Ballina, New South Wales

Last updated

New South Wales
Ballina NSW collage.jpg
Clockwise from top left: The Big Prawn, Ballina Court House, Ballina Manor, Shelly Beach, River Street Mall.
Australia New South Wales location map blank.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 28°50′0″S153°32′0″E / 28.83333°S 153.53333°E / -28.83333; 153.53333 Coordinates: 28°50′0″S153°32′0″E / 28.83333°S 153.53333°E / -28.83333; 153.53333
Population26,381 (2018) [1]
Postcode(s) 2478
Elevation1.3 m (4 ft) [2]
LGA(s) Ballina Shire
State electorate(s) Ballina
Federal Division(s) Richmond
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
24.4 °C
76 °F
14.3 °C
58 °F
1,817.9 mm
71.6 in

Ballina ( /ˈbælɪnə/ ) [3] is a town in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, and the seat of the Ballina Shire local government area. Ballina's urban population at June 2018 was 26,381. [1] The town lies on the Richmond River and serves as a gateway to Byron Bay.

Northern Rivers Region in New South Wales, Australia

Northern Rivers is the most north-easterly region of the Australian state of New South Wales, located between 590 kilometres (370 mi) and 820 kilometres (510 mi) north of the state capital, Sydney, and encompasses the catchments and fertile valleys of the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed rivers. It extends from Tweed Heads in the north to the southern extent of the Clarence river catchment which lies between Grafton and Coffs Harbour, and includes the main towns of Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Ballina, Kyogle, Lismore, Casino and Grafton. At its most northern point, the region is 102 kilometres (63 mi) south south–east of the Queensland capital, Brisbane.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In December 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Ballina Shire Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

Ballina Shire is a local government area in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. The Shire was formed in 1976 by the amalgamation of the Municipality of Ballina and Tintenbar Shire. The Shire is located adjacent to the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Highway. The Council seat is located in the town of Ballina.



Ballina's etymology is not entirely certain. One view holds that it is a corruption of a clan name for the Bullina band of the Arakwal. [4] It has been argued[ citation needed ] that in this tribe's Bundjalung language, bullinah meant "place of many oysters". This theory argues that the Aboriginal name reminded the predominantly Irish settlers of "Ballina", so the name's origin could be an accidental or deliberate corruption of the Aboriginal form. Another view is that towns's name comes from the Irish placename Ballina (Béal an Átha, "mouth of the ford"), which is found in several parts of Ireland.[ citation needed ]


Ballina was established in the 1840s on the northern shore of the Richmond River, 20 kilometres south of Cape Byron, Australia's most easterly point. A lighthouse, Richmond River Light, was first constructed in Ballina in 1866, which served as a significant port in the region. The temporary lighthouse was replaced with the current one, designed by James Barnet, in 1879, and first lit in 1880. It is still active. [5] A branch railway line connected Ballina with the Murwillumbah railway line railway at Booyong. The line was opened on 24 August 1930 and closed on 12 January 1949. [6]

Richmond River river in New South Wales, Australia

The Richmond River is a river with a mature wave dominated, barrier estuary, situated in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Cape Byron cape and easternmost point of the Australian mainland

Cape Byron is the easternmost point of the mainland of Australia. It is about 3 km (1.9 mi) east of the town of Byron Bay and projects into the Pacific Ocean. The cape was named by British explorer Captain James Cook, when he passed the area on 15 May 1770, to honour British explorer John Byron who circumnavigated the globe in HMS Dolphin from 1764 to 1766. The Cape is part of the Cape Byron State Conservation Area.

Richmond River Light Lighthouse in New South Wales, Australia

Richmond River Light, also known as Ballina Head Light and Ballina Light, is an active lighthouse located at Ballina Head, a headland in Ballina, New South Wales, Australia. The headland is at the northern side of the entrance to the Richmond River. It used to serve to guide ships into the river port and is used also serves as a leading light into the river, together with a steamer's masthead lantern with a 200 mm lens which is raised on a wooden structure 30 metres (98 ft) from it.


Ballina has a number of famous "landfalls" associated with it. In 1928, Charles Kingsford Smith's plane, the Southern Cross , crossed the coast over Ballina after its epic journey across the Pacific Ocean. [7] Ballina had a festival associated with the event during the 1970s and 1980s, and a school in East Ballina bears the name "Southern Cross".

Charles Kingsford Smith Australian aviator

Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith, MC, AFC, often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator.

<i>Southern Cross</i> (aircraft) Historically significant small fixed-wing aircraft

Southern Cross is the name of the Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor monoplane that in 1928 was flown by Australian aviator Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm, Harry Lyon and James Warner in the first-ever trans-Pacific flight to Australia from the mainland United States, a distance of about 11,670 kilometres (7,250 mi).

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

In 1973, the Las Balsas rafts were towed into Ballina by fishing trawlers after their journey from Ecuador. [8] One of the rafts is preserved in the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum. [9] They had planned to arrive in Mooloolaba in Queensland, but currents forced them off their course. Their journey was almost twice as long as the Kon-Tiki expeditions of 1947 and proved that people could have travelled across the Pacific in ancient times.

Ecuador Republic in South America

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also the largest city.

Mooloolaba Suburb of Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Mooloolaba is a coastal suburb and tourist resort township on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. It is located 97 kilometres (60 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane, and is part of the Maroochydore urban centre. At the 2016 Australian Census, the suburb recorded a population of 7,730.

Queensland North-east state of Australia

Queensland is the second-largest and third-most populous state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Situated in the north-east of the country, it is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean. To its north is the Torres Strait, with Papua New Guinea located less than 200 km across it from the mainland. The state is the world's sixth-largest sub-national entity, with an area of 1,852,642 square kilometres (715,309 sq mi).

Heritage listings

Ballina has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


It is approximately 600 km (373 mi) north of Sydney and 160 km (99 mi) south of Brisbane. Ballina is a coastal town and is connected to the Pacific Highway which now bypasses it.

Pacific Highway (Australia) highway in New South Wales and Queensland

The Pacific Highway is a 790-kilometre-long (490 mi) national highway and major transport route along the central east coast of Australia, with the majority of it being part of Australia's national route 1.

The Richmond River was an important transport route for the region for the first 100 years after settlement. The river and its estuaries abound with marine wildlife and provide for recreational fishing and water sports.[ citation needed ]


The population of Ballina township was 16,506 at the 2016 Census [11] (representing 39 percent of the Ballina Shire population of 41,790). [12] The urban area had a population of 26,381, which includes Lennox Head and other suburban areas. [1]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 3.3% of the population; compared with the national and state average of 2.9%. [13]

The most common ancestries in the area were English 31.2%, Australian 28.3%, Irish 10.9%, Scottish 8.7% and German 3.2%. 81.0% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 3.4%, New Zealand 1.7%, Scotland 0.5% and South Africa 0.4%. 13.3% of people had both parents born overseas. 88.7% of people only spoke English at home. [13]

The most common responses for religion in the area were No Religion 30.2%, Catholic 23.0% and Anglican 19.6%. [13]


The median household income was estimated to be A$1,093 per week; with the median mortgage repayments estimated at A$1,733 per month; and median rent estimated at A$345 per week. The average number of motor vehicles was 1.6 per dwelling. [13]

Ballina serves as a tourism gateway to the close-by destinations of Lismore and Byron Bay. The town has access to several beaches, such as Shelley's Beach, and to historical sites such as the Ballina Manor and the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum, however its most famous landmark is undoubtedly the 'Big Prawn'.

The Big Prawn

The Big Prawn, prior the destruction of the building supporting it. The Big Prawn (w- building) - 2009.jpg
The Big Prawn, prior the destruction of the building supporting it.

Ballina is home to the world's largest prawn model (made of concrete and fibreglass). [14] On 24 September 2009, Ballina Shire Council voted to allow the demolition of the Big Prawn, [15] but this permission was never acted upon. Bunnings Warehouse purchased the site and refurbished the Prawn as part of the redevelopment. The Prawn now sits on a stand next to the entrance of the Bunnings Warehouse car park. [16] [17] In March 2018, Google Maps' facial recognition software blurred out the facial area of the Prawn, first noticed on Reddit Australia, [18] and later reported in The Sydney Morning Herald . [19]


The town of Ballina experiences a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), typical of the central part of Australia's eastern coast. Summers are sultry, humid and rainy, with approximately 40% of the town's total annual precipitation occurring from December to March, with March being the wettest month of the year, receiving an average of 215.6 mm (8.488 in) of precipitation. Ballina's annual precipitation total observes a considerably higher concentration in the first half of the year (January–June) than the second half of the year (July–December). Ballina's wetness is due to the town's coastal location and proximity to Cape Byron, the easternmost point in Australia, which means that exposure to moisture-laden frontal systems that develop throughout the year in the Tasman Sea follows accordingly. Ballina experiences a copious 1,817.9 mm (71.6 in) of precipitation annually, which is one of the highest annual precipitation levels to be found along the eastern coast of Australia south of the tropical coast of northern Queensland. The all-time highest and lowest temperatures ever recorded in the town are 42 °C (107.6 °F) and −2.0 °C (28.4 °F) on 12 January 2002 and 17 June 1999 respectively.

Climate data for Ballina Airport, New South Wales (1992–present)
Record high °C (°F)42.0
Average high °C (°F)28.2
Average low °C (°F)19.7
Record low °C (°F)12.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)182.3
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)14.515.417.815.414.913.
Average relative humidity (%)67686765646259555962656463
Source: Bureau of Meteorology [20]


The Northern Rivers Echo is a free weekly community newspaper with 27,000 copies [ citation needed ] going to Lismore, Alstonville, Wollongbar, Ballina, Casino, Nimbin and Evans Head. The Northern Star is a tabloid newspaper based in Lismore. It covers the region from Casino to Ballina and up to Murwillimbah and Byron Bay, covering a population of several hundred thousand. [ citation needed ]

Ballina receives channels from SBS and ABC and the regional affiliates of Prime7, NBN Television and WIN Television.

The commercial radio stations in the area are Triple Z (Hit Music) and 2LM 900 AM. Both are run by Broadcast Operations Group. The community radio station is Paradise FM 101.9. [21] Other radio stations are Triple J 96.1 FM, ABC Radio National 96.9 FM, ABC Classic FM 95.3 and ABC North Coast 94.5 FM.


There are four high schools in the town (Emmanuel Anglican College, Richmond Christian College, Ballina Coast High School and Xavier Catholic College), five primary schools (Ballina Public School, Emmanuel Anglican College, Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Richmond Christian College, St. Francis Xavier Primary School and Southern Cross School), a hospital and aged care facilities.


Ballina bypass

The long-awaited Ballina bypass [22] project upgraded 12.4 km of dual carriageway road, extending from south of Ballina at the intersection of the Bruxner and Pacific Highways to north of Ballina at the intersection with Ross Lane at Tintenbar. Twelve kilometres of local roads were also upgraded.

Early works started in April 2008 and substantial works on 16 June 2008. The Cumbalum to Ross Lane section opened in 2011 (the bypass was extended an extra .5 km to allow for a better connection to the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale Project) with full completion in mid-2012. The project had its final traffic switch opened to public in April allowing for separation of the Pacific Highway and the Bruxner Highway traffic.


The major airport for the region, servicing Byron Bay and Lismore, is in Ballina. The airport has links to Newcastle, Melbourne and Sydney with FlyPelican, Jetstar Airways, Regional Express Airlines and Virgin Australia each operating services. Ballina Airport is located in Southern Cross Drive and is 5 km (3 mi) from the Ballina CBD. The airport is a 30-minute road trip to Byron Bay and 40 minutes to Lismore. In 2005 the Ballina airport was renamed the Ballina Byron Gateway airport in a bid to attract more people to the area.

Sport and recreation

The Ballina Seagulls is the local rugby league club that competes in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.

The Ballina Seahorses is the rugby union club that competes in the Far North Coast Rugby zone.

There is also a cricket competition with clubs such as the Ballina Bears and Tintenbar-East Ballina competing at both the district and regional (LJ Hooker League) level.

Notable people

Twin cities

Ballina is twinned with: [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Bruxner Highway highway in New South Wales

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Wardell, New South Wales Town in New South Wales, Australia

Wardell is a village in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. It is situated on the Richmond River and the Pacific Highway between Broadwater and Ballina. Wardell is approximately 724 km (450 mi) north of Sydney and 200 km (124 mi) south of Brisbane. The boundaries are within the Ballina Shire local government area.

Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum Local maritime history museum in New South Wales, Australia

The Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum is a local maritime history museum located in the town of Ballina, New South Wales in Australia. The museum explicitly houses and records the local maritime history of Ballina and the former mariners that reside in the town. The museum is located on Regatta avenue, behind the Ballina Tourist information centre. The museum is noted for maintaining in its collection one of the three Las Balsas craft and it also manages the largest naval and merchant ship model collection in Australia.


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  21. "Paradise FM 101.9". Community Broadcasting Organisation of Australia, Retrieved 17 December 2018.
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  23. Saxby-Junna, Kerry at the International Association of Athletics Federations
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