Woy Woy, New South Wales

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Woy Woy
Central CoastNew South Wales
Woy Woy is located in New South Wales
Woy Woy
Woy Woy
Coordinates 33°29′S 151°19′E / 33.49°S 151.32°E / -33.49; 151.32Coordinates: 33°29′S 151°19′E / 33.49°S 151.32°E / -33.49; 151.32
Population 10,114 (2011 census)[1]
 • Density 1,686/km2 (4,370/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 2256
Area 6.0 km2 (2.3 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Gosford
Parish Patonga
State electorate(s) Gosford
Federal Division(s) Robertson
Suburbs around Woy Woy:
Phegans Bay Koolewong Saratoga
Horsfield Bay Woy Woy St Huberts Island
Brisbane Water National Park Umina Beach Blackwall

Woy Woy is a coastal town and a southern suburb of the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Australia, located on the southern reaches of Brisbane Water 79 km (49 mi) north of Sydney. It is an important population centre within the City of Gosford local government area.

Woy Woy is located in the northern half of the Woy Woy Peninsula, a densely populated estuarine peninsula that also includes the districts of Umina Beach, Ettalong Beach and Blackwall, in addition to several small sub-districts.[2] The Woy Woy Peninsula is the most populous area of the Central Coast. The historical and commercial core of Woy Woy is located around the railway station at the northern tip of the peninsula while its residential districts merge imperceptibly southwards with Umina and Ettalong. (Woy Woy officially ends at Veron Road and Gallipoli Avenue; and Umina begins beyond this.)

Woy Woy is considered a dormitory town of Sydney.


Origin of name[edit]

The double name is a corruption of the indigenous term apparently taken from the local Darkinjung Aboriginal people, and reputedly means 'big lagoon' or 'much water', referring to the deep tidal channel adjacent to the town centre.[3] It was originally known as Webb's Flat, named for James Webb, the first European settler of the Brisbane Water region in 1823, and was first explored by a party led by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789.[4]

Small coastal settlement[edit]

Woy Woy developed rapidly as a small coastal resort north of Sydney with the construction in 1888 of the northern railway.[citation needed]

Electrification of the Main Northern rail line running through Woy Woy to Gosford in 1960 prompted rapid residential development in and around Woy Woy in the 1960s and 1970s as its relatively low-priced properties became an important part of the Sydney commuter belt, with rail journey times of just over an hour to reach Sydney's central business district.

During the Second World War, an airfield was constructed on the Woy Woy Peninsula as a satellite field of Schofields airfield. Schofields was used by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (RN FAA) during WW2. Woy Woy airfield had a single runway sealed north/south. There were 4 pens for medium bombers, probably Grumman Avengers. The airfield was last used in 1946, the land subsequently developed for residential use.[citation needed]

December 1948, there were private enterprise plans announced to develop 1259 acres of light industrial land, 800 acres of accompanying housing, a railway connection with the existing main line and the conversion of the World War II era airstrip at Ettalong Beach into an airport. If the concept had proceeded all costs would have been covered by the developer, including water, sewerage and other amenities. At the time it was predicted that up to 50,000 jobs would have been developed within 10 to 25 years.[5]

The $24 million Peninsula Leisure Centre opened on 29 October 2005 after significant delays.

Forgotten Stories[edit]

Newspaper Article; The Courier Mail, 24th December 1934


Roy Inman (14), of 'Concord, was taken by a shark at Horsfield's Bay, Brisbane water, about a mile from Woy Woy, before his sister's eyes this afternoon. The boy's head appeared once above the surface. Then the shark returned to the attack, and he was drawn beneath the water, and was not seen again. One of his sisters, Joyce, (12), had a narrow escape. The shark brushed against her as it raced through the water, its fin inflicting a wound on her leg. The shark rushed towards her brother. The tragedy occurred a few seconds after the boy had dived from a short jetty in front of the week-end cottage in which he and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Inman, were staying for the holidays. His eldest sister, Kathleen (26), was standing at the door of the cottage, watching the children, and saw the tragedy enacted. She made gallant efforts to rescue her brother after the initial attack, but reached the scene too late to render any assistance. The water is about 10 ft. deep at the end of the jetty. The two children, after lunch, had gone to the jetty, and the elder sister had retired to the house to get into her swimming costume, with the intention of following them.

GIRL JUST ESCAPES Joyce Inman said later that, while they were awaiting their sister's arrival they decided to have a diving competition. She dived first from the end of the Jetty. Roy followed. Just as he struck the water, Joyce said, she screamed in terror. A black fin cut through the water towards her- and she saw it was a shark. When it darted towards her she kicked out, and felt it graze her leg. She also felt a sharp, stinging pain in her calf. Then she saw her brother disappear in a swirl of foam, she made for the jetty, only a few feet away.

RESCUE IN BOAT ATTEMPTED As soon as she heard the child's scream Kathleen Inman saw the fin of the shark. When her brother was dragged under the water she ran down to a small boat which was moored, jumped into it, and pushed off with an oar. She had almost reached the end of the jetty when her brother's head appeared, but the shark returned to the attack, and the boy went down in water tinged with blood. The girl frantically searched the locality, pushing the oar down into the water in the hope that the shark would release its victim, but in vain.

The police searched unsuccessfully till 8 o'clock tonight for the body. For some weeks sharks had been seen in the bay, and a warning had been issued to holiday-makers against bathing. Local fishermen had spent some time trying to catch the sharks.

Newspaper Article; The Sydney Morning Herald, 28th May 1900


Angelo Lazzarini, an Italian living near Woy Woy tunnel, was found this afternoon by Mr. W. Davis about a quarter of a mile from his own house dead, with his head blown off, and a gun lying between his legs. The fatality is supposed to be the result of an accident. Lazzarini had been missing for about a week, and as his house was found open a search was made for him.

Aside: Although ruled as an accidental death, it was believed the Mr Lazzarini had connections to the Sydney Mob, although nothing was confirmed it was suspected it was murder. The creek located running near the tunnel and old abattoirs was given the name by locals "Dead Man's Creek," after Mr Angelo Lazzarini, but was heavily advertised as Cockle Creek in the 1950s & onwards to attract tourists to the region. ~ A.B.D. 2015


Woy Woy has one Catholic school, St John the Baptist Primary School, located in Dulkara Road, Woy Woy. Schooling offered by the Sisters of St. Joseph commenced in Woy Woy in 1922 at the original St John the Baptist Church (Parish hall since 2007) located on the corner of Blackwall and Victoria Roads, Woy Woy.[6][7] There are also two public primary schools, Woy Woy South and Woy Woy, with the senior campus of Brisbane Water Secondary College also located within Woy Woy.


Woy Woy comprises 34,000 square metres of commercially zoned land of which 60% consists of retail businesses together with a mix of professional services and major supermarkets including Deepwater Plaza and Peninsula Plaza. Woy Woy represents the commercial heart of the Peninsula and vital commuter transport hub. The town centre is enhanced by the Woy Woy waterfront precinct and Woy Woy Channel with ferry links to Davistown.

The Woy Woy commercial centre is represented by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce which is an affiliated member of the NSW Business Chamber. Woy Woy is recognised as the commercial hub of the Peninsula accommodating numerous legal practices, medical centres, banks and professionals. It is largely focused around the Woy Woy Rail Station (major transport hub) and bus interchange with a heavy retail concentration at Deepwater Plaza shopping centre on western edge of the commercial centre and Peninsula Plaza adjacent to the heritage listed Woy Woy Library. Small cafés and restaurants have clustered along the Woy Woy waterfront adjacent to the heritage listed Bayview Hotel and Woy Woy Hotel on Brickwharf Road. The traditional main street (Blackwall Road) has struggled in recent years from pressure from the major shopping centres and the resurgence of the thriving Umina Beach town centre.


As a regional area, job losses have had an impact on the local economy - a recent example being the closure of the F.C. Nichols abattoir in 2003, blamed in part on drought conditions. A significant proportion of the local population commute to Sydney for work, with the majority of local work opportunities to be found in service, retail and other light commercial industries.


An annual Brisbane Water Oyster Festival is held on the first Sunday in November at Ettalong Beach after being relocated from the Woy Woy waterfront in 2005 due to space restrictions. The event outgrew the location with over 20,000 people attending annually. The "Brisbane Water" Oyster Festival was inaugurated in 2000 and is organised by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.[8]

The Woy Woy Little Theatre Company[9] perform four plays every year at The Peninsula Theatre, the sister theatre to Laycock Street Theatre in Gosford. Performances are generally based on strict plays rather than devised or improvised theatre forms and have been doing so since 1962.[10]

After their retirement, the parents and younger brother of comedian Spike Milligan (1918–2002) moved to Woy Woy; as a result, Spike spent some time in the town and was occasionally jocularly referred to as "the boy from Woy Woy". Woy Woy was the home to the now defunct festival known as "Spike Fest", which celebrated Milligan's life and works. Milligan famously named Woy Woy "the largest above ground cemetery in the world" when visiting in the 1960s. He made numerous references to Woy Woy in the radio series The Idiot Weekly.

In July 2007, a new cycle bridge near Woy Woy was named the "Spike Milligan Bridge" [11]

Another internationally known resident of Woy Woy was Olive Riley (1899–2008), of the Woy Woy Community Nursing Home, who became recognised as the world's oldest known blogger.[12] From February 2007, aged 107, she started an internet blog and also appeared in a number of YouTube videos.[13] Her last post was made on 26 June 2008, two and a half weeks prior to her death on 12 July, aged 108.[14]

Notable residents[edit]


Woy Woy is also home to several sporting teams which compete in Central Coast competitions, including the Roosters (rugby league - competed in Sydney's Jim Beam Cup, but not any more), Sharks (cricket), Southern & Ettalong United FC (football), Lions (rugby union) and the Peninsula Swans (Australian rules).


  • St Luke's Anglican Church[15]
  • St John the Baptist Catholic Church[16]


Woy Woy has its own railway station on the NSW TrainLink network. It is a major commuter hub which moves significant numbers of local workers into Sydney each day. The station is also a major bus interchange which connects Woy Woy with other Peninsula centres including Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach. Small local ferry services also operate from the Woy Woy wharf connecting with villages around Brisbane Water including Davistown.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Woy Woy (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Woy Woy". Destination NSW. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Gosford City Library. "Placenames". Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  4. ^ Gosford City Library (March 2006). "History of Woy Woy". Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  5. ^ "Expansion at Woy Woy, Council told of Big Scheme". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 December 1948. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  6. ^ St John the Baptist Primary School Official website
  7. ^ St John The Baptist Catholic Parish Official website
  8. ^ "Council supports festival". Peninsula Community Access News. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  9. ^ woywoylt.com.au
  10. ^ "Central Coast Entertainment". Woywoylt.com.au. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  11. ^ "Bridge is named after Spike Milligan". Peninsula Community Access News. Archived from the original on 15 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  12. ^ "World's oldest blogger Olive Riley of NSW dies". The Courier-Mail. 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-07-15. [dead link]
  13. ^ List of Olive Riley's YouTube videos. (YouTube search page.)
  14. ^ "The Life of Riley (blog)". Retrieved 2008-07-15. [dead link]
  15. ^ woywoyanglican.org
  16. ^ woywoycatholic.org.au

External links[edit]