Ballina & Richmond River GenWeb
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and the Richmond River area are rich in heritage
and still have some wonderful old buildings as a reminder
of our heritage and early ancestors. We will endeavour
to list as many as we can, complete details of the buildings
and photo's where possible.
old Ballina Council Chambers was a weather board house
located on the corner of Crane & Cherry Streets.
It was relocated to provide adequate space for the new
Ballina Council Chambers, which was opened in 1927.
The new Council Chambers was constructed from brick
which was made at the brickyard at the base of the Ballina
The new Council Chambers is now called the Old Council
Chambers. A large New Council Chambers has been erected.
The Old Council Chambers is now used as offices.
Richmond River Heads Post Office was established at Ballina
1st, 1856. William Clements was the first in charge. A weekly
operated by horseback between Ballina & Casino. Naturally
mail services improved over the years, as shipping increased.
Edmund Ross was appointed Post Master on 1st April 1858 &
was assisted by Ellen Ross. The Post Office was located at the
Ross home & store. On
1st May 1868, the name of the Post Office was changed from Richmond
River Heads to Ballina Post Office & 1872, a branch of the
Government Savings Bank was opened at the Post Office.
petition, asking to move the Post Office to West Ballina,
was presented by residents in 1879. The Postal Inspector informed
the population that a site on the wharf reserve, next to the
old & new Court Houses would be ideal for both Ballina
& West Ballina people to access. The site was, in fact,
on the corner of Martin & River Streets & was reserved
for the erection of a Postal building.
A public meeting was held in 1880, pushing for the construction
of a new Post & Telegraph building, for which funding
(1 200 pounds) had been made available. In the same year,
the Post Office was moved to the store of Thomas Mobbs, near
the Court House. On April 20th of that year, Thomas Mobbs
was appointed Post Master.
Elizabeth Hunter (wife of the telegraph station master) became
Post Mistress on 1st May 1882. In July of the same year, a
tender for the construction of the Post Office building (to
cost 1 762 pounds) was accepted, from J. W. Burless. There
must have been delays in the building of the Post Office.
In 1885, the building contract changed hands. For some reason,
new plans were prepared in 1886. Archibald Hunter was appointed
Post & Telegraph Master on 1st January 1886. Occupation
of the Post Office building did not take place until 16 June
1888. The Post Office Clock was provided by a Sydney watch
maker named R. B. Smith. Mr Bousfield, previously Post Master
of Woodburn, became Post Master on 1st August 1986.
photo is of Fenwick house and the break walls in the
and bar as they appear today - photo taken July, 2002
Richmond River Bar and the
following information was written by Mrs Dorothy Southwell
after taping Mrs Eileen Boorman's life experiences.
Richmond River Bar:
Boats would come to the mouth of the Richmond
River, but they couldn't cross the bar & they would
be bar bound for days on end & the town short of
provisions. The river mouth entrance stretched from
the lighthouse hill right up to Norton Street. People
began talking about making a breakwall to control the
bar. My father knew all of the country around the Richmond
River. When two men came up from Sydney, Dad was asked
to take them to what was called Riley's Hill. He knew
there was a hill of good solid rock up there & it
was decided it was good enough to build a breakwater
at Ballina. They drew up plans & it was commenced
when I was very young. [Eileen was born May 5th 1888
-- Eileen May Stone] My father had a farm which he had
been living on, so he engaged a Norwegian couple to
work the farm & brought his horse into Ballina.
[Eileen's parents were Richard Stone & Martha
They started blasting for rock at Riley's Hill. They
built a big wharf at Ballina over which was built a
crane for the purpose of lifting the stone off the punt.
The stone had been lifted from the quarry (Riley's Hill)
on to punts. There was a steam boat in the middle &
punts on each side laden with rock. The boat always
came down the river when the tide was going out so that
the force of water going over the bar would help her
along. At the wharf the crane came down over the stone
& lifted it onto the truck waiting there on the
rails. As the breakwater grew, rails were laid further
out. There came a time when a steam engine replaced
the horses drawing the trucks.
There were two break walls built, the North Wall &
the South Wall, but they were never completely finished.
The South Wall was supposed to go round in an arc to
the end of the North Wall. People said Ballina Bar would
always be treacherous because the North Wall did not
go out far enough & the South Wall did not go round
in an arc.
When the breakwater was being built, it was both hard
& arduous work. Those men who had control of the
train & the loading of the stone had to be very
careful there wasn't a crck in the stone. To my knowledge
there were two incidents on the railway & quite
a few on the breakwater.
The men who were hurt had to go into private homes.
My father said to my mother one Sunday morning "we'll
have to stir". From that day on he was untiring
in his efforts to get a hospital built in Ballina. I
can remember when the first load of timber was brought
down for the hospital. Dad would go down & examine
it to see if it was seasoned. He never ceased to look
after the hospital until it was opened. After it was
opened, all the men who were hurt on the breakwater
were able to go to hospital.
photo opposite is of Bartlett's Wharf, at Wardell. Edwin
Bartlett successfully ran a central store. It was a combined
Post Office, Saddlery, agent for the North Coast Steam
Navigation Company as well as the National Insurance
Company of New Zealand.
The store was established in 1886. At that time, Wardell
was a busy port, with two or three ships calling at
Bartlett's private wharf every week. Included were the
'Tomki' and the 'City of Grafton. Teams of horses took
cargo's from Wardell to Rous.
Please note: This photo was taken in July 2002, we are
not sure if it is the original wharf.
Ballina Manor in 1925!
Ballina Manor in July, 2002
The History of Ballina Manor
the First World War and with Ballina’s
population nearing 4000, the Methodist Church
purchased land in Cherry Street and later
in Crane Street, Ballina for the erection
of a Church and Parsonage.
1921 Rev.F.McGowan wrote “*The most
forward movement and one most urgently needed
is the proposed establishment of a Girls
College in Ballina. Plans were prepared
for a late Edwardian building in Crane Street,
Ballina, and a prospectus launched in 1923
when Rev.Hedley Parr, a man of dynamic personality,
organised a concert party tour of the North
Coast district for 3 months and solicited
many for the venture”.
the dream of the North Coast Girls College
was born and built in 1924/25. It was officially
opened by Mrs Earle Page, wife of the late
Sir Earle Page (Federal Member of Parliament
and the leader of the Country Party) on
16th September 1925. Regretfully, the North
Coast College only remained operational
until 1930. It was closed due to the lack
of boarders. The building then became a
guesthouse – known as the North Coast
Guesthome. During and after the Second World
War, its use changed to a boarding house
and then later in the 1960’s to flats.
conversion in the 1970’s saw a further
reduction in grandeur when the building
was converted to 16 flats with much use
of gyprock and fibro and closing in of all
verandahs. The name of “Sunnyhaven”
was given to the building.
1999 the building was auctioned (on behalf
of the estate of Mr Laundry) and Ballina
Shire Council had given in principle approval
for demolition of the building to enable
the land to be used for new unit development.
it was not to be. The property was purchased
by Jeff Champion (a former Mayor of Lismore)
and his wife, Diana, who had a dream for
the old North Coast Girls College. Ten months
later, with much hard work, untold amounts
of money and project managed by Jeff Champion
himself, Ballina Manor became a reality.
4th March 2000, approximately 75 years after
its original opening, Mr Don Page, State
Member for Ballina, and grandson of the
late Mrs Earle Page, officially opened Ballina
Manor. In attendance were 6 of the original
students from the North Coast Girls College
(now in their late 80’s), Mayors from
Ballina and Lismore, 1920’s cars from
the Northern Rivers Car Club and some 1400
people who came to inspect the property.
loved restoring Ballina Manor and we hope
you enjoy your time here..
and Diana Champion *Re: One Hundred Years
of Methodism Ballina Methodist Church
above information was kindly supplied by:
Ballina Manor (eMail)
25 Norton Street
Ballina NSW 2478
Tel 02 6681 5888 Fax 02 6681 1900
Queensland National Bank was opened in Wardell in
1922 & closed in 1949. For some time after this,
the bank opened several times a week as a branch
of the Ballina National Bank of Australia.
Copy of page originally transcribed by Mandy O'Neill (content remains unedited)
© 2010 BalliGenWeb