Main Births etc

New South Wales, Australia

The Big Prawn

Ballina is located in New South Wales
Population: 39,273 (2011)[1]
Established: 1840s
Postcode: 2478
Coordinates: 28°50′S 153°32′E / -28.833, 153.533Coordinates: 28°50′S 153°32′E / -28.833, 153.533
Elevation: 1.3 m (4 ft) [2]
LGA: Ballina Shire
State District: Ballina
Federal Division: Page
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
24.4 °C
76 °F
14.3 °C
58 °F
1,796.8 mm
70.7 in

Ballina (play /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 had a population of 39,273 in the 2011 Census.


Ballina is 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. It is approximately 750 km (466 mi) north of Sydney and 205 km (127 mi) south of Brisbane.

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.


A lighthouse, Richmond River Light, was first constructed in Ballina in 1866. The temporary lighthouse was replaced with the current one, designed by James Barnet, in 1879, and first lit in 1880. It is still active.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]


Ballina's etymology is not entirely certain. Some believe it was named directly after the Irish town of Ballina, although a more likely source is a Bundjalung word, "bullinah", meaning "place of many oysters". One possibility is 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.


The population of Ballina is estimated at 39,273 in the 2011 Australian Census.[1] Of this, approximately 52% (or 20,431) were female and 48% (or 18,842) were male. The median age was 45 years. Approximately 10,953 families lived in the area with, on average, 1.8 children per family. There were approximately 18,025 private dwellings, occupied on average by 2.4 people per household.[1]

The median household income was estimated to by A$931 per week; with the median mortgage repayments estimated at A$1,733 per month; and median rent estimated at A$290 per week. The average number of motor vehicles was 1.6 per dwelling.[1]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 3.1% of the population; compared with the national and state average of 2.5%.[1]

The most common ancestries in the area were English 32.0%, Australian 31.2%, Irish 10.5%, Scottish 8.1% and German 3.1%. 74.5% of people had both parents born in Australia and 13.7% of people had both parents born overseas.[1]

The most common responses for religion in the area were Catholic 25.1%, Anglican 24.2%, No Religion 21.4%, Uniting Church 5.6% and Presbyterian and Reformed 5.2%.[1]

Facilities and attractions[]

There are four high schools in the town (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. Ballina is home to the world's largest prawn (made of concrete and fibreglass).


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 215.3 mm (8.476 in) of precipitation. Ballina's annual precipitation total observes a slightly higher concentration in the first half of the year (Januaruy-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 frontal systems that develop throughout the year in the Tasman Sea follows accordingly. Ballina experiences a copious 1,796.8 mm (70.7 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 °C (28.4 °F) on the 12th of January, 2002 and the 17th of June, 1999 respectively.

Climate data for Ballina Airport, New South Wales (1992-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 42.0
Average high °C (°F) 28.2
Average low °C (°F) 19.6
Record low °C (°F) 12.2
Rainfall mm (inches) 174.8
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 14.4 14.8 17.7 15.7 14.7 12.5 11.2 9.3 9.2 11.9 12.4 12.7 156.5
humidity 74 78 80 75 75 75 72 66 63 66 72 70 72
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[8]



The Northern Rivers Echo is a free weekly community newspaper with 27,000 copies 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.

The commercial radio stations in the area are Triple Z (Hit Music) & 2LM 900 AM (also broadcast on 104.3fm). Both are run by Broadcast Operations Group. The community radio station is Paradise FM 101.9.[9] Other radio stations are Triple J 96.1 FM, ABC Radio National 96.9 FM, ABC Classic FM 95.3 and ABC Local Radio - North Coast 94.5 FM.


Ballina bypass[]

The long awaited Ballina bypass[10] 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 early 2011 (the bypass was extended an extra .5 km to allow for a better connection to the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale Project) with full completion 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 Melbourne and Sydney with 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 20 minute road trip to Byron Bay and 30 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.

Notable people[]

  • Kerry Saxby-Junna[11] Saxby competed with the Ballina Athletic Club; the "Kerry Saxby Pathway" runs past the Olympic Pool and Waterslide to the Naval and Maritime Museum.
  • Dustin Dollin
  • Dustin Clare, actor
  • Simon Baker, actor
  • Nathan Crosswell, basketball player

Twin cities[]

Ballina is twinned with:[12]

  • Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
  • Matamata-Piako District, Waikato, New Zealand



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Ballina (Statistical Local Areas)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Ballina Airport AWS". Climate Averages for Australian Sites. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 24 November 2006. 
  3. ^ Macquarie Dictionary (4th ed.). Melbourne, Australia: The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. 2005. ISBN 1-876429-14-3. 
  4. ^ "The Richmond River Lighthouse". Lighthouses of New South Wales. Lighthouses of Australia Inc. 
  5. ^ Kingsford-Smith, Charles; C. T. P. Ulm (1928). Story of "Southern Cross" Trans-Pacific Flight, 1928. Sydney: Penlington and Somerville. 
  6. ^ "Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum". Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum. Archived from the original on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 3 November 2006. 
  7. ^ Hagarty, D. The Booyong-Ballina Branch Line. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, June 1953, pp. 65–68
  8. ^ "Climate Statistics for Ballina Airport, New South Wales". Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  9. ^,12,6,3204
  10. ^ Ballina bypass - Road Projects. New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority.
  11. ^ Saxby-Junna, Kerry at the International Association of Athletics Federations
  12. ^ "Sister City Agreement". Retrieved 10 July 2009. 

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