City of Shoalhaven

The City of Shoalhaven is a local government area in the south-eastern coastal region of New South Wales, Australia. The area is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of Sydney. The area is located adjacent to the Tasman Sea. The Princes Highway passes through the area and the South Coast railway line traverses the northern section of the area and terminates at Bomaderry. At the 2016 census, the population of the City of Shoalhaven was 99,650.[1]

City of Shoalhaven
New South Wales
Location in NSW
Coordinates35°07′S 150°30′E
 • Density21.820/km2 (56.512/sq mi)
Established1 July 1948 (1948-07-01)
Area4,567 km2 (1,763.3 sq mi)
MayorAmanda Findley
Council seatNowra[3]
RegionIllawarra - South Coast
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)Gilmore
WebsiteCity of Shoalhaven
LGAs around City of Shoalhaven:
Goulburn Mulwaree Wingecarribee Kiama
Goulburn Mulwaree City of Shoalhaven Tasman Sea
Queanbeyan–Palerang Eurobodalla Tasman Sea

The City was established on 1 July 1948 as the Shoalhaven Shire following the amalgamation of the Municipalities of Nowra, Berry, Broughton’s Vale, Ulladulla, South Shoalhaven, and the shires of Cambewarra and Clyde.[4]

The Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council is Amanda Findley, who is a member of the Greens. She defeated the incumbent mayor Joanna Gash on preferences at the 2016 elections.


Modern-day tribal groupings of the Illawarra and South Coast Aborigines are based on information compiled by white anthropologists from the late 1870s. Two divisions were initially presented (refer Ridley, 1878), using geographical location and language, though these criteria are now expanded into five divisions and given Aboriginal names, as follows (after C.Sefton, 1983):

*Thuruwal (or Dharawal) - general name for the Aboriginal people of the area on the east coast of New South Wales from Botany Bay to Shoalhaven, and west to Berrima and Camden.

*Wodi-Wodi (or Wadi-Wadi) - a subdivision of Thuruwal, includes the Aboriginal people of the coast from Wollongong to the Shoalhaven.

*Gurandada and Tharumba (or Dharumba) - those people living around the Shoalhaven River.

*Wandandian - those people living south of the Shoalhaven River and north of Jervis Bay.[5]

George Bass explored the area in 1797, following Seven Mile Beach. He crossed the shoals at the entrance to the river, calling it 'Shoals Haven' due to the shallowness of the river mouth. This river is now known as the Crookhaven,[6] but the name was adopted for the Shoalhaven area and the Shoalhaven River.

Towns and localities

Shoalhaven, although designated a city, is a dispersed region spread over 125 kilometres (78 mi) of coastline, with the vast majority of its population located in the north-east around Nowra, Jervis Bay and Sussex Inlet.

It includes the following towns, suburbs and localities:

Nowra suburbs and surrounds
Suburbs near Jervis Bay, Australian Capital Territory
near or on the Sussex Inlet
North of Shoalhaven River
South of Shoalhaven River
Far South

Localities with no population in 2016 included:

  • Moollattoo
  • Mondayong
  • Porters Creek
  • Quiera
  • St George
  • Tallowal


Current composition and election method

Shoalhaven City Council is composed of thirteen Councillors, including the Mayor, for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is directly elected while the twelve other Councillors are elected proportionally as three separate wards, each electing four Councillors. The most recent election was held on 10 September 2016, and the makeup of the Council, including the Mayor, is in order of elected and as follows:[7]

  Shoalhaven Independents Group 5
  Greens 4
  Team Gash 3
  Labor 1
Total 13

The current Council, elected in 2016, in order of election by ward, is:

Mayor[8]   Amanda Findley Greens
Ward One[9]   Andrew Guile Shoalhaven Independents Group
  John Wells Team Gash
  Nina Cheyne Greens
  Annette Alldrick Labor
Ward Two[10]   Greg Watson Shoalhaven Independents Group
  Jo Gash Team Gash Former Federal MP for Gilmore.
  John Levett Greens
  Mitchell Pakes Shoalhaven Independents Group
Ward Three[11]   Mark Kitchener Shoalhaven Independents Group
  Patricia White Team Gash Deputy Mayor
  Bob Proudfoot Shoalhaven Independents Group
  Kaye Gartner Greens

Tourism and culture

The Shoalhaven can be reached from Sydney by car via the Princes Highway and by rail via the South Coast railway line which terminates just north of Nowra at Bomaderry. The Shoalhaven is adjacent to the well known Jervis Bay area. The area is approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) long along the coastline, including 109 beaches, which allegedly possesses the whitest sand in the world, as well as pristine natural Australian bushland. The Shoalhaven area is home to numerous species of native Australian flora and fauna.[12]

The area is well known for its strong commitment to the arts and music, featuring the See Change and See Celebrations festivals in the Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin areas, as well as the EscapeArtfest festival and Blessing of the Fleet in the Ulladulla area.[13]

Heritage listings

Heritage listings for the City of Shoalhaven include:

See also


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Shoalhaven (C)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  2. "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019. Estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2018.
  3. "Shoalhaven City Council". Department of Local Government. Archived from the original on 7 September 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2006.
  4. "Municipality of Nowra". Search. State Records NSW. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  5. Organ, Michael (1990). "Illawarra and South Coast Aborigines 1770-1850". Research Online.
  6. "NSW Police Regions and History". Nowra Police Station. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  12. "Jervis Bay & Shoalhaven". Visit NSW. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  13. "Arts in Shoalhaven". Geoff Bolton. October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  14. "Hive Shipwreck". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01812. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
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