News

Black Head remains an eyesore

WASTELAND: What can be done to Black Head in Ballina, which looks like a wasteland following quarrying in the 1960s?
WASTELAND: What can be done to Black Head in Ballina, which looks like a wasteland following quarrying in the 1960s? Graham Broadhead

IT'S Ballina's historical eyesore - a blight on an otherwise beautiful coastline.

It's Black Head, the scene of what today would cause an environmental outcry if the events of the 1960s were to be repeated.

The headland at the northern end of Shelly Beach was quarried for basalt rock for several years from 1962 to provide rock to extend the North Wall.

And despite the best efforts of Ballina Shire Council and the Ballina Chamber of Commerce in the late 1960s and 1970s, restoration work was never carried out.

"Basalt found by council workers during formation of an ocean drive road brought a dramatic scenic change to Black Head as the Department of Public Works exploited the find in 1962 to make urgent repairs to the northern breakwater," former Northern Star editor Cliff Murray wrote in his history of local government, Across Three Bridges, in 1983.

The car park area at Black Head is not part of the natural landscape: "The plan of the Department of Public Works in 1964 to extend the Black Head quarry involved pushing the overburden into the sea," Mr Murray wrote.

When work finished, the then Ballina Municipal Council approved a proposal for the Black Head area to be terraced and levelled for a beautification plan.

A mayoral minute by Alderman Ray O'Neill in November 1969 - which came after the Department of Public Works advised it was not prepared to do the restoration work suggested by the council - said that the quarry work had resulted in the headland being completely changed in character and left as an untidy memorial to work done elsewhere (North Wall).

"The council would not have given its first blessing (to approve the quarry work) if it had been aware of the ultimate scale of the work and the disfigurement of the headland," Ald O'Neill wrote.

He said the Department of Public Works had "a moral responsibility to leave the headland in a presentable state".

Mr Murray wrote that "40 years after Charles Kingsford Smith made his Pacific flight landfall at Black Head, the Ballina Chamber of Commerce in July 1968 gained council co-operation for a commemorative plaque to be erected.

"The Department of Lands came into the picture in December 1969 with a request to the Department of Public Works to complete its removal of stone by 1972 ... and then restore the area."

In September 1971, plans were sent to the Department of Public Works for landscaping, revegetating and an access road.

Also in 1971, the Chamber of Commerce again asked that Black Head be restored "for tourist and historical needs as a memorial to the landfall by Kingsford Smith".

A 1971 Northern Star editorial headed "Restoration work on eyesore overdue" said: "The scar left at Black Head is an eyesore for which the whole blame rests with the Department of Public Works.

"If mining had been done by commercial enterprises, the restoration work would have been laid squarely on the line."

Mr Murray wrote in his final chapter on the whole Black Head quarry affair: "In 1983, there is still a need for the full restoration project to be done." In 2013, still nothing has been done.



Search for man missing in floodwater has been suspended

A man has been washed down a creek after trying to cross Martin Bridge at Larnook.

A man is clinging to a tree after trying to cross floodwaters

Tweed council date confirmed

Tweed residents will elect a new council on October 29 after candidate death forced reschedule.

Tweed to head to polls on October 29 after candidate death delay

Tweed deluge breaks rainfall records

Harrison Powick and Amy van den Akker have some fun at Murwillumbah after heavy rain.

August average rainfalls demolished.

Latest deals and offers

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

Single-day tickets on sale for each date of Falls Festival

LAUNCH: The Avalanches' Robbie Chater and Tony Diblasi were the official DJs at the Byron Bay launch of Falls Festival 2016/17.

Find out when is each artist playing this year in Byron Bay

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep