How beer inspired the name of this Northern Rivers village

THERE are plenty of stories behind place names in Ballina Shire, but the good people of Pimlico can take pride, or maybe have a laugh, that the name of their locality is taken from a beer.

That's according to Newcastle's Benita Parker who has written a book on the history of the rural locality covering the period 1842-1962.

She was raised in the area, with her parents, Peter and Vida Brown owning a cane farm.

But Benita left Pimlico to go to teachers' college in 1956, and hasn't lived in the area since, but returned regularly to Ballina Shire which she said was "still home".

Her 300-page book titled Pimlico: Where's that?, with 91 family names featured, notes newspaper reports from 1902 which retell the story from pioneers of how Pimlico got its name.

PIMLICO HISTORY: Benita Parker has written a book on the history of Pimlico which will be launched next month.
PIMLICO HISTORY: Benita Parker has written a book on the history of Pimlico which will be launched next month. Graham Broadhead

She said the vessel Sally, which sailed up the Richmond River in 1842 with its crew in search of cedar trees, got beached in the river.

Those on board took the opportunity in waiting for the tide to turn to get off the vessel.

She cites reports of the female passengers using the time for domestic duties like washing clothes, while the men enjoyed an ale or two.

And the beer they had on board was Pimlico ale. Pimlico also is a town in England.

Benita has been working on the book for two years.

It's been an idea she had since retiring from her work as a history/English teacher.

The late Rose Leeson, who was a well known identity in the Pimlico/Wardell area, had been encouraging Benita to write the book.

It was Rose's passing that was the "sad trigger" to get the project done.

She had previoulsy co-authored a book on a former timber village in the Port Stephens area, which now doesn't exist, and that also added to the motivation to record the history of Pimlico in the period from 1842 to 1962.

The initial research of local families, with Benita planning to use World War I honour rolls as a starting point, was hampered as the Pimlico honour roll has not been able to be located.

Benita then took her research to the Australian War Memorial to find names of soldiers from Pimlico.

But she said that was difficult as, in the early days, the name Pimlico was used for thre areas on both sides of the Richmond River from about the Burns Point ferry through to Wardell.

However, she has come up with a list of soldiers from the area to create an honour roll, identifying those who definitely came from the area which we know today as Pimlico.

Benita is launching her self-published book on Saturday, October 26, at the Ballina RSL Club at 2pm.

To RSVP for that event, email her on bgparker@optusnet.com.au.