Figtree, New South Wales
Wollongong, New South Wales
|Location||4 km (2 mi) from Wollongong|
|LGA(s)||City of Wollongong|
At the junction of the highway and The Avenue is Westfield Figtree, a two storey indoor shopping centre with a Woolworths, Coles and Kmart. The shopping centre was opened in 1965. The second story is used by a couple of businesses and a second storey to its carpark facilities. Adjacent to the centre is a park which contains sports facilities, a baby health centre and a small sculpture garden.
There is a small commercial district near this junction and another connected area of mainly food stores further north on the highway near the freeway entrance. There is also another commercial area with a chicken food shop, liquor store and video rental store at on the east side of the highway at the O'Briens Road junction.
Figtree has a hotel, an oval, many specialty stores, a dog park, a private hospital and several schools.
A smaller area of residences in Figtree is Figtree Heights, a neighbourhood which is slightly raised above the general level of Figtree. To the suburb's south between Figtree and Unanderra is Cobbler's Hill, where houses have been built on its side.
The suburb is named after a giant fig tree that once stood on the eastern side of the highway at the junction with O'Brien's Road, a mountain pass used in early days of settlement built by subscription in 1821 before completion by convict labour of Mount Keira road. In 1861 Figtree Bridge was built by Moore and Vaughan.
In 1867 Figtree Inn was built, a small weatherboard building built at the site of the turnoff to O'Brien's Road, later its name changed to Figtree Hotel and it still stands. In the 1880s farming was the main industry in the area. In 1888 the Figtree Sunday School began in a cottage.
On 25 November 1903 Figtree Park was opened by senator Hugh Vaughan-Floyd, 12 years before his tragic death in World War 1. The public school opened in 1956, followed by Figtree High School in 1969, Figtree Heights Public School in 1972 and Nareena Hills Public School in the foothills of Mount Nebo in 1977.
On 23 September 1965 Westfield Figtree was opened. It was expanded in 1974, and further expansions were completed in 2009, with another 15 specialty stores being added, and a "mini-department store" (The Reject Shop) making it one of the largest centres in the region. It now ranks in the top 5. On 15 October 1979, the Illawarra Private Hospital was opened.
The famous figtree was cut down in 1996 and only a small portion of its trunk is left. In 1998 Fig Tree Park was renovated with an aboriginal mosaic as a result of a community project. The name has been changed to Moreton Bay Figtree Park. During the 1998 Wollongong floods, Figtree was one of the worst suburbs hit with flood waters going through the Westfield shopping centre and residents being rescued by the SES from Figtree Caravan Park.
Figtree also has the Figtree Kangaroos AFL club, who won the 2011 Reserve Grade Grand Final becoming premiers in only their 2nd year in the competition.