Alstonville, because of its very close proximity to Ballina would/could easily said to be an outer suburb of Ballina, but a visit to the town quickly dispels that potential assumption. Alstonville is certainly its own town, identity and community.
The village was originally known as "Duck Creek Mountain" after Duck Creek, which flows along the southern edge of town eventually merging with Emigrant Creek and the Richmond River. That name was given by the cedar cutters because of the abundance of wild duck on the upper tidal reaches of the creek. In 1873, due to conflict of the original name with a different duck creek the first postmaster and owner of the general store John Perry proposed the name "Alstonville". Alstonville, also the name of the Perry farm, was derived from Alston the maiden name of his wife Annie Alston.
Europeans were first attracted to the area, known as the ‘big scrub’, in the 1840s by the plentiful supply of Red Cedar. It was not until 1865 that the first settlers selected land in the area, then known as the parish of Tuckombil. By 1883 Alstonville boasted two pubs, six stores, two black-smiths, nine sugar mills, and four saw mills.
Sugar cane was an important industry to the early settlers, with many small mills operating across the district. From the 1890s onwards, dairies became common across the area, later becoming the dominant industry for the first half of the 20th century. Due to lack of refrigeration, cream, not milk, was the product of interest, which was transported to local factories to be made into butter.
Alstonville is a slight diversion town from Ballina. The likelihood for the traveller and the town being visited on the Ballina to Lismore route is remote. That said Alstonville has lots of qualities that invite a visit.