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Community, Business and Visitor Guide

Alstonville Local History

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Alstonville is a historic town located in the northern rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. The town, situated on the plateau of the Alstonville Plateau, was once referred to as "Duck Creek Mountain." The name Alstonville is said to have been derived from the surname of a Scottish family called Alston, who were the earliest settlers of the area.

The earliest known inhabitants of the Alstonville area were the Widjabal people, who were part of the larger Bundjalung nation. These Indigenous people are said to have lived in the area for thousands of years before European settlers arrived.

European settlement of the area began in the early 1840s when cedar cutters made their way into the area. By the mid-1850s, the Alstonville area had become an important centre for farming, with crops including maize, sugarcane, potatoes, and tobacco being grown.

One of the most significant events in the history of Alstonville occurred in 1868 when William Robert Babbage, a successful sugar grower and politician, decided to open a sugar mill in the town. The mill, which was named the Rous Sugar Mill, was one of the largest and most successful sugar mills in Australia at the time.

Over the years, Alstonville continued to be an important centre for agriculture, with dairy farming becoming particularly popular in the early 20th century. In the years following World War II, tourism also became an important industry for the town, with visitors attracted by its beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere.

Today, Alstonville remains a small but thriving town with a rich history and a strong sense of community. Visitors to the area can explore its many historic sites, including the Rous Sugar Mill, which has been preserved as a museum, and the Crawford House Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the Alstonville area. They can also take part in a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and camping, in the surrounding national parks and nature reserves.

Overall, the town of Alstonville is a testament to the resilience of the people who have lived in the area over the centuries. From the Indigenous Widjabal people to the European settlers and the modern-day residents, the town has been shaped by the people who have called it home, and it continues to be a source of pride and inspiration for those who live there today.

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