The Shoalhaven region in New South Wales is the southern part of the traditional homelands of the Tharawal people.
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, but the name was adopted for the Shoalhaven area and the Shoalhaven River.
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:
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 8 September 2012, and the makeup of the Council, including the Mayor, is as follows:
The Shoalhaven can be reached from Sydney by car via the Princes Highway and by rail via the Illawarra 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.