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Miriam Margolyes: Impossibly Australian, 16 April 2024, ABC TV, “Byron Bay”

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Miriam Margolyes Impossibly Australian

In the second episode of her three-part series, Miriam Margolyes: Impossibly Australian, the actor explores Byron Bay, a place that has become synonymous with creativity and freedom. However, Margolyes discovers that the town is grappling with a homelessness crisis and meets those affected by it.

The episode, airing on Tuesday 16 April on ABC TV, looks into the challenges faced by Byron Bay, a coastal town in northern New South Wales, Australia. Known for its beaches and surf breaks, Byron Bay has gained a reputation as a haven for social media influencers and celebrities. The town’s population swells during peak tourist season, attracting approximately 2.2 million visitors annually.

Among those flocking to Byron Bay is Jade Kevin Foster, a self-proclaimed Australia’s most-followed male influencer. Foster, who rose to prominence after appearing in a photo with Kim Kardashian, now boasts millions of followers on Instagram. He is one of the cast members of the Netflix reality show Byron Baes, which sparked controversy for its depiction of the town.

Byron Bay has experienced a surge in wealth and a corresponding rise in homelessness, particularly among women. The housing crisis has been exacerbated by short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb, which have reduced the availability of long-term accommodation and driven up rents. The average house price in Byron Bay has soared, and the town now has the highest rate of homelessness outside of metropolitan Sydney.

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As Margolyes immerses herself in the local community, she meets individuals grappling with the consequences of these issues. She encounters rough sleepers, including a well-known woman named Fiona, who tragically passed away while sleeping in a tent. Margolyes also interacts with Rho, another person experiencing homelessness, who describes the terrifying and stressful reality of sleeping rough.

Liz Jackson, the president of Liberation Larder, a local organisation that provides food to the homeless, highlights the difficulties and diminished quality of life faced by those without stable housing. She emphasises the need for more social and affordable housing in the region.

Michael Lyon, the acting mayor of Byron Shire, attributes the housing crisis to several factors, including the popularity of short-term rentals, the influx of remote workers during the pandemic, and government policies incentivising the purchase of second homes. He acknowledges the urgency of addressing the situation, stating, “We’re at crisis point in Byron Bay.”

Amid these challenges, Margolyes also explores the town’s vibrant culture, interacting with influencers and hippies. She meets Jade Kevin Foster and learns about the world of influencers, a realm that remains incomprehensible to her. She even partakes in the practice of “yoni” steaming, a trend embraced by some locals.

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The episode offers a nuanced portrayal of Byron Bay, capturing both the allure that draws visitors and the stark realities faced by those struggling with homelessness and housing insecurity. It sheds light on the complexities of the town’s situation, highlighting the need for sustainable solutions to support the community.

Miriam Margolyes: Impossibly Australian airs Tuesday 16 April 2024 at 8.00 pm on ABC TV.


Jackson Anderson, your go-to Australian TV Correspondent, reporting on all things Aussie TV and Streaming. With a deep passion for extreme sports, especially snowboarding, I blend my love for adrenaline with my storytelling skills. Join me as I dive into the world of Australian entertainment and bring you all the latest news.

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