Lismore, New South Wales

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New South Wales
Lismore from helicopter, overlooking the Bruxner Highway and Lismore CBD
Lismore is located in New South Wales
Coordinates28°49′0″S 153°17′0″E / 28.81667°S 153.28333°E / -28.81667; 153.28333Coordinates: 28°49′0″S 153°17′0″E / 28.81667°S 153.28333°E / -28.81667; 153.28333
Population27,569 (2016)[1]
Elevation12 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

Lismore is a city 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. According to the 2016 Australian Census, the population in the Lismore urban centre was 27,569.[1]


The city of Lismore lies in the Bundjalung people's nation area.[2] 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."[3]

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. Mrs. Wilson named the property after the small island of Lismore, one of the Inner Hebrides in Loch Linnhe, Argyleshire.[4]

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;[5] 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.[6] Lismore was incorporated as a municipality on 5 March 1879, and was eventually proclaimed a city on 30 August 1946.[7] 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.[8]

Heritage listings[edit]

Lismore has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Lismore and surrounding towns were once part of the rainforest referred to as the "Big Scrub", of which less than one percent remains following 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.[12] 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.[13]

In 1999 a government-funded scheme to protect the CBD and South Lismore from a 1-in-10-year flood event was approved; this proposal would mean that most of the smaller floods would not enter the central area of Lismore and substantially improve the time available for the evacuation of residents and the business community in larger floods.[14] Nonetheless, around 3000 residents of Lismore were evacuated after floods affected much of the area on 30 June 2005,[15] many being temporarily housed on the campus of Southern Cross University. However, the new levee that had been completed two weeks prior limited damage and stopped the water reaching the Central Business District.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie in March 2017, Lismore was again badly affected by flooding of up to 3.5 metres (11 ft) through all CBD businesses. Wilsons River reached 11.6 metres (38 ft) and the levee was overtopped for the first time since its completion.[16][17]

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.[18]

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 afternoon relative humidity (%) 58 61 60 58 59 56 51 46 45 50 51 55 54
Source #1: Bureau of Meteorology[19]
Source #2: For February record high: Weatherzone[20]


According to the 2016 census of Population, there were 27,569 people in Lismore.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 6.2% of the population.
  • 83.3% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were England 2.0%, New Zealand 1.0%, Philippines 0.5%, Italy 0.4% and Germany 0.4%.
  • 87.5% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Italian at 0.7%.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 31.0%, Catholic 22.2% and Anglican 14.8%.[1]


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 Northern Rivers Echo is a free weekly community newspaper for Lismore, Alstonville, Wollongbar, Ballina, Casino, Nimbin and Evans Head.

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.


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;[21] the University has students from more than 80 countries around the world.[22]

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

Sport and recreation[edit]

Lismore is a strong-hold of Association Football, with six clubs affiliated with Football Far North Coast being located in Lismore and near surrounds:

  • South Lismore - formed in 1943
  • Lismore Workers - formed as Eastwood in 1949
  • Lismore Thistles - formed in 1958
  • Richmond Rovers - formed in 1961
  • Italo Stars - formed in 1966
  • Goonellabah - formed in June 1969

The Lismore Marist Brothers Rams is the local rugby league club that competes in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League competition.

The Albert Park complex is home to the Far North Coast Baseball Association and Lismore is considered one of the strongest centres for Baseball in Australia.[23]

Sister cities[edit]

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.


Notable people[edit]

Notable people from or who have lived in Lismore include:

In popular culture[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Lismore (Urban Centres and Localities)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 November 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Local Tribes", History of Lismore, Lismore City Council
  3. ^ "The Romance of Australian Place Names". The Australian Women's Weekly. 13 May 1964. p. 45. Retrieved 3 August 2019 – via Trove.
  4. ^ "Early History of Lismore". The Northern Star. 16 May 1894. p. 6. Retrieved 1 August 2017 – via Trove.
  5. ^ Map R.6.1246, N.S.W. State Archives
  6. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 8 July 2008.
  7. ^ Lismore Floral Carnival 3rd – 10th September 1955 Programme, pamphlet, 1955.
  8. ^ Lismore 1960 September 3 – September 10 Floral Carnival Programme, pamphlet, 1960.
  9. ^ "Colemans Bridge over Leycester Creek". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01463. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Lismore Railway Station group". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01180. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Lismore railway underbridges". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01044. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  12. ^ "MapMaker". Archived from the original on 25 March 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  13. ^ Lismore, history and profile,
  14. ^ "Flooding Information: A Short History of Flooding in Lismore" by Lismore City Council , 2017
  15. ^ "Thousands evacuated as floods hit NSW". The New Zealand Herald. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  16. ^ "NSW flooding: Lismore ordered to evacuate, Murwillumbah residents stuck on roofs". ABC News. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  17. ^ Hansen, Jane (2 April 2017). "Cyclone Debbie aftermath: Lismore floods tear heart out of city business zone". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Recent Australian Tornadoes, Waterspouts and Funnel Clouds",, accessed 3 August 2019
  19. ^ "Lismore (Centre Sreet)". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  20. ^ Over 40 Temperature Records Broken over the Weekend by Joel Pippard, Weatherzone, 13 February 2017
  21. ^ A Brief History of SCU
  22. ^ SCU International Students
  23. ^ Clark 2003, p. 70.
  24. ^ Feain, Dominic "WikiLeaks founder's Lismore roots," Northern Star, 29 July 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  25. ^ "Celebrating the Achievements of our Past Students", Education Directorate, ACT Government, archived from the original on 30 January 2017, retrieved 30 January 2017
  26. ^ "Local heroes go back to school". The Northern Rivers Echo. 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  27. ^ Baxter, Rob (7 December 2016). "Baseball History: 15 more don green and gold". The Northern Star. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  28. ^ (1989) 63 Australian Law Journal 712.
  29. ^ Priestly, Angela: Business Bosses, no. 9: James Strong Archived 3 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine, The Power Index, Private Media, 7 June 2012.
  30. ^ "Wharton, Ronald Harry (1923–1983)". Encyclopaedia of Australian Science. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  31. ^ "Biographical memoirs – Ronald Harry Wharton". Australian Academy of Science. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.


External links[edit]