Clarence Valley Council

economic profile

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Clarence Valley Council area

About the area

Key Statistics


The Clarence Valley Council area is located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, about 600 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD and 300 kilometres south of the Brisbane CBD. The Clarence Valley Council area is bounded by the Kyogle Council area and the Richmond Valley Council area in the north, the Coral Sea in the east, Coffs Harbour City and Bellingen Shire in the south, and the Armidale Regional Council area, the Glen Innes Severn Council area and Tenterfield Shire in the west.

Economic Region

Included Areas

The Clarence Valley Council area includes the localities of Alice, Alumy Creek, Angourie, Ashby, Ashby Heights, Ashby Island, Banyabba (part), Barcoongere (part), Barretts Creek, Baryulgil, Billys Creek, Blaxlands Creek, Bom Bom, Bookram, Braunstone, Brooms Head, Brushgrove, Buccarumbi, Bulldog, Busbys Flat (part), Calamia, Calliope, Cangai, Carnham, Carrs Creek, Carrs Island, Carrs Peninsula, Chaelundi, Chambigne, Chatsworth, Clarenza, Clifden, Clouds Creek, Coaldale, Coldstream, Collum Collum, Coombadjha (part), Coongbar, Copmanhurst, Coutts Crossing, Cowper, Crowther Island, Dalmorton, Deep Creek, Diggers Camp, Dilkoon, Dirty Creek (part), Dumbudgery, Dundurrabin, Eatonsville, Eighteen Mile, Elland, Esk (part), Ewingar, Fine Flower, Fortis Creek, Freeburn Island, Gibberagee (part), Gilletts Ridge, Glenreagh, Glenugie, Goodwood Island, Grafton, Great Marlow, Gulmarrad, Gurranang, Halfway Creek (part), Harwood, Heifer Station, Hernani (part), Ilarwill, Iluka, Jackadgery, Jacky Bulbin Flat, James Creek, Junction Hill, Kangaroo Creek, Keybarbin, Kippenduff (part), Koolkhan, Kremnos, Kungala, Kyarran, Lake Hiawatha, Lanitza, Lavadia, Lawrence, Levenstrath, Lilydale, Lionsville, Louisa Creek, Lower Southgate, Maclean, Malabugilmah, Marengo, Micalo Island, Minnie Water, Moleville Creek, Mookima Wybra, Moonpar, Mororo, Mountain View, Mount Marsh (part), Mylneford, Newbold, Newton Boyd (part), Nymboida, Palmers Channel, Palmers Island, Pikapene, Pillar Valley, Pulganbar, Punchbowl, Ramornie, Rushforth, Sandon, Sandy Crossing, Seelands, Shannondale, Shark Creek, Sherwood (part), Smiths Creek, South Arm, South Grafton, Southampton, Southgate, Stockyard Creek, Swan Creek, Taloumbi, The Freshwater, The Gulf (part), The Pinnacles, The Sandon, The Whiteman, Towallum, Townsend, Trenayr, Tucabia, Tullymorgan, Tyndale, Tyringham, Ulmarra, Upper Copmanhurst, Upper Fine Flower, Warragai Creek, Warregah Island, Washpool, Waterview, Waterview Heights, Wells Crossing, Whiteman Creek, Wild Cattle Creek, Winegrove, Wombat Creek, Woodford Island, Woody Head, Wooli, Wooloweyah, Woombah, Yamba and Yuraygir.

Land Use

The Clarence Valley Council area is predominantly rural, with expanding residential areas and some industrial and commercial land uses. The Council area encompasses a total land area of 10,440 square kilometres, of which a significant proportion is National Park, State Forest and nature reserves, including beaches, rainforests, mountains and rivers. Much of the rural area is used for forestry, agriculture and grazing, including beef cattle and sugarcane growing. Fishing is also an important industry. In more recent years tourism has become a major industry, especially along the coast. Settlement is based around the main town of Grafton and the townships of Iluka, Maclean and Yamba, with many small villages and localities along the coast and inland. Smaller townships and villages include Alice, Angourie, Baryugil, Braunstone, Brooms Head, Clouds Creek, Coaldale, Copmanhurst, Coutts Crossing, Cowper, Dalmorton, Diggers Camp, Dundurrabin, Glenreagh, Gulmarrad, Jackadgery, Junction Hill, Minnie Water, Newton Boyd, Nymboida, Sandon, Tucabia, Ulmarra, Wooli, Wooloweyah and Woombah.

Name Origin

Clarence Valley is named after the Clarence River, which is named after the Duke of Clarence.

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of the Clarence Valley area were various Aboriginal groups.


European settlement dates from the 1830s when cedar timber cutters arrived. A village was established in Grafton from the 1850s, developing as the main town of the area. Land was used mainly for farming, including dairying, sugar cane plantations and maize. Towns developed along the Clarence River, becoming important river ports, while harbours were established at Iluka and Yamba. Growth took place in the late 1800s, aided by the break-up of large pastoral properties and the establishment of fishing and mining industries. The most significant development occurred in the post-war period, particularly from the 1960s when the tourism industry boomed. In the last few decades, population growth has been concentrated in coastal locations, although Grafton has retained its role as a regional centre. Since the early 1990s, the population of the Council area has grown slightly, rising from about 43,000 in 1991 to about 50,000 in 2011.

Major Features

Major features of the Council area include the Clarence River, Bundjalung National Park, Chaelundi National Park, Fortis Creek National Park, Gibraltar Range National Park, Guy Fawkes River National Park, Mount Pikapene National Park, Nymboida National Park, Nymboi-Binderay National Park, Ramornie National Park, Washpool National Park, Yuraygir National Park, Solitary Islands Marine Park, Banyabba Nature Reserve, Burnt Down Scrub Nature Reserve, Byrnes Scrub Nature Reserve, Chambigne Nature Reserve, Chapmans Peak Nature Reserve, Clarence Estuary Nature Reserve, Flaggy Creek Nature Reserve, Hortons Creek Nature Reserve, Iluka Nature Reserve, Koukandowie Nature Reserve, Mororo Creek Nature Reserve, Munro Island Nature Reserve, Sherwood Nature Reserve, Susan Island Nature Reserve, Tallawudjah Nature Reserve, Waragai Creek Nature Reserve, Woodford Island Nature Reserve, Yaegl Nature Reserve, Grafton Base Hospital, Maclean District Hospital, Grafton Shoppingworld, North Coast TAFE (Grafton, Maclean and Trenayr Campuses), Harwood Sugar Mill, Woombah Coffee Plantation, the Port of Yamba, numerous state forests and various beaches.


The Clarence Valley Council area is serviced by the Pacific Highway, the Gwydir Highway, the north coast railway line (with a station at Grafton) and Clarence Valley Regional Airport.

Clarence Valley Council

economic profile