Byron Bay mourns the death of Micky Kay, the ‘black mayor’
THE Byron Bay indigenous community is in mourning following the death of an icon, Micky Kay.
Mr Kay died of a heart attack in his beloved home town on Sunday.
Mr Kay's brother in-law, Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation general manager Gavin Brown said Micky's death had hit the community hard.
Mr Brown said the likable gentleman left memorable impressions with most people he met.
"When you met Micky once, you knew him for the rest of your life," he said.
"He was very well known and well liked, everyone knew who he was.
"We used to call him the 'black mayor' of Byron Bay."
Mr Brown said Mr Kay was extremely proud of his indigenous heritage and the fact he lived in Byron Bay for his whole life.
"He used to say to people, 'I'm Micky Kay, from Byron Bay'."
Mr Kay was well known across the Northern Rivers as an indigenous elder and prominent community member who often performed the welcome to country ceremonies at events including Bluesfest.
Former Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said the respect for Mr Kay filtered through the entire Byron Bay community.
She said Mr Kay was heavily involved with the Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation and their negotiations over the indigenous land use agreement they helped establish.
For 15 years, Mr Kay was one of the key figures in the push to establish Cape Byron's Arakwal National Park.
"Mick has been a much loved identity in the community for years and he will be sorely missed," she said.
Ms Barham said he took his role as an elder in the community very seriously.
"Mick was often able to chat to some of the younger folk and instil respect for elders and for cultural traditions."
Born and bred in Byron Bay, Mr Kay was keen surfer and well known in the Red Devils rugby fraternity.
"Mick lived life to its full, he was a passionate and effervescent character.
"Mick will be a real loss to the Byron Bay community."