its old Countrywide TV program showing meat workers finishing a shift shortly before the employer closed its doors for good.  

Just two decades before that, in the early 1960s, Byron Bay was a whaling station where offal next door to the abattoir was pumped into the ocean, attracting hoards of sharks. 

Now only the rich can afford to live there with typical house prices during the past year surging by 31 per cent, as locals oppose plans for a reality show on Instagram influencers.

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After Elders IXL closed the meat works 38 years ago, the land at Belongil Beach was subdivided and turned into luxury waterfront homes.

Delvene Delaney, the co-host of Sale of the Century, and her comedian husband John Cornell, from the Paul Hogan Show, bought some of this land and built a beachfront home.

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Incredible pictures show the stark difference between Byron Bay now and almost four decades ago when it was still a working class area. Until 1983, the town on the NSW far north coast had an abattoir next to its main beach, with the smell of carcasses off-putting to potential tourists

Incredible pictures show the stark difference between Byron Bay now and almost four decades ago when it was still a working class area. Until 1983, the town on the NSW far north coast had an abattoir next to its main beach, with the smell of carcasses off-putting to potential tourists

They started the influx of celebrities to the lighthouse town, gentrifying the former whaling station and sand mine into a hub, ironically, for vegans and environmentally-minded hippies.

Actors Chris Hemsworth and Russell Crowe and cricketer Adam Gilchrist own multi-million dollar water-view homes, while  heartthrob Zac Efron has lived there during the Covid pandemic.

With Australians banned from travelling overseas, the already overcrowded town is now even more popular with visitors and new sea change residents from Sydney and Melbourne, who can work from home. 

Max Pendergast, a 78-year-old lifelong resident, missed the old days when the abattoir discouraged tourists from visiting.

Actors Chris Hemsworth (pictured with wife Elsa Pataky) and Russell Crowe and cricketer Adam Gilchrist own multi-million dollar water-view homes, while Hollywood heartthrob Zac Efron has lived there during the Covid pandemic

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Actors Chris Hemsworth (pictured with wife Elsa Pataky) and Russell Crowe and cricketer Adam Gilchrist own multi-million dollar water-view homes, while heartthrob Zac Efron has lived

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