Clovelly, New South Wales
Sydney, New South Wales
|Location||8 km (5 mi) south-east of Sydney CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Randwick|
Clovelly is a small beach-side suburb in Sydney's eastern suburbs, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Clovelly is located 8 kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Randwick, within the Federal Division of Wentworth.
Clovelly is a mainly residential suburb on Clovelly Bay. Clovelly Beach is a small beach that sits on the end of the narrow bay. The bay is popular with swimmers. The bay is home to one of the first surf lifesaving clubs in the world, Clovelly Surf Life Saving Club, which was founded in 1906. Clovelly is surrounded by the suburbs of Bronte in the north, Randwick in the west and Coogee in the south.
Originally known as Little Coogee, the name was changed to Clovelly in 1913. When the search for a new name began, the English seaside town Eastbourne, was suggested. The president of the local progress association, Mr F H Howe, suggested Clovelly, the name of a local estate owned by Sir John Robertson, which was named for the village of Clovelly on the north Devon coast, England.
William C. Greville bought 20 acres (81,000 m2), which included the whole bay frontage, for 40 pounds in 1834. The area was dominated during the nineteenth century by the grand estate of Mundarrah Towers. Mundarrah Towers was built for Dr Dickson in the 1860s. Samuel Bennett, who owned Australian Town and Country Journal, one of the most influential newspapers of the day, bought the property and made further grand additions. The Towers was demolished in 1926, to make way for suburban development. The Mundarrah Towers estate occupied the land around Burnie Street overlooking the western end of Clovelly Bay. Mundarrah Street honours this once grand part of Clovelly’s heritage. Between Coogee and Clovelly, on the shores of Gordon’s Bay, stood Cliffbrook, the home built for John Thompson. By the early twentieth century the first governor of the Commonwealth Bank owned this grand mansion that was demolished in 1976. Cliffbrook and Mundarrah Towers are both part of the hidden heritage of our northern coastal suburbs.
A public infants school was operating in Little Coogee as early as 1897, in the Mission Hall of the Church of England in Varna Street. Eliza McDonnell was the teacher with an average attendance of 76 pupils. Clovelly Public School officially dates from 1913. The Department of Education provided permanent accommodation for a public school in Arden Street, Clovelly.
Major subdivisions for domestic housing commenced in earnest in Clovelly in 1909. The local progress association argued that there were 717 houses constructed within metres of the proposed tram route that had not yet been completed. Due to these lobbying efforts, the tram-line to Clovelly was completed between 1912-1913. This allowed Clovelly to continue developing throughout the 1920s. Clovelly’s heyday was really between the end of the First World War and the early 1930s. During the Great Depression Randwick Council instituted a scheme to keep unemployed men employed by building concrete foreshores for Clovelly in an attempt to make access to the bay’s foreshores easier for bathers. The Council envisage an Olympic size swimming pool in the bay, a facility that would also keep local men employed in the worst financial times. It was also planned to build a causeway/scenic road across the entrance to the Bay but wild storms in 1938 dashed hopes of this. The remains of the causeway are still visible at low tide, forming a protective reef. The plans were controversial; the merits of this work are still debated today.
In 1907, a surf life saving brigade was formed at Clovelly, inaugurating the surf life saving tradition in this suburb that has seen numerous heroic rescues, perhaps most notably "the rescue off Schnapper" or "the big rescue" of Sunday 4 December 1927. Surf Life Saving has been a predominate part of the culture and heritage of this scenic coastal suburb. Competitive swimming is also a dominate part of life in this idyllic coastal location.
Today the suburb is affectionately referred to as "Cloey" by many residents and locals.
The Clovelly tram line began at Alison Road to the intersection of Clovelly and Carrington Roads in 1912, then extending to Clovelly in 1913 helping to popularise the area. This line branched from Anzac Parade at Alison Road, and ran on its own tram reservation beside Centennial Park as far as Darley Road. Here it diverged from services to Coogee, to run north along Darley Road, then turned right into Clovelly Road to run down to its terminus at Clovelly Beach. Though services ran from Circular Quay and from Railway Square (from 1923). the line closed in 1957. The tram line followed the current route of bus 339.
Clovelly has four small shopping precincts all on or near Clovelly Road. The largest is at the corner of Fern St and Clovelly where there (amongst other businesses) a post office, community bank, chemist, newsagent and bottle shop. At the corner of Arden St and Clovelly Road is another small precinct including another newsagent. At the corner of Carrington and Clovelly Road there are a handful of shops. Close to Clovelly Beach there are shops in a small precint where Burnie St meets Clovelly Road.
Sport and recreation
In summer, Clovelly Beach is a centre of community activity patrolled by council lifeguards on weekdays and Surf Club members on weekends/public holidays. In 2006 there were over 200 proficient club members rostered into 13 active patrols.
In winter, the Clovelly Crocodiles field over 20 junior Rugby League sides in the Sydney Roosters junior competition. The Clovelly Eagles in 2006 fielded 18 junior Rugby Union sides in the Randwick/Easts Junior division.
In the 2011 census, Clovelly had a population of 4,581 people. In Clovelly, 67.4% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were England 8.5%, New Zealand 2.3% and South Africa 1.7%. Clovelly's housing is higher density than much of Australia with 70.9% of dwellings being units, flats, semi-detached, terrace houses or townhouses. The national average for these housing types is just 25.5%.
- Greig Pickhaver, comedian HG Nelson of Roy and HG
- John Howard (Australian actor)
- Kim Lewis, 80s soapie actress
- Steve Abbott, comedian/TV Personality (the Sandman)
- Paul Barry, author and journalist
- Tony Squires, National TV and Sydney radio personality.
- Jonathan Holmes ABC journalist, producer and Media Watch presenter.
- Clare Dennis (1916-1971), gold medallist in the 200m breaststroke at the 1932 Summer Olympics grew up in the suburb
- Peter Ruehl (1947 - 2011), American newspaper columnist
- David Gallop, CEO of the National Rugby League 
- Brad Fittler and Luke Ricketson former rugby league players
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Clovelly (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- Clovelly Surf Life Saving Club > Home
- The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 64
- Pictorial History of Randwick, Lawrence J, Kingsclear Books, Alexandria, 2001, pp.36-39
- http://www.clovellysurfclub.com.au/ Clovelly Surf Club
- A man on top of his game - League - Sport - smh.com.au
- "Sand in our Souls - the Beach in Australian History" Leone Huntsman, MUP, 2001
Media related to Clovelly Beach at Wikimedia Commons