5 Things About Lismore, Australia (Eau Claire’s Sister City)
1. College Town
Lismore isn’t just the name of a new hotel in Eau Claire; it’s also a city Down Under that happens to be Eau Claire’s sibling. And like Eau Claire, it’s a mid-sized city with a great big college. Southern Cross University has about 15,000 students, while the city of Lismore has about 46,000 residents. SCU is a public research institutions that excels in fields such as zoology, geochemistry, and forestry.
Like Eau Claire, Lismore once was in the middle of the big woods, although in Lismore's case it was a subtropical rainforest known as the “Big Scrub” that covered a large area in the state of New South Wales. In the 19th century, Europeans felled most of the forest to make way for farms and settlements. (Sound familiar?) Now less than 1 percent of the region’s rainforest remains.
3. Confluence Community
Like its big sister in Wisconsin, Lismore sits on a confluence, with Wilsons River and Leycester Creek coming together in the city’s downtown. As with many river cities, Lismore has experienced flooding throughout its history, including a massive flood in 1954 that came just days after a visit from the young Queen Elizabeth II.
4. Musical Mention
Lismore is name-checked in the original (i.e., Australian) version of the country tune “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which rattles off dozens of colorful Aussie place names. You’re probably more familiar with the American adaptation, made famous by Johnny Cash and others (“Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota ...”).
5. Got Milk?
Lismore is located in a traditional dairying region, and is the headquarters of a large dairy co-op that operates an ice cream factory. However, far and away the biggest employers are in healthcare, retail, and education, so we’ve got those things in common, too.