10 km off the Pacific Highway near Ballina and 19 km from Lismore, Alstonville is a pleasant hinterland village surrounded by rolling hills where avocados and macadamia nuts are grown.
The area was settled by Europeans in the 1860s when cedar cutters moved into the hinterland in search of the trees. By 1865 Andrew Freeborn and his brother Thomas had settled and were farming in the district known then as Duck Creek Mountain. A later settler, John Perry, named his home after his wife, Annie Alston, and the name stuck resulting in the emerging township being known as Alstonville.
The nearby Victoria Park is a 17.5-hectare remnant of the ‘Big Scrub’, the original all-but-impenetrable rainforest that once covered this entire area. It was the Big Scrub that first attracted Europeans, particularly the beautiful ‘red gold’ timber from the Australian red cedar. The timber was channelled down Duck Creek to the Richmond River, then shipped to Ballina and the world. Many of eastern Australia’s historic houses have cedar doors, windows, architraves and staircases, as well as being furnished with tables, sideboards and wardrobes made from this rich, dark red, durable timber.
It is said that the soil around Alstonville is 12 metres deep, and is amongst the best agricultural land in Australia.
Alstonville has given its name to a variety of tibouchina, a plant native to Brazil, which has intense purple flowers. The late Ken Dunstan bred the plant that has become synonymous with the North Coast town, and which flowers over a long period throughout autumn, adding brilliant colour to the town and the wider region.
View a handy map and street index of Alstonville/Wollongbar below.