Wingecarribee ShireEconomic profile lite
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Wingecarribee Shire

About the area

Name origin

Wingecarribee Shire is named after the Wingecarribee River, which is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning "a flight of birds" or "waters to rest beside". Wingecarribee Shire is also known as the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Location and boundaries

Wingecarribee Shire is located in the Illawarra Region of New South Wales, about 110 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD. Wingecarribee Shire is bounded by Wollondilly Shire in the north, Wollongong City, Shellharbour City and the Municipality of Kiama in the east, Shoalhaven City and the Goulburn Mulwaree Council area in the south, and Upper Lachlan Shire in the west.

Included areas

Wingecarribee Shire encompasses the townships and localities of Alpine, Avoca, Avon (part), Aylmerton, Balaclava, Balmoral, Bargo (part), Belanglo, Berrima, Bowral, Braemar, Bullio, Bundanoon, Burradoo, Burrawang, Buxton (part), Canyonleigh, Colo Vale, East Kangaloon, Exeter, Fitzroy Falls, Glenquarry, Goodmans Ford, High Range, Hill Top, Joadja, Kangaloon, Manchester Square, Mandemar, Medway, Meryla, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Mount Lindsey, Mount Murray, New Berrima, Paddys River, Penrose, Renwick, Robertson, Sutton Forest, Tallong (part), Upper Kangaroo Valley (part), Wattle Ridge, Welby, Werai, Wildes Meadow, Willow Vale, Wingello, Wombeyan Caves (part), Woodlands and Yerrinbool.

Economic region
Wingecarribee Shire

Land use

Wingecarribee Shire is largely rural, with urban areas in numerous towns and villages. The main townships are Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale, with a smaller township at Bundanoon, and many smaller villages and townships. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 2,700 square kilometres. Rural land is used largely for sheep and cattle grazing, with some timber production, fruit and vegetable growing, mining and viticulture. The Shire is an important water catchment area.


Wingecarribee Shire is served by the Hume Highway, the Illawarra Highway and the Southern railway line.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1821 when a government settlement was established at Bong Bong. Population was minimal until the late 1800s, aided by the opening of the railway line in 1867. Land was used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing and timber-getting. Growth continued through to the early 1900s, particularly in the townships of Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale, with some growth in the smaller settlements of Bundanoon, Burrawang and Exeter. Expansion continued in the townships during the interwar period. Gradual growth took place from the post-war years, with the population of the Shire growing from about 18,000 in 1954 to about 28,000 in 1986. The population continued to increase during the 1990s, rising from about 33,000 in 1991 to nearly 41,000 in 2001. Growth continued from 2001, although at a slower rate, with the population rising to nearly 44,000 in 2011. Much of the recent growth has been in Bowral.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Wingecarribee area were the Gundungurra Aboriginal people.