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The Sutherland Shire

is a Local Government Area in the Southern Sydney region of Sydney, Australia. Geographically, it is the area to the south of Botany Bay  and the Georges River. The administrative centre of the local government is located in the suburb of Sutherland, with council chambers located in Eton Street. The Sutherland Shire is also known simply as "The Shire".

The Sutherland Shire is predominantly a residential area but also has substantial industrial, commercial and rural areas. The major commercial areas of the Shire are located in the suburbs of Sutherland, Miranda (home to a large Westfield shopping centre, traditionally known as Miranda Fair), Cronulla, Menai (home to the only nuclear reactor in Australia, located in Lucas Heights) and Engadine

The Sutherland Shire also includes the village of Kurnell, close to the first landing site of James Cook, Sydney's oil refinery and Towra    point Nature reserve a Wetland of international importance. The Sutherland Shire is also where Australia's first and only nuclear facility        is based, at Lucas Heights The reactor, run by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) does not produce electricity but is used for the production of radiopharmaceuticals, research and irradiation.

There are three national parks partially within the Sutherland Shire: Botany Bay National Park, Heathcote National Park and the Royal National Park. The isolated suburbs of Bundeena and Maianbar are situated between the northern edge of the Royal National park and the Port Hacking. They are only accessible by car (through the park) or by the ferry from Cronulla.


Miranda is the commercial centre of the Shire with two other major shopping centres, Kiora Mall and Miranda Marketplace along with Miranda Fair. Westfield Miranda, known locally as Miranda Fair, has several department stores and many specialist stores. The centre is the fourth largest shopping centre in Sydney. Other suburban shopping centres, in Engadine, Caringbah and Sylvania have also flourished.

Major neighbourhood shopping centres have also developed at Bangor, Illawong and Menai together with a small centre at Alfords Point. Southgate is a popular shopping complex in Sylvania. Gymea Shopping Village attracts many people, with a regional arts centre, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre and a vibrant cafe and restaurant scene. Some of Sydney's finest chocolates are also manufactured at Nina's Chocolates, Gymea, which frequently takes out top awards at the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The Shire has a few nightclubs most notably, Carmens at Miranda, Fusion and Northies at Cronulla and A.K.A at Sutherland. One social hub of the Shire revolves around the Menai Catholic club and Northies, a pub opposite North Cronulla Beach. Sunday nights are the busiest of the week at Northies, closely followed by Saturday and Friday nights.


Population growth in the shire has been limited by approval of residential development. The population increased from 193,000 in 1996 to over 202,000 in 2001. Recent growth has occurred largely in the Barden Ridge and Menai areas (where the new releases of land for urban development have been) and around the main railway stations. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population of the Shire has been largely static over the past two years, falling slightly by 0.04% in 2003 and 0.07% in 2004. However, according to the latest census the population of the shire has increased to just over 215,000. The age structure of the shire is described as being an "urban mix", with a broad range of different age groups.

38.6% of employed residents work within the Shire, whilst 61.4% work outside the Shire, especially in the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) (16.8%). Of those employed within the Shire, 74.1% were residents. The largest occupations included

clerical, sales and service workers, professionals and tradespersons. The unemployment rate in Sutherland Shire was lower than the Sydney Statistical Division in 2001 (3.5% compared to 6.1%). The reason for the lower rate in Sutherland Shire includes a comparatively smaller share of the population aged 18-24, who often have higher unemployment rates than older workers (25-59). The Sutherland Shire is well known for being one of the most Caucasian areas in Sydney. Roughly 80% of its population are born in Australia, with the next countries being the United Kingdom, New Zealand and South Africa. The percentage of residents claiming Australian ancestry is among the highest in Sydney. Relative to other parts of Sydney, Sutherland Shire has a smaller proportion of overseas-born residents and less diversity in the range of countries of birth. Whilst the overseas population is growing, it is growing at a significantly slower rate than the rest of Sydney. One possible explanation for this slower rate is that the Shire's population is not highly mobile, and overseas-born

residents of Australia prefer to settle in areas with other expatriates. A comparison of the top 5 nationalities in the Sutherland Shire with the Sydney Statistical Division in 2001 shows the major difference was a lower share of the population of Chinese ancestry.

More than three-quarters of the population professed a religion in 2001. Like many areas across Australia, the top five religions in Sutherland Shire in 2001 were all forms of Christianity, with the largest groups including Catholics, Anglicans and Uniting Church adherents. Sutherland Shire also noted very little change in the share of persons with non-Christian beliefs between 1996 and 2001, which was against the broader pattern of growth.

Education (See Detailed List of Schools in The Shire)

There are now nearly 100 schools in the Shire including the Gymea and Loftus Colleges of Technical and Further Education, more than twenty secondary schools, preschool centres and schools provided to serve children with special needs.


The Sutherland Shire has good health facilities including the Sutherland Public hospital and Kareena Private Hospital - both located at Caringbah, very close to most residents and many general practitioners within the area.

National Parks

Botany Bay National Park

Is a national park in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia located approximately 16 km south east of the Sydney Central Business District,  on the northern and southern headlands of Botany Bay. The northern headland is at La Perouse and the southern headland is at Kurnell.

A number of memorials, commemorating Australia's history are located at the entrance to the Kurnell Peninsula portion of the Botany Bay National Park. This area has a coast walk connecting the memorials, and is near the information centre and a museum.

The Kurnell Peninsula portion includes much of the eastern half of the promontory, adjacent to the Caltex Oil Refinery. The area is bordered by sandstone cliffs, eroded to a few metres above sea level in the north and higher in the south. The highest point is about a hundred metres above sea level and there are two mapped lookouts, Kurnell Lookout, and Houston Lookout. Hills of dry schlerophyl bushland include Botany Cone, 55 m, and Long Nose, 101 m. There are many small points and cliff formations and several walking tracks. The carpark and lookout at the end of the Yena Track is popular for whale watching in the migration season.


Is a national park in New South Wales (Australia), 34 km southwest of Sydney. The park has no private vehicular access. Access to the park can be gained from Freeman Road Heathcote. To locate the walking track you have to enter the park via the local scout hall property, which is located in Freeman Road. The gates are always open and anyone can walk through. The walking track is located at the rear of the property. This rough bush track can be quite hazardous in some areas and caution should be taken whilst hiking. After following the bush track for approximately half an hour, you will come across a wide dirt road. Heading south along this road will take you past some of the many watering holes wear one may wish to go for a dip or take you past some of the many small waterfalls that can be found all the way along. Following this road all the way to end will eventually lead you to Woronora Dam. Access to the park can be found at several other vantage points around the Heathcote area. They are normally located in private residential streets around Heathcote.

The Royal National Park

Is a national park in New South Wales, Australia, 29 km south of Sydney. Founded in 1879 by Sir John Robertson, Premier of New South Wales, it is the world's second oldest purposed national park, the first usage of the term "national park" after Yellowstone in the United States. Its original name was The National Park, but it was renamed in 1955 after a visit by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. (It could be argued that the Royal is the oldest gazetted national park because Yellowstone's original gazetting was "recreation area."). The Royal was added to the list of the National Heritage in December, 2006.

The park includes the settlements of Audley, Maianbar and Bundeena. There was once a railway line connected to the City Rail Illawarra Line but this has now closed. The Sydney Tramway Museum, at Loftus currently runs a tram line on this allotment.

Audley can be accessed by road, and there are several railway stations on the outskirts of the park. Bundeena and Maianbar can also be accessed by road through the park or by the passenger ferry service from Cronulla. Road access is also possible from the south at Otford   near Stanwell Park.

There are numerous walking trails, BBQ areas & picnic sites throughout the park. Mountain Biking is allowed on Fire Trails and on specially marked tracks within the Park. The specially marked Mountain Biking tracks are bi-directional; care should be taken when traversing these trails. There is a car park just within the Park to leave vehicles. A fee of $11.00 Australian applies when taking a car into the Park.

One popular walk is the coast walk. It is a two-day walk, involving walking from Bundeena to North Era and camping for the night. The   next day's walk proceeds to Otford, where there is a railway station. This walk is often done as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

There were big bushfires in 1994 that burnt large parts of the park. These areas are being rehabilitated.

There are camping sites at Bundeena and North Era. These are the only places where camping is permitted within the park, and they are regulated with a booking/registration system, which requires pre-booking a site.

Geography, flora and fauna

The Royal National contains a wide variety of terrain. Roughly, the park moves from coastal cliffs broken by beaches and small inlets to an ancient high plateau broken by extensive and deep river valleys. The river valleys drain from south to north where they run into Port Hacking, the extensive but generally shallow harbour inlet which forms the northern border of the park. When looking across the park from east to west (or vice versa) the rugged folds of valley after valley fade into the distance.

Coastal heathland

Running the full coastal length of the park is a coastal heathland characterised by hardy, low-growing, salt-tolerant shrubs that spread across rocky, hard terrain with very little topsoil. The coast itself is composed mostly of high cliffs reaching a height of nearly two hundred metres at the southern end. These cliffs are punctuated by a number of fine, sandy beaches open to the ocean and providing fine swimming and surfing. Several of the beaches can be reached by road, others only by several hours bush walking. There are a small number of rocky coves. The beaches, two of which have volunteer surf life saving clubs and large car parks, are amongst the most visited areas of the park.

Exposed uplands

Moving farther inland the terrain rises to a series of very rocky ridges and plateaus characterised by hardy, low-growing shrubs and very poor, rocky soil. These ridges are the remnants of an ancient, much larger plateau that has been deeply eroded into an extensive series of river valleys

Valley sides

On the sides of the steep river valleys that punctuate the uplands the terrain changes to exposed rock with collected pockets of soil. Although still fairly rocky, a large number of eucalyptus and other tree species are prevalent. Small streams are to be found reasonably frequently and understory plants cohabitate with the larger trees, although the terrain is still fairly open and easy to move through. Tree heights in this area reach an average maximum of about ten metres. The plant mix and geography conditions in this area are typical of much of the terrain in the coastal areas of New South Wales.

Valley floors

With rich soils and good supply of water the valley floors are cooler and more humid than any other part of the park. Large tree species such as Australian Cedar and the larger Eucalypt species dominate. Tree height reach 30 metres or more and a rich understory of fern, wattles, and other medium-size plants proliferate. Some small areas are classified as temperate rainforest. These areas are characterised by dense groves of very large trees including the iconic Port Jackson and Moreton Bay Fig trees. The absence of light leads to a lack of undergrowth other than a profusion of ferns. These are among the more popular areas for visitors to the park. The park service is also very careful to protect these areas due to their general rarity in the hot, arid Australian landscape.

Park highlights

· Audley

Audley is a large, flat area at the base of one of the larger valleys in the park. The main road into the park from the north drops quickly from the heights to Audley, where it crosses the Hacking River on a weir before climbing up the other side of the valley to continue further into the park. Audley was developed in the late 19th century as a picnic area for Sydneysiders on a day trip. A large, heritage listed timber boathouse from that time still exists on the western bank of the weir and currently rents rowing boats and canoes to allow leisurely exploration of the upper reaches of the river. It also rents mountain bikes. A timber dance hall built in the early 20th century on the eastern bank is available for functions. Large picnic areas, grassy meadows and a café, rest rooms and a colony of hungry ducks complete the picnic picture. Audley is as popular with families today as it was in the 19th century. After a heavy rain the weir floods, closing the road and forcing the residents of Bundeena to drive an extra 30 kilometres to the southern end of the park if they wish to drive to Sydney.


· Jibbon Hill

This is the southern head of Port Hacking and has fine views over the Sutherland peninsula. Aboriginal rock art sites are visible.


· Eagle Rock 

A unique rock formation near Curracarong, about halfway down the length of the park on the coast. It is a large rock outcrop that looks like an eagle's head when viewed from the side. The other remarkable feature of Curracarong are the several waterfalls which tumble over the cliffs and into the sea over one hundred metres below.


· Garie Beach

One of the most popular coastal surf beaches in the park.


· Wattamolla beach

Has a large lagoon tucked behind the beach, which then enters the sea via an ankle-deep stream at one end of the beach. Families enjoy playing in the calm lagoon with their young children whilst adults enjoy the clean, even surf. Substantial parking and a canteen serving refreshments on summer weekends are also there.


·    'Figure 8' pool

            south of Burning Palms


· Werrong beach

Is one of the legal naturist beaches in the park. It faces east on the Pacific Ocean. The hill behind the beach is covered in trees and undergrowth. Those who camp overnight can be woken at dawn by wallabies wandering around the campsite.


· Lady Carrington Drive

Lady Carrington Drive was one of the early roads through the park. It runs south from Audley, roughly following the Hacking River upstream from the weir for a distance of about 10 kilometres (6 miles) to its end, where it meets the main sealed road through the park (there is limited parking at the southern end). The road was a popular carriage drive in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It had long been closed to traffic and now forms one of the most popular walking and cycling tracks in the park. It is mostly flat and well formed (although unsealed) and being a former road averages 4 to 5 metres (12 to 18 feet) in width. It passes through valley floor vegetation and in spring is lit up by brilliant yellow displays of wattle trees and oranges and reds of the Australian native Banksia trees and Waratah flowers. Many secondary schools in the Sutherland Shire area use Lady Carrington Drive for an annual sports or fundraising event where their students walk from the southern end through to Audley where a large barbecue picnic is held.

Suburbs in the Sutherland Shire


2224 - Kangaroo Point, Sylvania, Sylvania Waters.

2225 - Oyster Bay.

2226 - Bonnet Bay, Como, Jannali.

2227 - Gymea, Gymea Bay.

2228 - Miranda, Yowie Bay.

2229 - Caringbah, Dolans Bay, Lilli Pilli, Port Hacking, Taren Point.

2230 - Bundeena, Burraneer, Cronulla, Maianbar, Woolooware.

2231 - Kurnell.

2232 - Audley, Grays Point, Kareela, Kirrawee, Loftus, Sutherland, Woronora.

2233 - Engadine, Heathcote, Waterfall, Woronora Heights, Yarrawarrah.

2234 - Alfords Point, Bangor, Barden Ridge, Illawong, Lucas Heights, Menai, Sandy Point

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