1892

Joseph Yates calls a public meeting and forms a committee that gathered in a small shop behind the Pier Hotel - now The Balcony. Soon Yates realises that they need a bigger building. The committee decides to erect something more suitable in the main square, using £40 it had raised from various functions. 

1894

The Byron Bay School of Arts is formed and allocated a specially designated block of land on Jonson Street stretching south from the Post office to Marvell Street.

1895

The initial School of Arts building, which also housed the first public library in Byron Bay, is erected. 

1907

A new School of Arts building is built since it becomes too small for all the activities it is used. Hon. J. Perry MLA opens the new building officially in April. The new building is the focal point of the town and a hive of activity, hosting a library, balls, roller skating, weekly dances, formal and informal meetings, billiards, a physical club and an election polling booth.  

1910 

The Imperial Picture Company runs silent films every Wednesday. 

1913

The name of the institution changes to The Byron Bay Literary Institute. 

1916

The Institute takes over the picture business. 

1931

The Institute shows ‘Talkies’ for the first time and earns a considerable income through these movies. In addition to movie nights, dance nights take place every Wednesday with local bands playing.

1960s

Activities at the Institute include drama, groups for children, teenagers, and adults: boxing and basketball.   

1980

The building is unused and in need of repair work. Recognising the lack of facilities, particularly for young people, resident Jan Dawkins becomes the prime mover in saving the building and establishing the Community Centre. 

1981

The Centre re-opens thanks to fundraising and the hard work of enthusiastic local community members and volunteers.  

1987

Byron Shire Council licenses the Centre to manage the Byron Community Market. This allows the Centre to be mostly self-funded. 

1994 - 1999

The BCC building undergoes necessary redevelopment and construction work.

2002

The new Byron Community and Cultural Centre designed by Ian McKay opens in December after almost 20 years of fundraising and support from many wonderful sponsors.

2003

The Byron Theatre opens. 

2003 - 2009

The BCC offers welfare, cultural and community projects. 

2004

Gwen Gould starts the Homeless Breakfast in the Fletcher St. Kitchen as part of the Centre’s community services. 

2009

MARCH:

Paul Spooner takes over as the General Manager. Under his guidance and wisdom, and together with the Volunteer Management Committee, the Centre consolidates its community focus. Paul establishes a number of essential community services and cultural activities. In addition to that, the Centre acquires the licenses for two more markets, the Twilight Market during the summer months and the seasonal Beachside Market. 

 

MAY: 

Honu Dawson starts Liberation Larder and provides lunch and groceries to an average of 120 people per week who are homeless or doing it tough in the Shire. Liberation Larder uses the Fletcher St. kitchen at the Centre and also has an outlet at the Brunswick Heads Community Centre.

2011

Seniors Activities start in the Centre. Originally named the Healthy Ageing Program, activities now include weekly classes of singing, dancing, acting, drumming, yoga and ukulele with increasing participation numbers. 

 

The Byron Theatre and Meeting Room Hire are very busy with a huge variety of events and shows including concerts, dances, festivals, screenings, community events, classical ballets, kids shows, corporate conventions or voting booths. 

2019

MAY:

Paul Spooner retires after 10 years at the helm. 

 

AUGUST:

Centre staff and volunteers welcome Louise O’Connell as the new General Manager. Louise is acutely aware that the Centre is the “beating heart of Byron” and sees exciting opportunities in its role delivering benefit to the greater community in the future.