North Bellingen RFS - Building Community Resilience

North Bellingen workshop

Local Government Area: Bellingen Shire Council


The Bellingen region, nestled in the lush heartland of the New South Wales North Coast, is a captivating blend of natural beauty, artistic expression, and sustainable living. Surrounded by the Dorrigo National Park's World Heritage-listed rainforests, this area is a haven for nature lovers, offering breathtaking waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and serene riverbanks perfect for kayaking and picnicking. 

Bellingen is located in the Mid North Coast region of NSW, about 500 kilometres (311 miles) north of Sydney and 220 kilometres (137 miles) south of Brisbane. It is a coastal town situated on the Bellinger River, just off the Pacific Highway. 

Bellingen, the main town, exudes a bohemian charm with its tree-lined streets, historic buildings, and a vibrant arts and crafts scene. The community hosts regular markets, showcasing local artisans, musicians, and organic produce. This creative spirit permeates the region, fostering a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

Beyond its cultural richness, Bellingen is renowned for its commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable practices. The community embraces eco-friendly initiatives, from organic farming to renewable energy projects, creating a green oasis where residents and visitors coexist harmoniously with nature. 

Additionally, Bellingen's strong indigenous heritage is honoured through various cultural events and the recognition of the Gumbaynggirr people, the traditional custodians of the land. With its scenic landscapes, artistic endeavours, environmental consciousness, and cultural diversity, the Bellingen region stands as a testament to the harmonious blending of human creativity and natural splendour. 

Significant bushfires in the last 8 years:

  • 2020: The Black Summer bushfires burned across large parts of Australia, including the Bellingen Shire. Over 40,000 hectares of land were burned, with significant damage to property and infrastructure. 

  • 2018: The Dorrigo Mountain bushfire burned for over two weeks, destroying 10 homes and damaging many others. 

  • 2017: The Bellinger River bushfire burned for over a week, destroying 6 homes and damaging many others. 

  • 2016: The Bellingen Valley bushfire burned for over two weeks, destroying 4 homes and damaging many others. 

FOCUS: North Bellingen Rural Fire Service 

The North Bellingen Rural Fire Service (RFS) is a volunteer organisation that provides fire protection services to the community of North Bellingen, New South Wales. The brigade is made up of a group of dedicated individuals who are trained to respond to a variety of emergencies, including bushfires, structure fires, and motor vehicle accidents. 

The North Bellingen RFS plays a vital role in protecting the community from the threat of bushfires. The brigade is responsible for conducting regular fire prevention activities, such as hazard reduction burns and community education programs. The brigade also responds to bushfires that occur in the area, working tirelessly to contain and extinguish them. 

In addition to its fire protection services, the North Bellingen RFS also provides a range of other community services. The brigade is often called upon to assist with search and rescue operations, and its members are also involved in a number of community events and initiatives. The North Bellingen RFS is a valuable asset to the community, and its members are committed to providing the best possible service to the people of North Bellingen. 

Workshop date:  29 November 2023 

Number of Attendees: 73 

Partners: North Bellingen Rural Fire Service, Bellingen Shire Council, Bellingen Neighbourhood Care Group, Mid North Coast Joint Organisation, NSW Health. 

Hear from North Bellingen RFS, residents and community groups about their Simtable experience: