Kurnell Community Guide and Business Directory


Kurnell is a suburb in southern Sydney, located 22 km south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Sutherland Shire.

The Kurnell peninsula is the southern headland of Botany Bay. Cronulla and Woolooware are the only adjacent suburbs. It is a 10-12 minute drive from the centre of Cronulla. La Perouse is located opposite, on the northern headland of Botany Bay.

The eastern side of the peninsula is part of Botany Bay National Park, with sheer sandstone cliffs dominating the coastline. Silver Beach provides protected swimming in Botany Bay, with views towards the city. Towra Point Nature Reserve is located on the western side of the suburb.

Places of Interest

The northern part of the peninsula is a historic site known as Captain Cook’s Landing Place with a number of memorials located here:

the Captain Cook Memorial Obelisk, the Sir Joseph Banks Memorial, the Solander Monument, the Sutherland Monument

The Discovery Centre provides information and displays relics from the early days in Kurnell’s history. Endeavour Heights is a recreation area in the Botany Bay National Park. The Kurnell Lookout provides brilliant views of Botany Bay and the northern headland of  Botany Bay at La Perouse. Cape Solander is popular amongst whale watchers during the migration season.












Sport and Recreation

Kurnell is a refuge for animal lovers, with many residents keeping their horse here. It also offers an off-leash dog beach, which is frequented by well-trusted dogs which play along the gentle lapping shores of Silver Beach.

Triathlons are held in Kurnell annually. It is a safe place to ride a bike, with very little traffic. It also offers great running tracks through Botany Bay National Park, as well as running along the beach and swimming in the netted area of Silver Beach. A cappuccino can be  enjoyed at the local shop overlooking this swimming place, and a glorious sunset can be enjoyed any day at sundown from this quiet location.

This location also offers fishing, sailing and windsurfing activities. There is a free shuttle bus service during whale watching season, departing from the parking area of the office of the National Park.

With an abundance of shells washing up on Silver Beach shores, sightings, collecting and a strolling along the beach is perfect for both the young and old at any time and any season, making Kurnell one of the best kept secrets of the 'Shire'.


The small residential area with a population of 2600 (as at 30/06/07 source ssec.org.au) is located to the north with a small group of shops in the village of Kurnell. Kurnell is dominated by an industrial area, which includes the Caltex Oil Refinery. Refined petrol is piped to the other side of Botany Bay in an underwater pipeline. A controversial desalination plant has been proposed for this area and would be expected to provide much of southern Sydney with an alternative water supply. It has been criticized on environmental grounds (greenhouse gases and impact of large amounts of deoxygenated brine), and was shelved, but was resumed after the March 2007 N.S.W. State elections, and "Fast Tracked". Continued, widespread protest by residential, environmental, and community groups was declared to be irrelevant. Immediate work was begun on a pipeline under Botany Bay to carry desalinated water to the North Suburbs. The water supply of Kurnell is supplimented with bore water. On 25/06/07 N.S.W. Premier Morris Iemma announced Desalination Plant size would be doubled.(source, smh.com.au-search. Desalination) Total water stored in the Sydney catchment was at a low of 36.9% on 7/06/07. Rainfall increased volume stored to 58.4% as at 23 Aug 07 (source www.sca.nsw.gov.au/dams)

Sand mining on the peninsula has depleted the area of much of the sand that was originally there. It has been said that 40 metre deep pools now form in the dunes Pools are clearly visible in view from Google Earth. The remaining sand dune is used as a recreational off-road area for 4 wheel drives. The Cronulla sand dunes formed part of the location for the films Forty Thousand Horsemen, directed by Charles Chauvel in 1940 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Sand Dunes are currently being replaced with domestic and industrial waste. The only road to Kurnell Peninsula is also Flanked by a Sewerage Treatment Plant.















There are two theories for the origin of the name Kurnell. It is either a deviation of an Aboriginal word "collonel" or a deviation of the name of an early settler, John Connell.

Kurnell is considered to be ‘the birthplace of modern Australia’, as it is the place where Captain James Cook landed on 29 April 1770, when navigating his way around Australia on his ship, the Endeavour. The landing place is located on the north-eastern part of the national park. Sutherland Point is named in honour of a crew member, Scotsman Forby Sutherland, who died of tuberculosis during their eight days here and was buried on the shore. Cape Solander is named after Swedish botanist Daniel Solander, a colleague of Joseph Banks. Inscription Point was named by the Australian Philosophical Society in 1822 when they secured a plaque to the cliff face to mark the point of the Endeavour’s crew first landing.

Dampier Street, Tasman Street and Torres Street commemorate other navigators in Australia’s history.

The first land grant of 700 acres (2.8 km˛) was made in 1815, to Captain James Birnie, who established Alpha Farm. 'Alpha' is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and the name was thought appropriate for the first farm in the area. In 1821 John Connell Junior was also granted land here and used it for timber getting. His father purchased Alpha Farm from Birnie and by 1842 the Connell family's estate was over one thousand acres (4 km˛) in size. In 1860, Alpha Farm was sold to Thomas Holt (1811-88), who owned most of the land that stretched from Sutherland to Cronulla. The area was known as Birniemere for a time and Holtmere was once a locality.

Before the 1920s, Kurnell was used by fisherman as schools of several varieties of fish inhabited the Botany Bay foreshore and the open sea. Fishermen built numerous huts and shacks which sheltered them for the weekend fishing. During the Great Depression, from the late 1920s, many severely affected low-income families took up residence there. The area was known as Happy Valley.

Kurnell, Botany Bay National Park

Kurnell Peninsula was the meeting place of 18th century English and indigenous Australian cultures, where Captain James Cook's first voyage landed to replenish its water on the traditional lands of the Gweagal people. The seascape in this area is as magnificent now as it was two centuries ago, only the size of the passing ships has changed.

Things to do: A leisurely cycle along Cape Solander Drive, the wheelchair-accessible Monument Track or a loop walk from the Discovery Centre encompassing the Muru and Yena tracks will all bring you to the cliff top – and a choice of picnic areas – overlooking the Pacific Ocean and coastal woodland. The 1km Banks–Solander Track, which branches off from the Yena Track, is a short spur offering fascinating insights into the vegetation communities present in 1770. For something more strenuous, strike out south along the Cape Baily Coast Walk from the Muru Track to Cape Baily lighthouse (10km return).

The Discovery Centre's exhibition Eight days that changed the world is an interpretation of the first contact between Aboriginal people and Cook's crew. Other displays consider the wetlands, heathlands and woodland forest communities of this highly sensitive coastal peninsula. The display areas and toilets are wheelchair-accessible and the shop has a range of books, maps, gifts and refreshments.

Distance/grade/time required: 1–3km circuit walks; easy; 1 hour

Getting there:
By car (from Princes Highway) – Turn onto Port Hacking Road North, Sylvania, for about 2.5km, then left onto The Boulevarde at Miranda (which becomes Captain Cook Drive) and follow this for about 14km until it ends at the entrance to the park.

By public transport – Take a train to Cronulla, then a Crowther's Buslink route 987 bus (2–15 minutes later) from the Monro Park side of the station to Kurnell Reserve.

… and getting away:
By car or public transport – Simply follow the directions above in the reverse order.

Costs: If you're driving into the park at Kurnell, you'll need a vehicle day pass, which costs $7, so take coins for the pay-and-display parking machines. Telephone: 02 9668 9111.

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