Bellingen Shire is located on the Mid North Coast of NSW halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and just south of Coffs Harbour. It has a total area of 1,605 square kilometres with a coastline of approximately 10km. The region is renowned for its ecological diversity with State Forests and National Parks covering over 53% of the local government area.
The shire consists of three broad topographical areas incorporating the seaboard around Mylestom, Repton and Urunga, the valleys of the Bellinger and Kalang rivers and the Dorrigo plateau landscapes. Each has its own characteristics and provides a choice in cultural and natural diversity.
The Shire is a lifestyle region with an emphasis on cultural vibrancy, liveability and social cohesion. It has diverged over the years and is now a mix of traditional and non-traditional farming. Many of today's residents are artists, craftspeople, writers, musicians and horticulturalists, with approximately 12.1% of employed residents having established home-based activities. In 2022, the Household services sector accounted for 43.9% of employment in Bellingen Shire. The importance of this sector has increased over the last 10 years (36.8% in 2012)
Bellingen Shire is an "economy in transition." While the traditional industry base of timber, dairying, potato and meat processing are essential to the economic health of the Shire, emerging and developing industries include tourism which is underpinned by the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, national parks, cultural attractions and a successful events sector. Aquaculture, agribusiness/processing, arts and cultural industries, organics and regional cuisine and aged care have also developed.
The events sector is also part of this "creative" economy. The renowned annual Camp Creative, Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Bellingen Music Festival, Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival all add to the Shire's already buzzing cultural life. The vibrant monthly Bellingen Markets also provides an opportunity to showcase our people and culture.
Tourism is strengthened by the fantastic climate, a stunning environment, café, market and festival culture and access to a wide range of tourism and recreational opportunities. For lifestyle you can choose the Dorrigo plateau, rural areas, town convenience or beachside living.
• The population estimate for Bellingen Shire for 2022 is 13,219. Since the previous year, the population has grown by 0.31%. Population growth in Regional NSW was 0.83%.
• From 2016 to 2021, Bellingen Shire's population increased by 578 people (4.6%). This represents an average annual population change of 0.9% per year over the period.
• In 2021, 4% of the Shire's population identified as of Indigenous origin (compared to 0.6% in 2016).
Analyse the population characteristics of your community, understand how they have changed over time and how they compare to other areas.
The profile presents data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census of Population and Housing in 2021,2016,2011, 2006, 2001, 1996 and 1991 for the local government area. This data is presented in easy to use tables, charts and commentary covering a wide range of Census questions.
The profile answers the majority of frequently asked socio-demographic questions and assists all stakeholders to become more informed about the community.
View the Bellingen Shire Community Profile
Why Local Government matters to Bellingen
Presents key socio-demographic characteristics for the area as interactive maps.
Based on data from the 2021 Census of Population and Housing (Australian Bureau of Statistics), each map is prepared using Census Collector Districts providing the finest level of detail to help identify spatial patterns and trends in the area.
View the Bellingen Shire Community Atlas