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Byron Bay News

Covid claims ‘deeply loved’ Australian artist



Covid claims ‘deeply loved’ Australian artist Craig Ruddy

Covid claims ‘deeply loved’ Australian artist

By Margaret Dekker

Archibald Prize-winning artist and Byron community figure, Craig Ruddy, has died at his home in The Pocket near Billinudgel last Tuesday, January 4 from complications from Covid-19.
The internationally-acclaimed painter who had described his work as ‘evocative .. delving into an ethereal world of beauty and desire,’ was 53 years young.
It’s believed Craig Ruddy and his partner of more than twenty years, Roberto Meza Mont, both contracted the virus weeks ago.
“It is with the heaviest of tender hearts we let you know that last night Craig left his body peacefully at home in Roberto’s arms,” a post on Craig Ruddy’s Facebook page read.
“We have lost the most divine human that gave so much to our communities, the creativity, the inspiration, the pure love and plenty of dance.”
Michael Lyon, Byron Shire Mayor, friend and neighbour of Craig Ruddy, confirmed the artist’s death in a statement last Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s probably the first Covid death we’ve had in the Byron Shire and certainly comes as a shock and surprise. He’s such a deeply loved and respected local artist,” Michael Lyon said.
Craig Ruddy won the Archibald Prize, Australia’s eminent portraiture prize, in 2004 for his charcoal drawing of actor David Gulpilil, titled ‘Two Worlds.’ The controversial, mixed-media work was famously created in a time of the ‘reconciliation’ movement.
“This seminal portrait was controversial but profoundly important for Australia with its timely message about indigenous recognition and reconciliation. It is widely regarded as one of the most influential paintings of that decade,” Craig Ruddy wrote on his website
His inspiration for this prized work was also shared.
“After watching Walkabout (1971), Craig recalls that “David’s role as a storyteller really awakened a curiosity in me about the spiritual connection that Indigenous people share with the land, which we are all a part of and is so mysterious to mainstream Australians. It’s more evident now than ever in these uncertain COVID times that we heed the ancient wisdom of our Indigenous comrades to lead us into a more symbiotic relationship with each other and nature.”
Craig Ruddy was also an Archibald finalist three times for the works, ‘Self-portrait – into the box’ in 2006, a portrait of athlete Cathy Freeman in 2011, and recently in 2020 for his portrait of author, Bruce Pascoe. Craig Ruddy twice won The Archibald’s People’s Choice award (2004, 2010.)
In a moving tribute, the artist last year entered a portrait of an older Gulpilil (who died in November, 2021) in the 2021 Archibald Prize, famously driving the entry from early morning Byron Bay to reach Sydney’s Art Gallery of NSW by competition deadline.
The Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre in Murwillumbah had only just acknowledged Craig Ruddy in its artist credits for 2021, to which Craig replied two days before his death:
“Happy new year to you all! You guys are doing great work! Looking forward to visiting the gallery this year. Warm hugs.”
TRGMOA was quick to join in worldwide condolences on the loss of Craig Ruddy.
“We will remember him as a generous, thoughtful and passionate artist. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and especially Roberto, and all those who were lucky enough to know him. Vale Craig Ruddy.”

2022 Floods

Byron Shire Flood Update – 1:00pm Wednesday 30 March 




NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Byron Shire Flood Update – 1:00pm Wednesday 30 March 


Residents and businesses in many parts of the Byron Shire, especially Byron Bay and Suffolk Park, have been affected by flooding with heavy rainfall across the region overnight.  

Rainfall figures released by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) show Coopers Shoot recorded 319mm of rain to 9am this morning (30 March 2022) with 282mm at Byron Bay. 

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms remains in place. 

Moderate flooding is also possible along the Brunswick River at Mullumbimby and along the Marshalls Creek at Billinudgel early this afternoon.  

All available Council staff are at work, although many have also been impacted by the rain and flooding.   

For links to all the latest information from the SES, BoM and Council go to our Emergency Dashboard. 

Our Facebook page has loads of information as well. 



At 11:30 am, we have 37 reported road closures and a significant number of flood cautions issued across our network in Byron Shire. 

The M1 is closed southbound at Tyagarah. 

Significant flash flooding has been experienced in the Byron town centre and industrial estate. 

The flash flooding experienced in Lawson, Jonson Street and surrounds has been unprecedented. Traffic controls have been in place since early this morning.  

Shirley Street is closed at Kendall Street and Ewingsdale Road is closed near Belongil Bridge at Sunrise Boulevard, police are on the scene. 

We also have a landslip reported at Broken Head Road near the Coast Road and emergency services have been on site this morning. There is another landslip reported at Bangalow Road that remains inaccessible to emergency services. 

Suffolk Park experienced significant flash flooding overnight, a number of roads remain cut off here. 

New Brighton Road is closed near the intersection of Redgate Road. 

The majority of our major hinterland roads remain cut off and inaccessible, with crews unable to further inspect the damage in these areas. We have been advised by locals a new landslip has occurred at Wilsons Creek Road. We will provide updates on this when they come to hand. 

We’ve received reports of a number of trees down, blocking roads across our network, many in areas we are still unable to access. 

Evacuation Centres


The Cavanbah Centre Byron Bay was opened as an Evacuation Centre this morning by the lead agencies (Department of Communities and Justice and Northern Rivers NSW SES). 
We are aware getting to the Cav is a challenge at the moment because of road closures. Check MyRoadInfo to see what roads are open and closed.  

Water and Sewer


All available staff are working on the water and sewer network across the Shire. 

Any urgent problems with water, sewer and drainage should be reported to our Depot staff on 02 6685 9300. 

Non-urgent problems can be reported via Report It on our website. 

Drinking water and water for household use 

There is currently no problem with water supply in the Byron Shire and the water is safe to drink and for household use.  

Our water treatment plant at Mullumbimby is still off-line but we have enough water reserved and we have also turned on the emergency connection to the Rous County Council water supply. 

There are no water restrictions but we do ask that people use water sparingly until the flood water recedes and operations return to normal. 


Heavy rain yesterday and overnight is continuing to have an impact on our sewer system and our network is under pressure from the large amount of water flowing into pump stations around the Shire. 

Staff are doing all they can but they can’t get to some sites because of flooding.  Once the rain stops and water subsides we will get to all the affected areas. 


Everyone should stay out of stormwater.  This is the water in the streets and coming up through the drains. 

Stormwater is dirty and often contaminated with sewer run-off and other substances that are harmful to our health.  

For more information about the danger of stormwater go to the NSW Health website. 


Due to the severe weather and issues with access, Byron Resource Recovery Centre, the tip, is closed today. 

Kerbside bins will be collected on your normal bin collection day. There may be some delay to collections if access has been limited due to road closure and flooding. 

Flooding through Byron township has resulted in multiple vehicles getting inundated and large quantities of floating rubbish. This area will be a primary focus for our crews clean-up once water levels drop.


Areas that we have not been able to collect are: 

·        Byron Industrial Estate 

·        Skinners Shoot Road  

·        Shirley Lane   


Flood recovery clean-up is on hold. 


Visit Flood clean up and waste for more information. 

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2022 Floods

Flood relief support





Flood relief support

100% of the profits on products sold from our friends and suppliers in the Northern Rivers will be donated to The Salvation Army to support flood relief efforts.

When times get tough, Aussies come together.

Healthy Life is running this initiative


Flood relief support

When times get tough, Aussies come together

With the recent flooding having a devastating impact along the eastern seaboard, we’re lending a hand by donating 100% of the profits on products sold from our friends and suppliers who call the Northern Rivers region home.
The money raised will go towards The Salvation Army – our long-standing natural disaster relief partner at Woolworths Group – in its efforts to support those evacuated from their homes through meals at evacuation centres, as well as grants and support for the recovery and rebuilding to come.
Shop products by Bare Blends, Byron Bay Bronze, Byron Bay Chilli, Canabella, Coconut Bowls, Eco Minerals, Eye of Horus, Simply Clean, The Monday Food Co and We* the Many and help support those in need.

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Byron Bay News

Innovating for a greener future




Northern Rivers Community Foundation, the Green Innovation Awards

Innovating for a greener future

Matthew Bell

The Green Innovation Awards are synonymous with school-aged children presenting incredible ideas for a greener future and now the not-for-profit organisation wants to see it part of the everyday classroom.
The Green Innovation Awards is now in its fifth year which continues to see hundreds of primary school and high school students involved.
Each year, students are asked to invent, develop and present ideas for greener living across categories of water management, waste management, building and packaging materials, biofuels and renewable energy, and technology.
This year, with the support of the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, the Green Innovation Awards have been able to create curriculum-aligned teaching resources to make it easier for teachers to introduce the program into the classroom.

Founder and local chiropractor Dr Bridie Cullinane said the resources are available to both primary and high school students with a focus on trying to get more high schools involved.

The resources have been put together in partnership with the Department of Education and other department programs which will provide greater access to mentors for students.

“They’ll have access to academic mentors from Southern Cross University as well as industry mentors which we’ve found in the past is amazing for schools because the mentors can come into the classroom,” she said.

Dr Cullinane also highlighted that it helps the teachers get the message across.

She said, “It gives the teachers the chance to have the message brought in by someone externally and I think it is really engaging for the students and maybe gives them some lightbulb moments of a career path.”

The resources have been considered for a ready-to-go approach with lesson plans set out for teachers and student worksheets already drafted.

Bridie emphasised that this program allows students who may not be the best at science or STEM subjects in the classroom to flourish in an environment that they may be passionate about.

The Green Innovation Awards is not just for top performing students. Some of our favourite previous finalist and winning entries have come from students who having typically performed well in science and other STEM subjects. The Green Innovation Awards provides all students with an opportunity to show their strengths and hopefully ignite a passion for learning,” she said.

Schools that are interested in piloting the resources can contact the Green Innovation Awards at

For more information teachers and schools can visit the online website at

Picture supplied by Green Innovation Awards

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