The main road down the Escarpment through Bulli Pass was built by convict labour in , although other passes were built during the 19th century as well, such as O'Briens Road and Rixons Pass.
By Wollongong had a population of In , a court house was built. In , a horse-drawn tramway from Mount Keira to the harbour was completed. In a telegraph line was opened between Wollongong and Bellambi. Patrick Lahiff established a coke works at Wollongong Harbour in the s. The ovens were demolished in In , the old lighthouse was completed.
In , steam locomotives were introduced to haul coal loads from Mount Keira mine to the harbour. Gas street lighting was introduced in In , a new court house was erected in Market Street.
Like many Australian court houses, it was designed in a Classical Revival style considered appropriate for public buildings. It is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. The Illawarra Railway to Wollongong was completed in , and now continues as far south as the town of Bomaderry on the Shoalhaven River. The navigator George Bass first documented the Illawarra coal deposits in There have been many coalmines in the district. Australia's worst coal mining disaster occurred in , at the Mount Kembla mine when an explosion killed 94 men and boys, the youngest aged 14, the oldest Two other men died attempting to rescue survivors.
In the Wollongong High School was opened. Heavy industry was attracted to the region by the ready availability of coal.
The steelworks has grown to become a world-class flat rolled steel producer, operating as a fully integrated steel plant with a production of around 5 million tonnes per year. Other industries to have set up in the massive Port Kembla industrial complex—the largest single concentration of heavy industry in Australia—include a fertiliser plant, an electrolytic copper smelter, a locomotive workshop, a coal export shipping terminal, a grain export shipping terminal and an industrial gases manufacturing plant.
In , the new Wollongong Lighthouse was finished on Flagstaff Point. In City of Greater Wollongong was formed. In the population of Wollongong was 90, In the Wollongong University College was established. In , the Wollongong Teachers College was established. In the Westfield shopping centre at Figtree opened. In , the railway line was electrified to Wollongong, and in to Dapto.
In the Wollongong Mall was completed. For a short while trams trackless trains were used in the mall, though this ceased due to dangers involved. The mall was re-opened to traffic after the initial test but re-zoned a pedestrian area after and has remained one since.
In the council chambers and library building were completed, replacing the old council building at the present art gallery site. The Crown Gateway Shopping Centre was completed. Wollongong Mall was opened. In the seat Wollongong Entertainment Centre was opened. In , as part of the Sydney Olympics, the Olympic torch was carried through Wollongong as part of its journey. In , the population of Wollongong reached , people. In Qantas established a daily air service from Wollongong to Melbourne that lasted till Also at this time the beachfront was renovated with a new lookout and walkway upgrade.
In June , erosion was caused via storms to the beaches, the worst in 30 years. Despite the decline of traditional manufacturing and blue-collar industries due to the abandonment of protectionist economic policies in the s, many of these industrial installations still exist.
The city's economy is, however, on the rebound, thanks to diversification of economic activity including higher education, the fine arts , tourism, residential construction and eco-friendly electricity generation [ citation needed ] ; however, the city's economy still relies primarily on heavy industry, and will continue to in the near future. The city of Wollongong has a distinct geography. It lies on a narrow coastal plain flanked by the Tasman Sea to the east and a steep sandstone precipice known as the Illawarra Escarpment to the west.
The coastal plain is widest in the south and narrowest in the north, with the city centre located about midway. South of the city centre but within the urban area is Lake Illawarra, a large lagoon. It contains strata of coal measures, and the adit entrances to many coal mines have been established along the slopes of the escarpment throughout Wollongong.
Suburbia encroaches on the escarpment's lower slopes in some areas, but the majority remains in a relatively natural state forested with dry sclerophyll and pockets of temperate rainforest.
In the north the escarpment meets the coastline, and north of this the coastal road Lawrence Hargrave Drive hugs the cliffline. The unstable geology of the escarpment resulted in rockfalls, forcing the closure of the road.
Subsequently, part of Lawrence Hargrave Drive was replaced in by the Sea Cliff Bridge just off the coast, crossing the submerged rock shelf. The bridge carries both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Illawarra railway line must go through several tunnels to reach the Sydney metropolitan area. The Southern Freeway and Princes Highway provide alternative inland routes, descending the escarpment further south at Bulli Pass or at Mount Ousley , entering just north of Wollongong's city centre.
To the south the plain reaches its maximum extent around Albion Park where it incorporates a large coastal saltwater lagoon called Lake Illawarra , separated from the Pacific Ocean by a long sandy spit. The coastal strip consists of highly fertile alluvium , which made Wollongong so attractive to agriculturists in the nineteenth century.
The coastline consists of many beaches characterised by fine pale gold-coloured sands; however, these beaches are sometimes interrupted by prominent and rocky headlands, such as Tego Rock, jutting into the sea. In places these headlands have been excavated or extended to create artificial harbours at Wollongong, Port Kembla , Shellharbour and Kiama.
Just off the coast south of Wollongong centre, near Port Kembla, lies a group of five islands known collectively as The Five Islands. The islands are a wildlife refuge. The inner city area includes the suburbs of Wollongong and North Wollongong , extending from Para Creek in the north, west to include the Wollongong Hospital , and south to the Greenhouse Park. At the census , the suburb of Wollongong had a population of 18, The CBD is a major commercial hub containing many department stores and specialty shops, offices, and entertainment venues.
It is centred on the Crown Street Mall and Wollongong Central , and approximates the area bounded by Market, Corrimal, and Burelli streets and the railway line. Surrounding the CBD lies a mixture of parks, reserves, light commercial property, houses and multi-story residential units. Multi-story housing is evident particularly on Smith's Hill north-east of the CBD, reflecting the popularity of combining inner-city living, coastal views and a beachside lifestyle.
To the east of the city lies Flagstaff Point, a rocky headland with eroded low cliffs topped by a grassy hill. The northern side of the point was excavated by convict labour to form Belmore Basin. This was later extended with the northern breakwater to create Wollongong Harbour. The area is the site of a historic colonial fort , several restored cannons and two lighthouses, a feature peculiar to the east coast of Australia.
The older Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse located at the harbour entrance was made of wrought iron plates in and has become an icon of the city. The newer Wollongong Head Lighthouse was constructed in atop the Flagstaff Hill and is still used in the early 21st century.
Belmore Basin houses the commercial fishing fleet and Fisherman's Co-op, while the main harbour shelters private vessels.
Wollongong has an oceanic climate Cfb , but with humid subtropical Cfa influences as its warmest month mean of The highest recorded temperature is Annually, Wollongong receives Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the seasons, with a bias to the first half of the year. It is often associated with orographic lift caused by the escarpment. The Wollongong metropolitan area includes the suburbs, outlying towns and rural localities stretching from Helensburgh in the north to Kiama in the south.
The following table includes selected census figures for these areas, together with those for the central suburb of Wollongong. Wollongong is continuing to grow with a population growth of 3. The west Dapto area is a major centre of future growth with plans for 19, new dwellings and 50, people within 40 years. Wollongong has a distinctly multicultural population.
Many migrants were attracted to the area by the job opportunities at the Port Kembla steelworks in the post-war period , and settled in surrounding suburbs such as Cringila , Warrawong and Coniston. In religion Wollongong is predominantly Christian. The major denominations are Catholic Major sources of employment include education, steel and food service.
The Wollongong Campus is the network's largest campus, and it offers a variety of courses. Wollongong has one university, the University of Wollongong , which was formerly part of the University of New South Wales. The University was awarded the "Australian University of the Year" in two consecutive years —, — by the Good Universities Guide, and is internationally recognised. Wollongong has a number of primary and high schools, including public, denominational and independent.
George regions of New South Wales. The club has competed in the National Rugby League since after a joint-venture was formed between the St. The club plays its home games out of WIN Stadium. The motorway, part of National Route 1, descends the escarpment via Mount Ousley Road to enter the city near the University of Wollongong and exits at its southern fringe. A second freeway, Memorial Drive formerly the Northern Distributor , continues northward from the university to connect Wollongong's northern suburbs, Bulli Pass and the scenic Lawrence Hargrave Drive.
Wollongong is served by the Illawarra railway line. Passenger rail services on this line connect the centres of Nowra and Kiama to the south and Sydney to the north. A passenger rail service connecting Wollongong to the Southern Highlands has since been replaced with a coach service. Wollongong railway station is the city's main train station, and serves Wollongong's CBD.
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