Yamba, New South WalesEdit

YambaNew South Wales



Clarence Head lighthouse, Yamba



Coordinates 29°26′S 153°21′ECoordinates29°26′S 153°21′E
Population 5,514[1]
Postcode(s) 2464
Elevation 29 m (95 ft)
LGA(s) Clarence Valley Council
State electorate(s) Clarence
Federal Division(s) Page
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
23.3 °C

74 °F

15.4 °C

60 °F

1,452.3 mm

57.2 in

Yamba is a town in northern New South WalesAustralia at the mouth of the Clarence River. The first European to visit the area was Matthew Flinders, who stopped by in Yamba Bay for six days in July 1799.[2]

The town economy is strongly based on fishing and tourism, but has a diverse range of influences, due to the 'Sea Change' phenomena and the large amount of baby boomers who are starting to retire to the warmer climates.[3]

At the 2006 census, Yamba had a population of 5,514,[1] but as a popular tourist destination, it can triple its population in the holiday period. In 2009 Yamba was voted the number 1 town in Australia by Australian Traveller Magazine.[4]


In 1799 Matthew Flinders landed on the present southern headland at Yamba. He’d been despatched from Sydney to find a new Eden, but from his vantage point atop a craggy promontory, now Pilot Head, he dismissed the turbulent estuary as dangerous and unworthy of further examination, before sailing away. In 1830’s, timber harvesting commenced. in 1861, the Townsite was surveyed, and by October 1862 construction of the breakwater Clarence River Heads Post Office was completed. Originally named Shoal Bay and later in 1885, to be renamed Yamba with a population of approx 340.[10] In 1908 the Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club was formed, guesthouses and hotels arose, the region's fishing industry began to expand and sugar cane became an established crop. Riverboats and steamers that plied between Grafton and Sydney were gradually replaced by rail and better road connections and from the 1970s Yamba's appeal as a holiday resort started to impact on the people of both New South Wales and Southern Queensland.


There are two theories as to the meaning of Yamba, one being that it is the local Aboriginal word for "headland". However, J.S. Ryan, following R.L. Dawson's early Recollections and Records of the Clarence Aborigines, believes the most likely derivation is an Aboriginal word yumbah meaning a rough edible shellfish the size of a man's hand that clings to rocks and is similar to anoyster.[11]

Aboriginal CultureEdit

The Yaegl and Bundjalung people are traditional custodians of the coastal areas around Yamba, Iluka and Maclean. The ancestors of the present day Yaegl people lived around the mouth of the Clarence River and spoke the language Yaygirr. This language was closely related to Gumbaynggirr. There is evidence the Yaygirr had permanent settlements and a developed material culture.Matthew Flinders (1799) described large bark huts with rounded passageway entrances which protect dwellers from wind and rain. Similarly Captain Perry (1839) described canoes of a superior construction. (See Eleanor H McSwan’s ‘A history of Yamba and Iluka’)

Port of YambaEdit

[3][4]View of coastline to the North of Yamba, taken from Clarence Head lighthouse

Since 1 December 2011, The Port of Yamba has been managed by Sydney Ports Corporation, a corporation owned by the Government of New South Wales.[12] Major exports from the port is timber. There are regular general cargo services from Yamba to Lord Howe IslandNorfolk Island, and New Zealand.[13]

In year ended 30 June 2012, the port handled approximately 6,000 tonnes (5,900 long tons) of cargo and vessels up to 120 metres (390 ft) in length. In addition to the Port wharf, Yamba has privately owned slipway and repair wharves.[14]


Yamba is surrounded by Yuraygir National Park, the Clarence River, Pacific Ocean and rural land. The town is within reach of Ballina,Lismore and Grafton. Only two hours from Byron BayCoffs Harbour and the Gold Coast, three hours from Brisbane, and only a 2-hour flight from Sydney


Yamba boasts eleven beaches within the 2464 postcode. Whiting, Turners, Yamba (Main), Convent/McKittricks, Pippi, Flat Rock (Barri Point), and Barri (known locally as Dump Beach). Nearby beaches to the north include Woody Head, Iluka Bluff, Back Beach (Iluka), and to the south Green Point, Spooky, Angourie Bay, Angourie Point, Back Beach (Angourie), Shelley, Caves, and Plumbago. [1]


The town has a relaxed lifestyle with access to two pubs and two clubs, The Pacific Hotel and Yamba Shores Tavern; a Golf Club and a Bowling club all with regular live performances. Yamba also has sporting and recreation groups such as the Yamba Buccaneers rugby union club, Yamba/Angourie Boardriders and the Yamba Breakers football club, plus restaurants, eateries, cafes, internet facilities, cinema, primary schools, churches, swimming pools, surfing beaches, sports centre, golf course, library, post office, banks, bowling greens and a large deep-water marina.

Peak tourist seasons are Dec/Jan, Easter, mid year and October. Yamba is also home to the Lower Clarence and Surrounds FM Community Radio Station TLC FM 100.3

[5][6]A view of Main Beach, with the Yamba surf-lifesaving club in the centre and Pacific Hotel in the upper-right.

At the northern tip of Pippi beach is "Lovers Point Rock Wall". Between May - October whales can be seen passing by.[15] Dolphins are plentiful all around Yamba and can be observed swimming, surfing and fishing quite close to shore. Other attractions include Yamba Lighthouse also known as Clarence River Light, Story House museum, the ferry to Iluka on the northern banks, Yuraygir and BundjalungNational Parks and the surf beach at Angourie. There are also a number of local restaurants and boast cruises available. Popular activities include fishing, surfing, kayaking, bike riding and camping.[16]

Located at Ford Park on the 4th Sunday of every month, the Yamba River Markets showcases; local musicians, fresh produce from local farmers, food stalls as well as arts and craft tents. Once a year Yamba hosts "Surfing The Coldstream Festival". Delivering an outdoor community stage, with predominately root based music that is broad enough to excite the vast demographic of residents and visitors. The performers share their acts, drumming, dancing, cultural art exhibitions, food and amusement rides.



Buses run through Yamba. The nearest airport is Grafton Airport (YGFN) and there is a private airstrip on Palmers Island, just outside Yamba. Alternatively Yamba is serviced by Lismore Airport in Lismore with several daily flights to Sydney.


The local pre-school is Yamba Community Pre-School and Primary school facilities in the area include St James Catholic School and Yamba Public School . The nearest High School, Maclean High , is in Maclean .

Notable residentsEdit


  • The Daily Examiner
  • Coastal Views
  • The Clarence Valley Review
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