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The area was originally inhabited by the Aboriginal people of Australia. The British colony established in New South Wales, which included Byron Bay, was explored in January 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip and a party of 80 convicts sent to establish a settlement at Port Jackson (Sydney). They stopped for 10 days at "Cavvanbah" while they explored the surrounding areas. This is where they first heard the news that France had declared war on Great Britain and so Phillip returned to Sydney immediately instead of going further up into what is now Queensland. The first European settlers arrived in 1854; land was taken over from Bundjalung peoples who were believed to have migrated south 100 years earlier due to volcanic eruptions on Mount Warning destroying their food sources.