Oatley, New South Wales

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SydneyNew South Wales
Oatley Clock Tower, Frederick Street
Population10,486 (2016 census)[1]
Location18 km (11 mi) south of Sydney CBD
LGA(s)Georges River Council
State electorate(s)Oatley
Federal division(s)Banks
Suburbs around Oatley:
Mortdale Penshurst Hurstville Grove
Peakhurst Heights Oatley Connells Point
Lugarno Como Oyster Bay
Frederick Street and Oatley Avenue intersection
View from Oatley Park of Jewfish Bay
Oatley Parade
Oatley Hotel on Oatley Avenue

Oatley is a suburb in Southern Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of the Sydney central business district and is part of the St George area. Oatley lies in the local government area of Georges River Council. It lies on the northern side of the tidal estuary of the Georges River and its foreshore includes part of Oatley Bay and Lime Kiln Bay, and all of Neverfail Bay, Gungah Bay and Jewfish Bay.


The area now known as Oatley lies either on the traditional lands of the Dharug people or the coastal Eora people, both of whom spoke a common language. It lies close to the lands on the Tharawal on the south bank of the river.[2][3] Georges River Council acknowledges that the Biddegal/Bidjigal/Bedegal clan of the Eora are the original inhabitants and custodians of all land and water in the Georges River region.[4]

Evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the land now known as Oatley exists in the form of numerous shell middens and rock shelters near the shore of Georges River.[5] Lime Kiln Bay once had more extensive shell middens, made over centuries by local people, the bay gets its name from early settlers burning the shells to create lime.The kilns were located in what is now Oatley Park.[6]

One of the earliest contacts between British settlers and Aboriginal people occurred on 20 January 1788, just to the west of Oatley. Arthur Philip and Philip Gidley King, leading a party of seamen from the First Fleet rowing two open boats, explored the 'South-West Arm of Botany Bay' (now Georges River). They are now thought to have gone as far as Lime Kiln Bay, where they landed at two locations, thought to be just west of the boundaries of modern-day Oatley. Not finding enough freshwater, around Botany Bay and its two 'arms', the colonists moved on to Port Jackson, where the settlement of Sydney began six days later.[7]

This suburb's name can be traced to James Oatley Snr, watch-maker, who was transported to Botany Bay for life in 1814. Seven years later, in 1821, Governor Lachlan Macquarie granted Oatley a conditional pardon and appointed him overseer of the Town Clock for his work in installing the clock at Hyde Park Barracks.[8][9]

On 17 August 1898, Oatley was the site of a pursuit and gun battle involving a party of police and George Peisley (or Peasley), a fugitive cattle and horse thief, who was using a sandstone cave on the eastern side of Gungah Bay as his hide out.[10] Peisley escaped capture,[11] but was arrested at Arncliffe on the following day[12] and eventually sentenced to four years hard labour.[13]

The post office opened in 1903, thus giving the district its official name of Oatley. Prior to this, the area west of the railway line was officially in the suburb of Hurstville and attached to the Hurstville Post Office with "Oatley's" in parenthesis at the end of the address. Likewise, the streets east of the railway line were officially in the suburb of Kogarah and attached to the Kogarah Post Office. In the late 1890s both Hurstville and Kogarah were much larger suburbs and were later divided up into separate suburbs.

Oatley is notable as the terminus of the first railway electrification project in Sydney, which reached this station from Sydney Central in 1926.

In January 1946, the foreshore of Oatley Bay, near Russell Street, was the site of a horrific fatal shark attack, in shallow water.[14][15] Large sharks have been sighted in the shallow bay, many times over the years, and dogs have been taken.[16][17][18][19] Swimmers at Oatley Park and the Oatley Pleasure Grounds are protected by shark-proof enclosures.[20]

When a group gathered in Oatley Park in December 1959, to form a Bowling Club, it was inevitable that the founding members should choose a clock as the club emblem. The hands on the clock were set at 15 minutes after 10 - the precise time the first meeting of the Oatley Bowls Club was opened.[21] The club has since closed, though the greens and Club premises remain.[22]

The Oatley campus of Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education opened in 1981 on the site of the former Judd's Brick Works and quarry. In 1981, when many teachers' colleges were amalgamated, it became The St George Institute of Education, part of Sydney College of Advanced Education, and subsequently a campus of the University of New South Wales. It is now a secondary school – the Oatley Senior Campus of the Georges River College.[23]

Local Industries[edit]

Although now an entirely residential suburb, Oatley was the site of several industries in the past.

For over a century, Sydney Rock Oysters were grown commercially along the shores of Georges River at Oatley. Freshwater from the Woronora River, a tributary that joins the Georges River opposite Oatley, lowered salinity resulting in good-tasting oysters.

Six families of oyster farmers worked from the head of Neverfail Bay just to the east of the Como Railway Bridge[24] There was a smaller oyster farming site at the head of Jewfish Bay just outside the eastern boundary of Oatley Park. Modern-day oyster shell 'middens' and a few decaying remnants of oyster farming still existed at these locations in 2021. Oysters were cultivated both on racks on the river mudbanks and, west of the Como rail bridge, on the rocks of shoreline leases. For many years, oysters were shipped to market in hessian sacks from Oatley railway station by electric rail parcel vans. There was also long-standing criminal activity involving the theft of oysters from the leases.[25][26] Oyster farmers would at times patrol their leases at night, using boats fitted with small searchlights that could scan their shoreline leases.

This local oyster farming industry survived increasing urbanisation and water pollution but finally succumbed in the mid-1990s to the spread of 'QX disease',[24][27] which is caused by a parasite that affects Sydney Rock Oysters.[28]

Judd's Hurstville Brickworks was located on the northern side of Hurstville Road; its 13-hectare site straddled the northern boundary of Oatley with neighbouring Mortdale. It operated from 1884 to 1972, making bricks using shale from a quarry that occupied much of the Oatley-end of the site. Two tall brick chimneys were demolished in June 1973, along with the brick-making plant and kilns.[29] Fifteen brick cottages were built along the western side of Judd Street, Oatley, to rent to workers at the brickworks; some still survive.

A factory owned by Albert Page, which once existed on the south-eastern corner of Rosa Street and Hurstville Road, manufactured vehicle number plates from 1935 to the 1950s.[30][31][32] The Quill paper products factory was later on the same site. Surelli Furniture Pty Ltd operated a factory on the western side of Ada Street near the junction with Hurstville Road, until the late 1980s.[33][34] Both these factory sites are now occupied by medium-density housing. The Cuthbertson family ran a small factory making children's and babies' shoes, behind their residence at 46 Rosa Street, from after WWI until 1959 when they moved the factory to a site in Mortdale.[35][36][37]

Heritage listings[edit]

Oatley has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Commercial area[edit]

The main shopping centre is located on Oatley Avenue and Frederick Street, near the railway station. A group of shops and a Coles Supermarket are located along the southern side of Mulga Road, between Waratah and Myall Streets, which are referred to as the Oatley West shops. A third group of shops at the intersection of Baker Street and Landsdown Parade - in the locality of Jewfish Point - is now mainly converted to non-retail businesses. The village atmosphere, along with good cafes, and large parklands located in the centre of the shopping area adjacent to the train station, has led Oatley to be commonly mentioned as the most picturesque shopping village in the St George area.[citation needed]


Originally, the railway ran east of the present Mortdale Railway Sheds and down the western side of Oatley Avenue, on land that is now the Oatley Memorial Gardens. The first station platform was located at the western end of Frederick Street and extended north to the Oatley Hotel car park. The railway was realigned and the current station opened in 1905.[39] The electrification of the passenger network began in 1926[41] with the first suburban electric service running between Sydney's Central Station and the suburb of Oatley approximately 20 km south of Sydney.

Oatley railway station is the last station on the Sydney Trains Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra railway line before crossing the Georges River to Como in the Sutherland Shire. The 955 bus route operates a service from Mortdale through Oatley West and Oatley to Hurstville.


The area's main attraction is Oatley Park but there are also a number of local bush parks surrounding the suburb: Oatley Point Reserve, Oatley Pleasure Grounds, Moore Reserve, Renown Park, Lime Kiln Bay Bushland Sanctuary, Giriwa Picnic Ground, Stevens Reserve, Meyer Reserve, and the Miles Dunphy Bushland Reserve (in which foot tracks were improved in 2011, by Hurstville Council). They attract many birds both native and introduced, with Oatley Park alone recording 146 species; as many as 90 recently.[42][43]

Oatley Park[edit]

Oatley Park[44] is a tree covered promontory that is almost completely surrounded by the Georges River. It covers an area of about 45 hectares (110 acres) and it is one of the significant areas of bushland remaining in the St George area.[45]

Oatley Park became a public recreation area on 25 March 1887. In October 1893, when the nearby residential subdivision was sold off, it was known as Peakhurst Park. It was renamed to Oatley Park in March 1922.

It protects important examples of the natural environment which occur throughout the park.[citation needed] In addition, there is a swimming area, a playground featuring an old steamroller, lookouts, barbecues, a soccer/cricket oval, and a "castle".[46] The man-made wetlands of Lime Kiln Bay Reserve which adjoin Oatley Park provide refuge for bird species such as chestnut teal, Pacific black ducks, dusky moorhens and purple swamphens.[47] Native mammals which are uncommon in the region can still be found within the park, including the short-beaked echidna and the swamp wallaby.[48][49]

Oatley Pleasure Grounds[edit]

Oatley Pleasure Grounds is a bush park located on Annette Street. It covers an area of 3.4 hectares (8.4 acres) and was built by Harry Linmark before 1934.[when?][citation needed] Numerous performances occurred in the park previously,[when?] and a wine bar was constructed.[when?] The bar was later shut down due to noise complaints.[when?][50]


  • Oatley Public School[51]
  • Oatley West Public School[52]
  • St Joseph's Catholic School[53]
  • Georges River College Oatley Senior Campus[54]


  • All Saints' Anglican Church[55]
  • St Joseph's Catholic Church[56]
  • OAC Oatley Anglican Church[57]
  • Mortdale Oatley Baptist Church (MOBC)[58]
  • Oatley Uniting Church[59]
  • Oatley Christian Brethren Church
  • Hurstville District Christadelphian Ecclesia[60]


  • Oatley RSL & Community Club [61]
  • Oatley Clock Tower
  • Oatley Bay, Gungah Bay, Lime Kiln Bay, Neverfail Bay, Jewfish Bay
  • Oatley Point, Lime Kiln Point, Lime Kiln Head, Jewfish Bay Point
  • Hills Lookout, Websters Lookout
  • The Oatley Hotel (Oatley Pub)[62]
  • Oatley Library
  • Myles Dunphy Reserve, a site of ecological significance.[63] However, Hurstville City Council has plans to sell off a large part of this land to private business.[64]
  • The 1905 George Fincham Pipe Organ located at Hurstville Christadelphian District Ecclesia is a historically-significant[65] musical instrument in the area.

Community events[edit]

  • Oatley Lions Village Festival – An annual festival held on the third Saturday in October in Oatley Memorial Gardens and part of Frederick Street[66]
  • Oatley West Arts and Crafts Festival[67] - An event held at Oatley West Public school each year
  • Oatley Spring Fair – A fair held biennially at Oatley Public School


Water sports and recreation are a way of life in the peninsula suburb of Oatley whose eastern, southern and western boundaries are formed by the Georges River and its bays. Oatley has many sporting teams and sporting fields:



According to the 2016 census, there were 10,486 people in Oatley. 71.8% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were China 6.0%, England 2.9%, Hong Kong 1.3% and New Zealand 1.0%. 72.1% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin 6.9%, Cantonese 3.4%, Greek 3.1%, Croatian 1.6% and Macedonian 1.3%. The most common responses for religious affiliation were Catholic 27.0%, No Religion 25.4%, Anglican 16.6% and Eastern Orthodox 6.6%.[1]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Oatley (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 February 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Aboriginal People on Sydney's Georges River from 1820 | The Dictionary of Sydney". dictionaryofsydney.org. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  3. ^ Studies, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (8 June 2021). "Map of Indigenous Australia". aiatsis.gov.au. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Georges River Council - Aboriginal People". www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  5. ^ Kayandel Archeological Services (January 2010). "The Georges River Estuary Cultural Heritage Desktop Assessment - Draft B" (PDF).
  6. ^ "REPORT ON HURSTVILLE COMMUNITY BASED HERITAGE STUDY REVIEW FOR HURSTVILLE CITY COUNCIL (Volume 2): Item Name: Oatley Park and Baths" (PDF). September 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "The several 'discoveries' of Sydney's Georges River: precursors to the Tom Thumb expedition". ResearchGate. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  8. ^ Arch Gray Collection, Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney, NSW
  9. ^ AGCI Index (Australian Genealogical Computer Index), Society of Australian Genealogists
  10. ^ Hatton, D. J. (1981). Oatley in early days. Hurstville Historical Society. [Hurstville, N.S.W.]: Hurstville Historical Society. p. 24. ISBN 0959850295. OCLC 27615717.
  11. ^ "PEISLEY PURSUED". Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931). 18 August 1898. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  12. ^ "CAPTURE OF PEISLEY". Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931). 19 August 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  13. ^ "CASE OF GEORGE PEISLEY". Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930). 10 October 1898. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  14. ^ "SHARK KILLS GIRL AT OATLEY. GRIM FIGHT BY FATHER". Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954). 5 January 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  15. ^ "SYDNEY SHARK TRAGEDY". Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957). 7 January 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  16. ^ "ROWED FOR HER LIFE". Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954). 10 February 1914. p. 7. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  17. ^ "SHARK SCARE". Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954). 5 January 1926. p. 5. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  18. ^ "SHARK DEVOURS DOG". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 1 February 1929. p. 8. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Shark Invasion Worries Sydney". Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950). 22 January 1946. p. 5. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  20. ^ "MUNICIPAL BEAUTIFICATION". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 2 April 1936. p. 7. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  21. ^ The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollen, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 193
  22. ^ http://orao.oatleypark.com/myles2.html
  23. ^ Oatley Senior Campus, www.oatleysnr-h.schools.nsw.edu.au
  24. ^ a b Robertson, Roger (2014). "Neverfail Bay, Oatley". dictionaryofsydney.org. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Theft of Oysters". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 21 March 1919. p. 1. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  26. ^ "OYSTER-FARMERS' PROBLEMS". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 3 July 1941. p. 6. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  27. ^ "IN BRIEF". Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). 18 April 1995. p. 4. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  28. ^ "QX oyster disease". www.dpi.nsw.gov.au. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  29. ^ Ltd, Civica Pty. "Judds Brickworks, Mortdale NSW, Believed to be 1972". georgesriver.spydus.com. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  30. ^ "NEW CAR NUMBER PLATES". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 6 May 1937. p. 8. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Mr A. Page is getting ready to produce new three-letter three-figure number plates for N.S.W." Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953). 19 November 1950. p. 2. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  32. ^ "He Will Make Our New Number Plates". Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954). 24 November 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  33. ^ Ltd, CreditorWatch Pty. "SURELLI FURNITURE PTY LTD (ACN# 001 665 783)". CreditorWatch Express. Retrieved 30 March 2019. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  34. ^ "COMPANIES (NEW SOUTH WALES) CODE". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Business (National : 1987 - 2004). 12 December 1989. p. 3491. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  35. ^ "DEATH OF MR. CUTHBERTSON". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 8 January 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  36. ^ "Advertising - WANTED EXPERIENCED BOOT TRADE MACHINIST FOR NURSERY SHOES". Propeller (Hurstville, NSW : 1911 - 1954). 7 October 1954. p. 5. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  37. ^ Cuthbertson, Alan (August 1997). "Oatley Personalities Past and Present: Albert Ernest "Bert" Cuthbertson - his family - the shoe factory" (PDF). pp. 30–35.
  38. ^ "Oatley Railway Station group". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01214. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  39. ^ a b "Como Rail Bridge". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01624. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  40. ^ "House | NSW Environment & Heritage". www.environment.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  41. ^ Jubilee of Sydney's Electric Trains Brady, I.A. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March 1976 pp41-66
  42. ^ Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society, 2003. Birds of Oatley Park
  43. ^ Field, D. 21 August 2007. Ospreys spotted in Oatley and Lugarno The Leader, p9.
  44. ^ About Oatley Park, Oatleypark.com
  45. ^ Benson, D. & Howell, J. 1990. Taken for Granted: the bushland of Sydney and its suburbs. Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst. ISBN 0-86417-331-8
  46. ^ ?, Hurstville City Council Archived 14 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ Parks & Reserves, Georges River Council, Hurstville
  48. ^ Oatley Park Wildlife, Where Light Meets Dark.com
  49. ^ Wallabies at Oatley Park, Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservarion Society, Inc
  50. ^ Lawrence, Joan (1996). St George Pictorial Memories: Rockdale, Kogarah, Hurstville. Kingsclear Books. p. 65. ISBN 0908272456.
  51. ^ Oatley Public School
  52. ^ Oatley West Public School
  53. ^ St Joseph's Catholic School Archived 5 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  54. ^ "Oatley Senior Campus - Georges River College". Archived from the original on 9 May 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  55. ^ All Saints' Anglican Church
  56. ^ St Joseph's Catholic Church
  57. ^ Oatley Anglican Church
  58. ^ Mortdale Oatley Baptist Church
  59. ^ Oatley Uniting Church
  60. ^ http://www.livingtruth.info/
  61. ^ http://www.cluboatley.com.au/
  62. ^ http://oatleyhotel.tripod.com/home.html/
  63. ^ http://off.oatleypark.com/?page_id=251
  64. ^ http://www.hurstville.nsw.gov.au/SPContent.aspx?PageID=14&ItemID=685
  65. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 July 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  66. ^ http://www.oatleylions.org.au/
  67. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  68. ^ http://www.oatleyrugby.com/
  69. ^ http://www.oatleysoccer.com/
  70. ^ http://www.asowsoccer.com.au/
  71. ^ http://www.oatley.gymnastics.org.au/
  72. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography

Coordinates: 33°58′52″S 151°4′29″E / 33.98111°S 151.07472°E / -33.98111; 151.07472


  • Sands and MacDougall Post Office Directory of Sydney (various years)

External links[edit]