Ballina, New South Wales, Australia
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 and fibreglass).
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 water sports.
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 ancient times.
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 1949.
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 Aboriginal form.
Ballina has a sister city agreement with its Irish namesake.
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.