Gerroa, New South Wales
New South Wales
Gerroa, rainforest hill and the Crooked River
|Population||497 (2011)|
|LGA(s)||Municipality of Kiama|
Situated at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach and the head of Crooked River, the original village was once a retreat for various religious orders. Today it is a popular holiday town, and residence for retirees. Many houses have impressive views of the beach and Mount Coolangatta. The population is 497 according to the 2011 census, although the population swells, particularly at Easter and the Christmas−New Year break. Many holiday makers stay at the caravan park, by the Crooked River.
Nearby is Seven Mile Beach National Park, a well regarded area for bird watching, walking and fishing. Hang gliding, paragliding, sailing, windsurfing, and surfing are also enjoyed here. Black Head is suited to rock fishing, though it may be dangerous in high seas. A golf course is situated just north of the town. The rainforest remnants on the hill above the town and behind the beach contain interesting sub-tropical species, such as Snow-wood, Illawarra Plum and Camphorwood. The original vegetation was littoral (seaside) rainforest. Possums, wombats and falcons as well as many other indigenous animals may be seen near the town. Whales are commonly spotted in winter months heading north.
The Aboriginal Wodi Wodi people of the language group Dharawal had been using the land for around 20,000 years. They moved to different locations every six weeks or so in family groups. The fertile bushland would have provided a good supply of food.
The first white people to visit the area were probably survivors of the shipwreck of the Sydney Cove. They passed through this area in 1797. As early as 1814, cedar cutters explored the area around nearby Gerringong. The cedar cutters or "sawyers" as they called themselves were so described:
... the true pioneers of European civilisation. Long and before the farmer or grazier had set foot in those wilds-years prior to the novelty of clearing off and fencing in-the tent of the sawyer was a familiar object to the local blacks. With but few exceptions, the earlier cedar-cutters were convicts out on ticket of leave. Many of the blackest-dyed ruffians of their time were to be found in the ranks of the Illawarra sawyers.
In August 1824, the colonial Governor Thomas Brisbane instructed surveyor James McBrien to survey the land surrounding "Long Nose Point", now known as Black Head Point at Gerroa.
On 11 January 1933 Sir Charles Kingsford Smith undertook his historic first commercial flight from Seven Mile Beach to New Zealand. The Southern Cross took 14 hours and ten minutes to make the journey to New Plymouth. The flight commenced at 2.50 am, watched by a crowd of thousands of visitors and local residents. Some had their car headlights turned on to assist Kingsford-Smith in his take off. A memorial plaque and lookout at Gerroa marks the event.
Gerroa has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), with humid and warm summers and cool wet winters. Maximum summer temperatures usually range from 23 to 35 degrees C. Though temperatures of 40 degrees are not unknown. In winter, temperatures can be as low as 5 degrees. The annual average rainfall at nearby Kiama is 1258 mm. The town is occasionally exposed to strong southerly winds.
Soils in the area are based on the Gerringong Volcanics, of Permian latite. As well as the volcanically based Budgong Sandstone, both of which produce relatively fertile red/brown soils. South of the town, by the river and beach the soils are alluvial are sandy.
Notable residents of Gerroa
- "Gerroa". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- Winner, Ken (1995). Windsurfing. Human Kinetics. p. 94. ISBN 0-87322-760-3.
- Thornley,, Mark; Dante, Veda; Wilson, Peter (2003). Surfing Australia: A Guide to the Best Surfing Down Under. Tuttle Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 962-593-774-9.
- * Floyd, A.G., Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-eastern Australia, Inkata Press 1989, ISBN 0-909605-57-2.
- Leon Fuller & Kevin Mills - Native Trees of Central Illawarra ISBN 0-9594711-2-X page 167
- "Gerringong History". Gerringong: TravellerTV. 2002.
- "Kiama: Climate statistics for Australian locations". Kiama.
- Leon Fuller & Kevin Mills - Native Trees of Central Illawarra ISBN 0-9594711-2-X page 24
- "Hansard". NSW Parliament. Retrieved 26 August 2011.