Sutherland Shire CouncilEconomic profile
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Sutherland Shire

About the area

Name origin

Sutherland Shire is thought to be named after Forby Sutherland, a sailor on the 'Endeavour'.

Location and boundaries

Sutherland Shire is located at the southern coastal border of the Sydney metropolitan area, about 26 kilometres from the Sydney CBD. Sutherland Shire is bounded by the City of Canterbury Bankstown and the Georges River in the north, the South Pacific Ocean in the east, Wollongong City and Royal National Park in the south, and Deadman's Creek, Woronora Dam, Campbelltown City and Liverpool City in the west.

Included areas

Sutherland Shire includes the suburbs and localities of Alfords Point, Bangor, Barden Ridge, Bonnet Bay, Bundeena, Burraneer, Caringbah, Caringbah South, Como, Cronulla, Dolans Bay, Engadine, Grays Point, Greenhills Beach, Gymea, Gymea Bay, Heathcote, Holsworthy (part), Illawong, Jannali, Kangaroo Point, Kareela, Kirrawee, Kurnell, Lilli Pilli, Loftus, Lucas Heights, Maianbar, Menai, Miranda, Oyster Bay, Port Hacking, Royal National Park, Sandy Point, Sutherland, Sylvania, Sylvania Waters, Taren Point, Waterfall, Woolooware, Woronora, Woronora Dam (part), Woronora Heights, Yarrawarrah and Yowie Bay.

Economic region
Sutherland Shire

Land use

Sutherland Shire is predominantly a residential area, but also has substantial industrial, commercial and rural areas. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 370 square kilometres, including beaches, waterways, bushlands, parklands and national parks.


Sutherland Shire is served by the Princes Highway and the Illawarra and Cronulla railway lines, with stations at Caringbah, Como, Cronulla, Engadine, Gymea, Heathcote, Jannali, Kirrawee, Loftus, Miranda, Sutherland, Waterfall and Woolooware.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1806 when settlers lived along the Georges River. Early industries included timber cutting, fishing, market gardening, cattle grazing and farming. Crown land sales began from 1856. The population grew slowly until 1885 when the first steam train to Sutherland commenced. Coastal and river frontage areas such as Como, Cronulla, Illawarra and Yowie Bay became popular as country retreats for wealthy city dwellers. Settlement continued slowly, with only about 1,500 people living in the area when the Shire was proclaimed in 1906. The population grew to nearly 3,000 by 1911, aided by the Sutherland-Cronulla steam train service which was inaugurated as a "light railway". This increased the popularity of the Cronulla beaches and aided in business development. By 1914 the population had grown to over 7,500. In 1921 the population reached nearly 8,000, by 1931 it was over 12,000 and by 1939 it was nearly 20,000. By 1951 it had risen to over 50,000. Significant residential development occurred in the 1950s, accompanied by industrial and commercial development. Farms and bushland were replaced by new suburban housing estates, starting in the east of the Shire, and later in the west. The population jumped to nearly 112,000 by 1961 and continued to grow to over 153,000 by 1971. Population growth since then has slowed as the supply of new land within the Shire is almost exhausted and infill development (villas, townhouses, flats and apartments) has become the dominant form of housing additional people. The population increased slightly during the 1990s, rising from 184,000 in 1991 to 202,000 in 2001, with growth largely in the Barden Ridge and Menai areas (where the new releases of land for urban development were). The population was then relatively stable between 2001 and 2006, before rising slightly to 208,000 people in 2011, with growth predominantly around the main railway stations, particularly Miranda, Sutherland and Caringbah.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Sutherland area were the Dharawal Aboriginal people.