By mid-March each year, the roads leading into and around this pretty country town are a purple haze with the flowering of the distinctive purple-toned tibouchinas, Alstonville‘s signature tree. Bred from the native lasiandra decades ago by a local man, the late Ken Dunstan, the tibouchina thrives on the rich volcanic soil of the Alstonville plateau and is available in a range of pinks, purples and whites plus miniature varieties.
Originally part of the Big Scrub, the area was opened up by cedar cutters in the mid-nineteenth century and was known as Duck Creek Mountain, after Duck Creek, which provided the original access, via the Richmond River from Ballina. Once the timber was gone, the land was cleared for farming by the pioneering settlers and the rich countryside and stunning escarpment view still draws potential residents dreaming of a country paradise.
The lush hinterland area is prime farmland producing macadamias, avocados, vegetables and tropical fruits, with constant pressure for rural land to become residential as the town develops. The township is picturesque, with the original main street featuring older-style buildings with coffee shops, antiques stores and arts and craft galleries. Two shopping centres offer a wide range of products and services, while the Russelton Estate is home to the industrial area with a range of industries including boat building and clothing manufacture.
The rainforest which originally covered the whole region can be seen in several areas, including an old growth forest in Victoria Park Nature Reserve, which has a boardwalk for easy access.
Population – 4725
Transport services – bus
Council – Ballina Shire