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Wattamolla lagoon.jpg
Wattamolla lagoon, looking towards the Tasman Sea, with Wattamolla Beach in the distance and the waterfall in the foreground
LocationRoyal National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates34°08′15″S 151°07′04″E / 34.13750°S 151.11778°E / -34.13750; 151.11778
Length150 m
Hazard rating4/10 (moderately hazardous)
  • Wattamolla Road (transport)
  • Royal National Park Coast Track (foot)

Wattamolla is the name of a cove, lagoon, and beach on the New South Wales coast south of Sydney, within the Royal National Park.


Wattamolla is the local Aboriginal name of the area, meaning "place near running water".[1] That name was recorded as Watta-Mowlee by Matthew Flinders, but is today spelt Wattamolla.

Flinders, George Bass and a boy, William Martin were exploring in a small boat named Tom Thumb when, on the evening of 29 March 1796, a southerly gale (known as a southerly buster in Sydney), forced them to seek shelter.[2] They had been travelling northwards after having explored as far south as where Wollongong now is and in the darkness were using the cliffs and the noise of the surf to steer parallel with the coast.

At ten 'o'clock, the wind, which had been unsettled and driving electric clouds in all directions, burst out in a gale at south, and obliged us to get up the anchor immediately, and run before it. Matthew Flinders [2]

Flinders, "steering with an oar", thought the dark outline of cliffs ended and believed he saw breakers, so he turned the boat towards shore. Catching a large wave, they "shot across a sandbar" and in moments were in the calm sheltered water of the lagoon, which in relief they named Providential Cove.[2][3][4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sutherland Shire place names, fact sheet by the Sutherland Shire Council, August 2003
  2. ^ a b c Hughes, Thea Stanley (1984). Matthew Flinders. Erskineville, NSW: Movement Publications. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-908076-21-5.
  3. ^ A Voyage to Terra Australis by Matthew Flinders at Project Gutenberg
  4. ^ The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders, by Ernest Scott at Project Gutenberg

External links[edit]