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City of Shoalhaven

Coordinates: 35°07′S 150°30′E / 35.117°S 150.500°E / -35.117; 150.500
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City of Shoalhaven
New South Wales
Location in New South Wales
Coordinates35°07′S 150°30′E / 35.117°S 150.500°E / -35.117; 150.500
Population108,531 (2021 census)[1]
 • Density23.7642/km2 (61.549/sq mi)
Established1 July 1948 (1948-07-01)
Area4,567 km2 (1,763.3 sq mi)
MayorAmanda Findley
Council seatNowra[2]
RegionSouth Coast
State electorate(s)
Federal division(s)Gilmore
WebsiteCity of Shoalhaven
LGAs around City of Shoalhaven:
Goulburn Mulwaree Wingecarribee Kiama
Goulburn Mulwaree City of Shoalhaven Tasman Sea, Jervis Bay Territory (ACT)
Queanbeyan–Palerang Eurobodalla Tasman Sea

The City of Shoalhaven is a local government area in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. The area is about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of Sydney. The Princes Highway passes through the area, and the South Coast railway line traverses the northern section, terminating at Bomaderry. At the 2021 census, the population was 108,531.[1]

The City was established on 1 July 1948 as the Shoalhaven Shire, following the amalgamation of the Municipalities of Nowra, Berry, Broughton's Vale, Ulladulla, South Shoalhaven, and the shires of Cambewarra and Clyde.[3] The Governor of NSW on 13 July 1979 proclaimed Shoalhaven as a city. The Shire was converted and constituted on 1 August 1979 simultaneously as a municipality and city.[4]



Modern-day groupings of the Illawarra and South Coast Aboriginal peoples are based on information compiled by white anthropologists from the late 1870s. Two divisions were initially presented (refer Ridley, 1878), using geographical location and language, though these criteria are now expanded into five divisions and given Aboriginal names, as follows (after C.Sefton, 1983):

  • Dharawal – general name for the Aboriginal people of the area on the east coast of New South Wales from Botany Bay to Shoalhaven, and west to Berrima and Camden.
  • Wodiwodi (or Wadi-Wadi) – a subdivision of Thuruwal, includes the Aboriginal people of the coast from Wollongong to Shoalhaven.
  • Gurandada and Tharumba (or Dharumba) – those people living around the Shoalhaven River.

The Jerrinja people record their traditional lands as stretching from Crooked River in the north to Clyde River in the south, from the mountains to the sea at Roseby Park.[5]

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,[6] but the name was adopted for the Shoalhaven area and the Shoalhaven River.

Towns and localities in the local government area

A large part of Shoalhaven can be seen from the Drawing Room Rocks area in Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. Mount Coolangatta is in the centre, with Jervis Bay in background and Berry in the right front
Hyams Beach, known for possessing fine, radiantly white sand.

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:

Nowra suburbs and surrounds
Suburbs near Jervis Bay Territory
near or on the Sussex Inlet
North of Shoalhaven River
South of Shoalhaven River
Far South

Localities with no population in 2016 included:


City Administration Centre in Nowra

Current composition and election method


Shoalhaven City Council is composed of thirteen councillors, including the mayor, for a fixed four-year term. 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 in 2021 and the makeup of the Council, including the mayor, is: Amanda Finley.[7][8][9]

Party Councillors
  Greens 4
  Shoalhaven Independents Group 4
  Labor 3
  Independent 2
Total 13

Tourism and culture


The Shoalhaven can be reached from Sydney by car via the Princes Highway and by rail via the South Coast railway line which terminates just north of Nowra at Bomaderry. The Shoalhaven is adjacent to the Jervis Bay Territory. 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.[10]

The area is well known for its strong commitment to the arts and music, featuring the See Change and See Celebrations festivals in the Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin areas, as well as the EscapeArtfest festival and Blessing of the Fleet in the Ulladulla area.[11]

Tourists to Shoalhaven can enjoy a wealth of cultural and nature-based activities and experiences, including whale-watching, kayaking, visiting beaches and tastings at wineries.[12] Some of the most famous establishments for visitors in Shoalhaven are Rick Stein at Bannisters, Cupitt's Estate and Coolangatta Estate.

Heritage listings


Heritage listings for the City of Shoalhaven include:

See also



  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Shoalhaven (C)". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 26 November 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Shoalhaven City Council". Department of Local Government. Archived from the original on 7 September 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2006.
  3. ^ "Municipality of Nowra". Search. State Records NSW. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  4. ^ <https://www.southcoastregister.com.au/story/7926785/commemorative-coin-minted-to-celebrate-shoalhaven-in-1979//>
  5. ^ "The Jerrinja tribe and the Shoalhaven – New Bush Telegraph". New Bush Telegraph – Shoalhaven, NSW. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  6. ^ "NSW Police Regions and History". Nowra Police Station. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Announced". Mirage News. 20 December 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  8. ^ "City of Shoalhaven – 2021 NSW Local Government Elections". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  9. ^ "20211129-LG-Groups-of-Candidates.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 January 2023. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  10. ^ "Jervis Bay & Shoalhaven". Visit NSW. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Arts in Shoalhaven". Geoff Bolton. October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  12. ^ Kelly, Chris. "The Weekender: Shoalhaven, NSW". Hunter and Bligh. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Hive Shipwreck". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01812. Retrieved 2 June 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.