Captain Henry Rous charted the coast in the 'HMS Rainbow'. He sailed up the Richmond River for around 22 miles and noted dense timber.
Cedar cutters came overland from the Clarence valley. They came for the cedar and went back for their wives and family who arrived on the 'Sally' in 1842. They established a small settlement at Bullinah or Bulloona above Shaws Bay. It was originally called Deptford.
The township of Ballina at the mouth of the Richmond River was laid out by the surveyor Peppercorn. In his survey, the town was named 'Woolwhich'. Aborigines referred to the area as Bullinah or Bul-loona. Settlers started calling it the aboriginal name and it was probably Irish settlers who called it Ballina after the same named town in Ireland. The town was proclaimed Ballina on 7th November 1856 (Hobbs, 2004).
Agitation started for a railway link to Ballina. Ballina was served by 5 hotels, a co-operative butter factory, the Hutton's Bacon Factory, markets and saleyards for pig and cattle. A group called the Ballina to Booyong Railway League was formed to push for the line.
Opening of the Ballina Hospital.
Building of the breakwaters commenced in 1889 and completed in 1912. The rock was quarried from Rileys Hill (just south of Broadwater) and brought by river barge. The building was carried out in stages. The southern breakwall started first and finished last.
In 1895 dredging of the North Creek canal commenced and it opened in 1896. The canal linked North Creek to Fishery Creek. Building of the canal meant that cane punts could proceed directly to the Richmond River and didn't have to cross the dangerous Ballina bar.
Governor of NSW visits the Richmond River District. . He arrived in Ballina by boat, there was a procession down the main street, and was given a civic reception.
The first sod was turned at the proposed site of the Ballina railway station in Tweed St, for the building of the Booyong to Ballina railway line. It was celebrated in great style after more than 30 years of agitating government. There was a procession, including floats, that went from the golf links to the proposed site of the Ballina station. Floats included a life sized locomotive and and a fire engine pulled by two horses (Hobbs, 2004)
Construction started on the Booyong to Ballina rail line. Culverts, bridges and embankments were all built by horse and dray.
Opening of the Booyong to Ballina rail line on 25th August 1930. It opened with not a lot of enthusiasm and cost about 417,000 pounds which was about three times its initial estimate.
Closing of the Booyong to Ballina rail line on 12 th January 1948. It lasted just over 18 years. It unfortunately never made a profit and was scorned by the people who promoted its construction.