Eric Wright's historic collection coming home to Byron Bay

SHIPWRECK: A rare photo of the wrecked steam ship Wollongbar - these days just known as
SHIPWRECK: A rare photo of the wrecked steam ship Wollongbar - these days just known as "the wreck" - is one of the photos from the EJ Wright Collection to go on show.

FINALLY, after a 10-year wait, an important collection of historical photos and memorabilia about Byron Bay amassed by the late Eric Wright will come home to Byron Bay Library.

To be known as the EJ Wright Collection, the library will also stage a display of some of the photos beginning at 10.30am tomorrow.

Mr Wright was a well-known Byron historian and the exhibition will be launched by Mr Wright's children Robyn Faulks and David Wright, current Mayor of Ballina.

The collection is being digitised as part of a Nortec work-experience project at the Mullumbimby Museum and representatives from Byron Bay Historical Society, Brunswick Valley Historical Society and Nortec will also be on hand.

The newly archived images will be shared by the library and both Byron Bay and Brunswick Valley historical societies.

More than 20 years ago, Eric expressed a wish that his collection be preserved in the new Byron Bay Library and now 10 years after his death, his wish has been fulfilled.

Kate Crisp, branch technician, acknowledged the generosity and co-operation of Mr Wright's family.

"It really is a privilege for the library to be able to make these photos available to the community," she said.

The exhibition will be on view for two weeks.

Eric Wright was "Mr Byron Bay"

HISTORIAN: Eric Wright circa 1975 Photo Contributed
HISTORIAN: Eric Wright circa 1975 Photo Contributed Contributed

FORMER Byron Shire news editor Gary Chigwidden said throughout his years Eric Wright never lost his passion and love for Byron Bay.

Mr Wright watched and recorded the town's dramatic changes over time as the Bay moved from being a small country town to an international tourist destination.

"If anyone could have comfortably worn the mantle 'Mr Byron Bay', it was him," Mr Chigwidden wrote at the time of Eric's death in 2005.

"Visiting his house in Cooper St, which I did many times, was a bit like stepping back in Byron Bay time.

"Eric's knowledge of events in the Bay through the years and its people was vast. There were many times I went to Eric for information about the town or to borrow a photograph to illustrate a story."

For several years Mr Wright wrote a Byron Bay history column for the Byron Shire News.

He also provided valuable assistance to Maurice Ryan for his book Time and Tide, A History of Byron Bay, published in 1984.



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