Sydney, New South Wales
|Population||7,271 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||99 m (325 ft)|
|Location||27 km (17 mi) south-west of Sydney CBD|
Illawong is a suburb in southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Illawong is located 27 kilometres south of the Sydney Central Business District, in the local government area of the Sutherland Shire in the area commonly called Menai. The post code is 2234, which is also assigned to the contiguous suburbs of Menai, Bangor Barden Ridge and Alfords Point.
Illawong sits between the southern shore of the Georges River and the northern shore of the Woronora River. Illawong consists mainly of residential homes, a nursing home, a primary school and a small shopping centre.
Illawong is an Aboriginal word meaning between two waters, referring to the Georges and Woronora Rivers. Illawong was originally inhabited by the Tharawal and/or Eora tribes who left remnants of their lives in many middens, rock carvings and cave paintings. The Illawong Nature Reserve also lies "between two waters". In this case, the reserve lies between a system of 2 wetlands, which in combination with the heavily vegetated ridgeland, provide habitat which is particularly suited to the long necked turtle.
Captain John Hunter (1731–1821) was the first European to explore the area. In 1789, Hunter sailed through the Georges and Woronora Rivers. In 1795–6, with Matthew Flinders and George Bass, Hunter explored further up the Georges River and declared the area of Bankstown.
Construction of Old Illawarra Road took place between 1843 and 1845 and was inspected by Major Thomas Mitchell, it being one of the last public works completed by convicts. The construction allowed the new route to be about 32 kilometres shorter towards the South Coast. At the southern end of the district Major Mitchell took the road across the ford at the head of the Woronora River, naming the ford "Pass of Sabugal", possibly due to the resemblance in scenery of the north-eastern frontier of Portugal.
In the 1890s Menai was a farming area and Illawong, which was then known as East Menai, was an area where wealthy people of Sydney built holiday homes and weekenders.
During the 1970s the Menai region was suburbanised, and Illawong was chosen to have historic nautical street names. (Bangor, New South Wales having Aboriginal names, Alfords Point, New South Wales having botanic names and Barden Ridge, New South Wales having names to do with Australian pioneers.
At the 2016 census, there were 7,271 residents in Illawong. The most common ancestries in Illawong were English 22.9%, Australian 22.0%, Irish 7.6%, Scottish 5.9% and Lebanese 5.5%. 75.7% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 2.7%, Lebanon 2.1% and China 1.9%. 74.4% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Arabic 5.3%, Greek 4.2%, Cantonese 1.8%, Macedonian 1.6% and Mandarin 1.6%. The most common responses for religion were Catholic 32.3%, Anglican 18.2%, No Religion 17.3% and Eastern Orthodox 9.6%. The median weekly household income was $2,466 and this was considerably higher than the national figure of $1,438. Most dwellings were separate houses and these tended to be large, with 72.4% of dwellings having 4 or more bedrooms.
Illawong Village shopping centre sits between Fowler Road and Hobart Place. Originally a small collection of shops, the shopping centre was rebuilt in 2007. Illawong Village features a Coles supermarket, Liquorland and many specialty shops including butcher, chemist, newsagency, medical centre and several cafes and restaurants.
- Illawong Primary School
- Tharawal Primary School
- Menai High School is the major public secondary co-educational high school servicing the Menai Area.
The church within Illawong is the Menai Illawong Uniting Church, near the Illawong shopping centre. Other donominations are represented in neighbouring suburbs.
Sport and recreation
The Scout group in Illawong is 1st Wearne Bay Sea Scouts. They have all five youth sections (Joeys, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers) represented. The group meets in the scout hall at Wearne Bay, on the Georges River. This hall was previously the house of the former ferry master, Mr Maurie Chegwidden. The Sea Scout group was started in the early 1960s by Mr William Arthur (Skip) Ross and his wife Mrs Yvonne Marlene Ross (aka Akela) Cubmaster, who resided in Illawong up until the early 70s. In the early days of the group invaluable assistance was provided by Mr Ron Robertson and Mr Steve Hobkirk in leadership roles. The original hall was located in a boatshed on the waterfront nearby to the present day scout hall.
The Menai/Illawong Rural Fire Service (RFS) is located on the Old Illawarra Road roundabout intersection with Fowler Road.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Illawong (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 132
- "Illawong". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Geographical Names Register Status], from the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales.
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