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Lismore, New South Wales


Lismore, New South Wales

New South Wales
Lismore from helicopter, overlooking the Bruxner Highway and Lismore CBD
Lismore is located in New South Wales
Population 27,474 (2011) (46)
Established 1856
Postcode(s) 2480
Elevation 12 m (39 ft)
LGA(s) City of Lismore
State electorate(s) Lismore
Federal Division(s) Page
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
25.5 °C
78 °F
13.2 °C
56 °F
1,343.0 mm
52.9 in
The Rainbow Train in Heritage Park in Lismore

Lismore is a town in northeastern New South Wales, Australia and the main population centre in the City of Lismore local government area; it is also a regional centre in the Northern Rivers region of the State.


  • History 1
  • Rainforest 2
  • Geography 3
  • Climate 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Media 6
  • Sport and recreation 7
  • Business 8
  • Education 9
  • Sister cities 10
  • Leaders 11
  • Notable people 12
  • Trivia 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • External links 16


The city of Lismore lies in the Bundjalung people's nation area.[1] However, the actual area of the Bundjalung people from Evans Head is currently under examination, as well as the actual origin of the name Bundjalung. It has been suggested that the Aboriginal people called the area Tuckurimbah meaning "glutton."[2]

The European history of the city begins in c. 1843: a pastoral run covering an area of 93 square kilometres (36 sq mi) was taken up by Captain Dumaresq at this time covering the Lismore area and was stocked with sheep from the New England area. Ward Stephens took up the run in the same year, but the subtropical climate was unsuited for sheep grazing, so it was eventually abandoned. In January 1845, William and Jane Wilson took it over. The Wilsons were Scottish immigrants, who arrived in New South Wales in May 1833. One theory has it that Jane Wilson was responsible for naming the location for Lismore, Scotland, where the couple had honeymooned, whereas another one is that it was named after Lismore, Ireland because of the similarity in the scenery.[2]

In 1855, the surveyor Frederick Peppercorne was instructed by Sir Thomas Mitchell to determine a site for a township in the area. Peppercorne submitted his map of the proposed village reserve on 16 February 1856.[3] The chosen site was William Wilson's homestead paddock and the area was proclaimed the "Town of Lismore" in the NSW Government Gazette on 1 May 1856. The township was soon settled and its Post Office was opened on 1 October 1859.[4] Lismore was incorporated as a municipality on 5 March 1879, and was eventually proclaimed a city on 30 August 1946.[5] From the mid-1950s until the early 1960s Lismore hosted an annual Floral Carnival in early September. The week-long programme of events culminated in a street parade of decorated floats, crowning of the Floral Queen and a fireworks display.[6]


Lismore and surrounding towns were once part of the rainforest referred to as "The Big Scrub", of which less than one percent remains following the European settlement. A section of this rainforest is viewable in the grounds of the Southern Cross University and at Wilsons Nature Reserve on Wyrallah Road.


Molesworth Street, Lismore

Lismore is located on the Bruxner Highway and it lies at the confluence of the Wilsons River (a tributary of the Richmond River) and Leycester Creek, The state capital city of Sydney is located 764 km (475 mi) to the south by highway.[7] Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, is 200 kilometres (124 mi) to the north.

Lismore's central business district is located 35 kilometres (22 mi) from the eastern coast, and 46 kilometres (29 mi) southwest of Byron Bay. The coastal town of Ballina is 36 kilometres (22 mi) away. There are a number of rainforest patches in the area, remnants of the Big Scrub. These are preserved today, with a small pocket known as Boatharbour Reserve just east of town on the Bangalow road. The nearest large and publicly accessible national park is Nightcap National Park.


Lismore experiences a humid subtropical climate with mild to warm temperatures all year round and ample rainfall. Temperatures in summer range between 20 °C (68 °F) and 35 °C (95 °F). The subtropical climate combined with geographical features means the urban area is unusually humid when compared with surrounding areas, with humidity levels often reaching 100% in summer. Lismore has 109.6 clear days annually.

Although no major environmental hazards affect the area, Lismore is renowned for frequent floods. One of the worst of these occurred in 1974, when waters rose to a height of 12.1 metres (40 ft). In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh almost became flood-bound by one such inundation when they were staying at the Gollan Hotel.[8] Following a flood in 2001, the then Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, initiated a flood levee program to curb the problem.[9] Nonetheless, around 3000 residents of Lismore were evacuated after floods affected much of the area on 30 June 2005,[10] many being temporarily housed on the campus of Southern Cross University. However, a new levee that had been completed two weeks prior limited damage and stopped the water reaching the central business area.

Lismore is often hit by severe storms in spring and summer. For example, there was a severe hailstorm on 9 October 2007. A tornado is an extreme rarity, but later that same month one struck nearby Dunoon. It was captured on video as it hit an electrical transformer station there.[11]

Climate data for Lismore
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.4
Average high °C (°F) 29.9
Average low °C (°F) 18.8
Record low °C (°F) 11.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 155.4
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 12.9 13.9 15.6 12.5 11.6 9.5 8.3 7.5 7.4 9.0 10.0 11.4 129.6
Average relative humidity (%) 58 61 60 58 59 56 51 46 45 50 51 55 54
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[12]


The City's population at the 2011 census was 45,800. There has been a steady growth in population from the 2001 and 2011 censuses. 2.6% of the total population are of indigenous Australian origin, totaling 1422 individuals. The median age is 36 years, one year above the state average of 35 years of age.

  • Urban population: 65% of people live in the urban areas of Lismore. The Goonellabah area has the largest urban population with 13,706 people or 32.72% of the total local government area and 50.74% of the total urban population.
  • Rural population: 5% of people live in the surrounding villages of Lismore. Modanville is the largest village population with 467 people. 30% of people live in rural areas.
  • Education: Lismore has 7,340 school-age children. 26 government primary schools are present in the area, 9 non-government primary schools (3 of which incorporate secondary schools), 3 government secondary schools and 2 non-government secondary schools.
  • Older persons: 12.8% of the population is over 65 years of age. The total number of persons over this age is 5,356. This represents an increase of 319 people, or 1.2% growth since 1996.
  • Youth: 19.9% of the population is between 12 and 24 years of age. The total number of persons in this age range is 8,314.
  • Ethnicity: 35,943 people in the area are of Australian origin. This represents a total of 85.8% of people in the entire area. In the urban areas, those born overseas are primarily from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Italy. In the rural areas, overseas origins are mainly the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, and Italy.

In the urban areas, the three most common languages, other than English, spoken at home are: Italian, Chinese, and German. In the rural areas the three most common languages, other than English, spoken at home are Italian, German, and Spanish. Another language commonly spoken is Hungarian.


The Northern Rivers Echo is a free weekly community newspaper for 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.

The commercial radio stations of Lismore are Triple Z (Hit Music) and 2LM 900 AM (also broadcast on 104.3FM). Both are run by Broadcast Operations Group. The community radio station is River FM 92.9 which offers an independent alternative media voice playing a diverse range of music. Other radio stations are JJJ 96.1 FM, Radio National 96.9 FM, Classic FM 95.3 and ABC North Coast 94.5 FM.

All major television Network channels are available in Lismore and in the general Northern Rivers region. The networks and the channels they currently broadcast are listed as follows:

Subscription television services are provided by Austar.

Sport and recreation

A number of well-known sporting teams represent the local area. One of them is the well known NRL club named the Gold Coast Titans and the Queensland Cup team Lismore Seagulls Lismore two Australian rules football team's Lismore Swans Football Club and Lismore Kangaroos Australian Football Club with the Lismore United as the Soccer Club plus Lismore Rugby Union Club, Lismore Bowls Club, Lismore Rowing Club, Lismore Sailing Club and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club.


The Norco Co-operative has its headquarters in Lismore. The main campus of Southern Cross University is in Lismore.


  • Southern Cross University is located in Lismore, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in disciplines including business and law, tourism, humanities and social sciences, creative and performing arts, education, environment, marine and forest sciences, engineering, health and human sciences, law and Indigenous studies. The University was established in 1994 and has campuses at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales and Gold Coast, Queensland.[13] The University has students from more than 80 countries around the world.[14]

Lismore and the surrounding area is home to a number of public and private schools, including:

Sister cities

Lismore formed a sister city relationship with the Japanese city of Yamatotakada in Nara Prefecture in 1963. The first such relationship established between Australia and Japan, it was initiated by Lismore-born Marist priest and writer Paul Glynn. Lismore is also a sister city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland.


  • Mayor Jenny Dowell
  • Member of Federal Parliament Kevin Hogan
  • Member of State Parliament Thomas George

Notable people


Lismore is featured in the first verse of the original version of "I've Been Everywhere" and also mentioned in the Midnight Oil song "Outside World".

See also


  1. ^ "Local Tribes", History of Lismore, Lismore City Council
  2. ^ a b "The Romance of Australian Place names".  
  3. ^ Map R.6.1246, N.S.W. State Archives
  4. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 8 July 2008. 
  5. ^ Lismore Floral Carnival 3rd – 10th September 1955 Programme, pamphlet, 1955.
  6. ^ Lismore 1960 September 3 – September 10 Floral Carnival Programme, pamphlet, 1960.
  7. ^ "MapMaker". Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  8. ^ Lismore, history and profile,
  9. ^ "Big wet forces thousands to flee" by Stephen Gibbs, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 July 2005
  10. ^ "Thousands evacuated as floods hit NSW". The New Zealand Herald. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "LISMORE (CENTRE STREET)". Climate statistics for Australian locations.  
  13. ^ A Brief History of SCU
  14. ^ SCU International Students
  15. ^ (1989) 63 Australian Law Journal 712.
  16. ^ "Wharton, Ronald Harry (1923–1983)". Encyclopaedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 2011-06-28. 
  17. ^ "Biographical memoirs – Ronald Harry Wharton". Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 2011-06-28. 

External links

  • Southern Cross University
  • Wireless Broadband News
  • Northern Rivers Echo newspaper
  • Northern Star newspaper
  • Lismore Radio
  • 2LM 900 AM
  • Lismore Plants and Vegetation
  • The Richmond River Historical Society
  • Collection of photographs of Lismore in 1995, National Library of Australia
  • Lismore Regional Gallery Artabase page
  • Northern Rivers Geology Blog – Lismore
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