Austinmer, New South Wales
Wollongong, New South Wales
|Population||2,452 (2011 census)|
|LGA(s)||City of Wollongong|
The town's main beach is Austinmer Beach, a patrolled surf beach and a popular tourist beach. A second smaller and unpatrolled beach lies directly to the north of Austinmer beach, and is known locally as "Little Austi".
The main road through the town is Lawrence Hargrave Drive, which connects with the Princes Highway at Bulli Pass. Moore Street connects Austinmer railway station to Lawrence Hargrave Drive, and, along with a short stretch along Lawrence Hargrave Drive, constitutes Austinmer's commercial presence, as well as a police station, school, churches, and veterinary clinic.
The Headland Hotel to the north of Austinmer Beach was featured in the 2005/2006 television series headLand.
Some have suggested that the area was originally called Sidmouth (although this has been strongly contested by Dr Joseph Davis—see https://www.facebook.com/AustinmerHistoryPhotographs). Davis seems to have effectively refuted the suggestion that Robert Marsh Westmacott who owned land at Austinmer and was born at Sidmouth in Devon named the property after his birthplace. It turns out that a future owner - Biddulph Henning - bought the original Hicks family home (of which photos survive) and named it "Sidmouth" where he had been staying in 1891 just prior to his return to Ausrtalia and subsequent purchase of land in Austinmer. It would appear that one Norman King who wrote a small historical pamphlet entitled "The Story of Austinmer" was unaware of the Henning connection simply jumped to the conclusion that the name must have derived from Westamcott's birthplace and been given to the area by that gentleman when, as Davis has demonstrated, the name "Sidmouth" is unrecorded prior to Henning's purchase of the property.
Not surprsingly, by the 1860s the area was simple called "North Bulli". The name was later changed to Austinmere (later dropping the final "e", but still pronounced "ere") with the opening of the North Illawarra Coal Company's mine around 1887.