Alstonville or Duck Creek Mountain?
Victoria Park Nature Reserve
This reserve, 8km from the cottages is also part of the Big Scrub subtropical rainforest. There is a pleasant boardwalk and if you are lucky you might see red-legged pademelons, potoroos, water rats and possums. For more information. https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/victoria-park-nature-reserve
“After travelling about for some time in search of a spot for establishing a small sugar plantation, I decided upon settling down upon the Duck Creek, Table-land.This place is six miles due west from Ballina or Rich-mond River Heads, and has the sea breeze in summer to cool the temperature. We are at present in the middle of winter, the climate is salubrious, and alto-gether it is a delightful place.To reach here from Ballina we take boat for four miles on the Richmond into Emigrant and Duck Creeks, up which we have to pull for another six miles.Leaving the boat at Uralla, we ascend the ranges by a gradual rise of from 300 to 400 feet above the sea, and this table-land is reached. It is about twelve miles broad and about fifty miles long. The soil is of a rich red or chocolate colour, and any depth, from six to twenty feet and more. It is well drained by numerous mountain streams, the scenery being very picturesque.I have seen five waterfalls, ranging from 25 to 80 feet in height. The large one makes a noise like the sea at Bondi in an easterly gale” Settler in 1870.
Sugar cane was an important industry to the early settlers, with many small mills operating across the district.” the land up here cannot be surpassed for richness. We are out of the reach of any flood, the soil is well watered, and drained by nature, and the climate is one of the best for the growth of sugar, arrowroot, maize, ginger, &c.” 1870 article
Sugar cane is still a major industry in this area and the burning off at night is a spectacular site. The Broadwater Sugar Mill is situated on the Richmond River south of Ballina. It commenced operations in 1881 and by the 1890’s was crushing 900 tons of cane per day and was the most important sugar factory in Australia. http://sunshinesugar.com.au/16-information/nswsm-about-us/8-broadwater-mill
Other crops were grown on the rich soil leading down to the creek and signs of allotments divided up by rock walls are still evident. Bananas and smaller crops were all planted here without the aid of any machinery.
Avocados and Macadamias
Dairies have now mainly been surpassed in the Alstonville area by horticulture with peaches, avocados and macadamia nuts being grown in abundance on the rich volcanic soil. Avocado processing can be seen by the public at http://www.summerlandhousefarm.com.au and Macadamia processing at https://mpcmacs.com.au/.`
Crawford House Museum
More history of the area and of local families can be found at the Crawford House Museum in the centre of Alstonville. Originally the home of William Ambrose Crawford, it is a fine example of an elegant Federation-era northern NSW timber house, built in 1911. http://aphsmuseum.org.au/.
Come and visit Alstonville and Duck Creek and discover the history for yourself