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Wollongong travel guide — Wollongong tourism and travel information

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about Wollongong

Wollongong is an industrial city located on the eastern coast of Australia in the state of New South Wales. It is 82km south of Sydney by rail in a part of the NSW South Coast known as the Illawarra. The name Wollongong is of Aboriginal origin and is said to mean "sound of the sea". Its nickname is "The Gong".

Wollongong geography

The City of Wollongong has a distinct geography. It lies on a narrow coastal plain flanked by the Tasman Sea to the east and a steep sandstone precipice known as the Illawarra Escarpment to the west. The coastal plain is widest in the south and narrowest in the north—to the north of Wollongong it becomes so narrow that the coastal road precariously hugs a cliffline and the Illawarra Railway must go through several tunnels to reach the Sydney metropolitan area. The Escarpment ranges between 500 and 2,500 feet above sea level, with locally famous mountains such as Mount Keira, Mount Kembla, Broker's Nose and Mount Murray. The Escarpment contains strata of coal measures, and the adit entrances to many coal mines have been established along the slopes of the Escarpment right throughout Wollongong. The plain itself is traversed by several short but flood-prone and fast-flowing streams and creeks such as Para Creek, Allans Creek and Mullet Creek. These plains consist of highly fertile alluvium, which made Wollongong so attractive to agriculturists in the nineteenth century. The coastline itself consists of many beaches characterised by fine pale gold-coloured sands; however, these beaches are sometimes interrupted by prominent and rocky headlands jutting into the sea. A large coastal saltwater lagoon called Lake Illawarra is in the southern part of the city, separated from the Tasman Sea by a long sandy spit. Just to the north of the lake is Port Kembla, a natural harbour that has been considerably expanded by human-made excavation and reclamation works.

Wollongong history

The area was originally inhabited by the Dharwal Aborigines. The first Europeans to visit the area were the navigators George Bass and Matthew Flinders who landed in Lake Illawarra in 1796. The first settlers in the region were cedar cutters in the early nineteenth century, followed by graziers in 1812. Charles Throsby established a stockman's hut in the area in 1815. The first land grants were made in 1816. Further settlers arrived and in 1834 a town was planned. A road down the Escarpment through Bulli Pass was built by convict labour in 1835-6. By 1856 Wollongong had a population of 864. The Illawarra Railway to Wollongong was completed in 1887, and now continues as far south as the town of Bomaderry on the Shoalhaven River.

The navigator George Bass first documented the Illawarra coal deposits in 1797. There have been many coalmines in the district. Australia's worst coal mining disaster occurred in 1902, at the Mount Kembla mine when an explosion killed 96 men.

Heavy industry was attracted to the region by the ready availability of coal. In 1928 Hoskins, later Australian Iron & Steel, started a steelworks at Port Kembla, a few kilometres south of Wollongong. The former Broken Hill Proprietary Company (now BHP Billiton after merging with Billiton) acquired AI&S in 1935, but has since spun-out their steel division as a separate company, now known as BlueScope Steel. The steelworks has grown to become a world-class flat rolled steel producer, operating as a fully integrated steel plant with a production of around 5 million tonnes per year. Other industries to have set up in the massive Port Kembla industrial complex—the largest single concentration of heavy industry in Australia—include a fertiliser plant, an electrolytic copper smelter (featuring the tallest chimney in Australia), a locomotive workshop, a coal export shipping terminal, a grain export shipping terminal and an industrial gases manufacturing plant.

Despite the decline of traditional manufacturing and blue-collar industries due to the abandonment of protectionist economic policies in the 1980s, many of these industrial installations still exist. This has not stopped Wollongong having the unenviable distinction of one of Australia's highest unemployment rates and rates of drug dependency. The city's economy is, however, on the rebound, thanks to diversification of economic activity including higher education, the fine arts, tourism, residential construction and eco-friendly electricity generation.

The Municipality of Wollongong was founded in 1859. It was incorporated as the City of Wollongong in 1942. The State Government forcibly amalgamated the City of Wollongong with the neighbouring Municipality of Northern Illawarra, the Shire of Bulli and the Shire of Central Illawarra to form the City of Greater Wollongong in 1947. Its name reverted to being simply the City of Wollongong in 1970. Its motto is "Urbs Inter Mare Montemque"—"City Between The Mountains And The Sea". Its corporate slogan is "City of Innovation".

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wollongong".

This city is also known as: Wollongong.

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