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Despite Captain Henry Rous exploring the Richmond River in the 'HMS Rainbow' in 1828, the area around present day Ballina remained unsettled by Europeans until the early 1840s. The rivers and deltas on the north coast were hard to navigate, the land was deemed not great for agriculture, and so settlement north of Sydney tended to be on the New England tablelands where they could tend their sheep and cattle runs.

However in the late 1830s, agricultural settlement of the Clarence and Richmond valleys started, with settlers travelling from the  inland New England tablelands; Guyra, Glen Innes, Armidale and Tenterfield. They started with sheep runs such as one by Capt Dumaresq who ran sheep at the present day town of Lismore. And they also ran cattle; Cassino cattle station was established in 1840, Monaltrie near Lismore in 1841, Wyangarie near Kyogle in 1842, and in 1844 William Wilson bought Dumaresq's property, ran cattle and named it Lismore. 

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