Byron Shire

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Byron Shire
New South Wales
Byron LGA NSW.png
Location within New South Wales
Coordinates 28°33′S 153°30′E / 28.550°S 153.500°E / -28.550; 153.500Coordinates: 28°33′S 153°30′E / 28.550°S 153.500°E / -28.550; 153.500
Population 31,556 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density 55.684/km2 (144.220/sq mi)
Established 7 March 1906
Area 566.7 km2 (218.8 sq mi)
Mayor Simon Richardson (Greens)
Council seat Mullumbimby
Region Northern Rivers
State electorate(s) Ballina
Federal Division(s) Richmond
2013 Byron Shire Council Logo.png
Website Byron Shire
LGAs around Byron Shire:
Tweed Tweed Tasman Sea
Lismore Byron Shire Tasman Sea
Lismore Ballina Tasman Sea

Byron Shire is a local government area located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. The shire is located adjacent to the Tasman Sea about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of the Queensland border. The shire, administered from the town of Mullumbimby, covers an area of 566.7 square kilometres (218.8 sq mi), and has existed as a local government entity since 1906. The shire was named for Cape Byron, itself named by Captain Cook in May 1770 in honour of Vice-Admiral John Byron.

The Mayor of Byron Shire Council is Simon Richardson, a member of the Greens.


Byron Shire was created on 7 March 1906 under the Shires Act 1906 (NSW) as one of 134 local government areas in regional New South Wales. On 16 May 1906, a temporary council of five members was appointed to administer it, and elections were held in November. On 4 December, the council convened for the first time with William Baker as its inaugural president. William Baker was born in Great Stanmore, England. His cousin, Alfred Joseph Baker was the first person to score a goal in international football against Scotland in 1870.

On 1 July 1908, the Mullumbimby Municipality was created out of part of Byron. On 1 October 1980, the municipality and the shire were re-amalgamated by direction of the NSW Minister for Local Government.[citation needed]

Towns and localities[edit]


At the 2011 census, there were 29,209 people in the Byron local government area, of these 48.9 per cent were male and 51.1 per cent were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 1.8 per cent of the population, which was lower than the national and state averages of 2.5 per cent. The median age of people in the Byron Shire area was 42 years, which was slightly higher than the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 18.5 per cent of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 13.3 per cent of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 38.4 per cent were married and 18.2 per cent were either divorced or separated.[2]

Population growth in the Byron Shira area between the 2001 census and the 2006 census was negative 0.51 per cent; and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 census, population growth was 1.54 per cent. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78 per cent and 8.32 per cent respectively, population growth in the Byron local government area was significantly lower than the national average.[3][4] The median weekly income for residents within the Byron Shire area was significantly lower than the national average.[2]

At the 2011 census, the proportion of residents in the Byron local government area who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 78 per cent of all residents (national average was 65.2 per cent). Less than 45 per cent of all residents in the Byron Shire nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 census, which was lower than the national average of 50.2 per cent. Meanwhile, as at the census date, compared to the national average, households in the Byron local government area had a significantly lower than average proportion (8.9 per cent) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4 per cent); and a slightly higher proportion (88.3 per cent) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8 per cent).[2]

Selected historical census data for the Byron Shire local government area
Census year 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001[3] 2006[4] 2011[2] 2016[1]
Population Estimated residents on census night 10,916 Increase 15,426 Increase 18,342 Increase 22,599 Increase 27,007 Increase 28,916 Decrease 28,766 Increase 29,209 Increase 31,556
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales 61st Increase 58th
% of New South Wales population 0.42%
% of Australian population 0.15% Decrease 0.14% Steady 0.14%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
English 29.7%
Australian 25.7%
Irish 11.2%
Scottish 8.2%
German 4.0%
top responses
(other than English)
German 1.0% Increase 1.1% Steady 1.1%
French 0.5% Steady 0.5% Increase 0.7%
Hebrew n/a Increase 0.4% Increase 0.6%
Italian 0.3% Increase 0.4% Increase 0.5%
Spanish n/c Increase 0.3% Increase 0.4%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
No Religion 24.4% Increase 30.0% Increase 37.6%
Catholic 18.0% Decrease 16.6% Decrease 15.9%
Anglican 19.0% Decrease 15.7% Decrease 14.0%
Uniting Church 5.9% Decrease 4.8% Decrease 3.9%
Buddhism n/c n/c Increase 3.6%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$383 A$477
% of Australian median income 82.2% Increase 82.7%
Family income Median weekly family income A$932 A$1,053
% of Australian median income 79.6% Decrease 71.1%
Household income Median weekly household income A$738 A$885
% of Australian median income 71.9% Decrease 71.7%


The table below gives a picture of the estimated resident population as at the census night. Between 1911 and 1966, data was sourced from the New South Wales Statistical Register, covering the Byron Shire and Mullumbimby Municipality. Since 1976, data was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the merged Byron Shire.

Estimated resident population
Year Byron Shire Mullumbimby
Total Notes
1911 6,553 951 7,504
1921 8,299 1,329 9,628
1933 7,967 1,362 9,329
1947 8,784 1,609 10,393
1954 8,904 2,017 10,921
1961 8,505 1,964 10,469
1966 7,972 1,981 9,953


Current composition and election method[edit]

Byron Shire Council is composed of nine Councillors, including the Mayor, for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is directly elected while the eight other Councillors are elected proportionally as one entire ward. The most recent election was held on 10 September 2016, and the makeup of the Council, including the Mayor, is as follows:[5][6]

Party Councillors
  Independents and Unaligned 2
  The Greens 4
  Labor 2
  Our Sustainable Future 1
Total 9

The current Council, elected in 2016, in order of election, is:[6]

Councillor Party Notes
  Simon Richardson Greens Mayor[5]
  Michael Lyon Greens
  Paul Spooner Australian Labor Party
  Jeannette Martin Greens
  Sarah Ndiaye Greens
  Basil Cameron Our Sustainable Future Deputy Mayor[7]
  Alan Hunter Independent
  Jan Hackett Australian Labor Party
  Cate Coorey Independent


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Byron (A)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 July 2017.  Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c d Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Byron Shire". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 April 2015.  Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Byron (A)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Byron (A)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "Byron Shire Council - Mayoral Election". Local Government Election 2016. New South Wales Electoral Commission. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Byron Shire Council: Summary of First Preference and Group Votes for each Candidate". Local Government Election 2016. New South Wales Electoral Commission. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Cr Basil Cameron Elected as Deputy Mayor". Byron Shire COuncil. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.