Bonalbo, New South Wales
Bonalbo, a rural village in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, is located 815 kilometres (506 mi) north-east of Sydney. In 2006, it had a population of 313 people. The town's name derives from the Gidabal word bunawalbu meaning "bloodwood trees".
The first European settler in the area was J.D. McLean, a Scots settler who drove his sheep up from the Hunter Valley in 1841 when the depression struck. He established the 'Bunalbo' or Duck Creek run and later became a major pastoralist and the treasurer of Queensland. The Robertson Land Act of 1861 opened the territories up to free selectors (small landowners) but it was not until 1887 that the first, Donald McIntyre, took up a section of the old station, although the Robertson family had selected various sections themselves, possibly prior to 1880. It was at this time that cedar-getters first moved into the area.
Bonalbo township later developed on a part of McIntyre's holding which fronted on to Peacock Creek. However, the depression of the 1890s drove a number of selectors away, including McIntyre who sold his land to Paddy McNamee. New selectors appeared in the 1900s when McNamee proved the land was arable and when sawmills opened up west of the range. By 1910 there were about 100 selectors in the area living on densely timbered land and with no roads to facilitate access to the wider world. Land was purchased from McNamee and the township was established in 1911 with McNamee building and owning the butcher's shop, hotel and billiard room. He may also have built the post office and hall.
In the 1920s, a railway branch line was intended to connect Casino with Bonalbo, but construction was abandoned due to the advent of the Second World War. Historically the town's economy was supported by dairy farming and the timber industry, however both the sawmill and milk factory have been closed for several decades. The current population of the town and surrounding area's is around 500 people.
Bonalbo is a very pretty little town, with amenities which are attractive to retirees. The village has a hospital, ambulance station, chemist, supermarket, a Newsagency & service station, a pub with motel rooms, a bowling and recreation club featuring a challenging nine hole golf course and tennis courts. All amenities are within walking distance of the centre of town. Jacqui Lawrence, a slalom kayaking Olympic Silver medalist,[when?] attended Bonalbo Central School.
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