Bellingen ShireEconomic profile
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Bellingen Shire

About the area

Name origin

Bellingen is thought to be named from a word meaning "cheeky fellow" or "a loud mouth person who talks too much".

Location and boundaries

Bellingen Shire is located on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, about 550 kilometres north of Sydney and 400 kilometres south of Brisbane. Bellingen Shire is bounded by Coffs Harbour City in the north, the Coral Sea in the east, Nambucca Shire in the south, and the Armidale Regional Council area and the Clarence Valley Council area in the west.

Included areas

Bellingen Shire includes the townships and localities of Bellingen, Bielsdown Hills, Bostobrick, Brierfield, Brinerville (part), Cascade, Darkwood, Deer Vale, Dorrigo, Dorrigo Mountain, Fernbrook, Fernmount, Gleniffer, Kalang, Kennaicle Creek (part), Megan, Mylestom, Never Never, North Dorrigo, Raleigh, Repton, Spicketts Creek, Tallowwood Ridge, Thora, Urunga, Valery and Valla (part).

Economic region
Bellingen Shire

Land use

Bellingen Shire is a predominantly rural area, with several small townships and villages. The main townships are Bellingen and Urunga, with a smaller township at Dorrigo, and villages at Fernmount, Mylestom, Raleigh and Repton. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 1,600 square kilometres, with more than half of the land being national parks and state forests. Rural land is used largely for dairy farming, timber production and potato growing. Tourism is also an important industry.


The Shire is served by the Pacific Highway, Waterfall Way and the north coast railway line.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1830s, with land used mainly for timber cutting and sheep grazing. Population was minimal until the 1860s. Growth took place during the late 1800s and early 1900s, particularly in the township of Bellingen. Land then became used more for dairy farming. Growth resumed from the 1970s, with the population of the Shire growing from about 7,200 in 1976 to over 10,000 in 1986, and then to about 11,700 in 1991. The population increased slightly to about 12,000 in 1996, and then was relatively stable to 2011.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Bellingen area were the Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people.