End of an era, as Epicentre makes way for development
By HELEN JACK
BYRON Bay’s Epicentre building was demolished on Friday to make way for a 19-lot sub-division.
The sub-division was approved at the December meeting of Byron Shire Council with the development put forward by the owners of the site, Gold Coast developers Kendall Street Development.
The Epicentre building, a slaughterhouse from 1912 to 1983, was knocked down to make way for a road into the proposed site.
As an abattoir, the Epicentre had a chequered history.
A year after it opened the operation was running at a loss because supplies of stock were short.
In August 1919 the abattoir was shut down.
Over the next two years there were numerous attempts to reopen the operation but the site lay dormant for seven years.
The building was eventually sold to Norco in 1928.
Then, during the Great Depression, A W Anderson, who owned a number of butcher shops and meat companies, took over the lease.
He revitalised the operation eventually exporting meat to the United Kingdom.
After WW2 Anderson secured markets in the US and invested $500,000 into remodelling the abattoir between 1964 and 1965.
Anderson sold the business to F J Walker and Company who eventually sold it to Elders IXL in 1983.
Elders shut down the operation soon after.
In 1984 the site was sold to the McKellar family who transformed it into creative studios for artists, yoga and performing arts.
Around 2000 the site was sold to Kendall Street Developments and in May 2003 the Epicentre burned down, devastating local artists.