Ballina is a town on the North Coast, New South
Wales, Australia, and the seat of the Ballina Shire
Council Local Government Area. It had a population
of 16,477 in the 2006 Census.
Ballina is located on the Pacific Highway, and was
established on the northern shore of the Richmond
River near Cape Byron, Australia's most easterly
point, in the 1840s. Ballina boasts some of the most
beautiful surfing beaches and picturesque headlands
on the east coast of Australia, such as Angel's
Beach. It is approximately 750 km (466 mi) north of
Sydney and 205 km (127 mi) south of Brisbane. It is
home to the World's Largest Prawn (made of concrete
Ballina is situated on the mouth of the Richmond
River, which 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 are used for recreational fishing and
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. Ballina had a festival associated with the
event during the 1970s and 1980s, and a school in
East Ballina bears the name "Southern Cross".
In 1973, the Las Balsas rafts were towed into
Ballina by fishing trawlers after their journey from
Ecuador. 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
A branch railway line connected Ballina with the
Casino-Murwillumbah Railway at Booyong. The line was
opened on 24 August 1930 and closed on 12 January
Some discussion exists as to how Ballina got its
name. Some believe it was named directly after the
Irish town of Ballina, but this is unlikely. A more
plausible explanation is that the name is derived
from an Indigenous Australian word meaning "place of
many oysters". The names "Bullinah" and "Boolinah"
have been mooted. It is quite likely 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
Ballina has a sister city agreement with its Irish
The population of Ballina Shire is estimated at
16,477 in 2008 (source ABS 2009). There are four
high schools (Xavier, Southern Cross, Ballina and
Emmanuel), five primary schools (Holy family, St.
Francis Xavier, Emmanuel, Ballina and Southern
Cross), a hospital and aged care facilities.
The long awaited Ballina bypass project will upgrade
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 km
of local roads will be upgraded.
Early works started in April 2008 with commencement
of substantial works on 16 June 2008. The Cumbalum
to Ross Lane section is due to open by the end of
2010 with full completion mid 2012.