Wollongong City

About the area

Key Statistics


Wollongong City is located in the Illawarra Region of New South Wales, about 80 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD. Wollongong City is bounded by Sutherland Shire in the north, the Tasman Sea in the east, Lake Illawarra and Shellharbour City in the south, and Wingecarribee Shire, Wollondilly Shire and Campbelltown City in the west.

Included Areas

Wollongong City includes the suburbs and rural localities of Austinmer, Avon (part), Avondale, Balgownie, Bellambi, Berkeley, Brownsville, Bulli, Cataract (part), Cleveland, Clifton, Coalcliff, Coledale, Coniston, Cordeaux, Cordeaux Heights, Corrimal, Cringila, Dapto, Darkes Forest (part), Dombarton, East Corrimal, Fairy Meadow, Farmborough Heights, Fernhill, Figtree, Gwynneville, Haywards Bay, Helensburgh, Horsley, Huntley, Kanahooka, Keiraville, Kembla Grange, Kembla Heights, Koonawarra, Lake Heights, Lilyvale, Maddens Plains, Mangerton, Marshall Mount, Mount Keira, Mount Kembla, Mount Ousley, Mount Pleasant, Mount Saint Thomas, Otford, Penrose, Port Kembla, Primbee, North Wollongong, Russell Vale, Scarborough, Spring Hill, Stanwell Park, Stanwell Tops, Tarrawanna, Thirroul, Towradgi, Unanderra, Warrawong, West Wollongong, Windang, Wollongong, Wombarra, Wongawilli, Woonona, Woronora Dam (part) and Yallah.

Land Use

Wollongong City is a rural and residential area, with substantial industrial, port and commercial areas and water catchments. Urban development is mainly along the coast, between the Illawarra Escarpment in the west and the Tasman Sea in the east. The City encompasses a total land area of 714 square kilometres, including bushland, dams, cliffs and beaches.

Name Origin

Wollongong is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning "the sound of the sea".

Indigenous Meaning

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


European settlement dates from 1816, when the first land grants were made. Land was used mainly for grazing, timber-cutting and agriculture, and later dairy farming. Gradual settlement took place in the 1820s and 1830s, with the township of Wollongong laid out in 1834. Coal mining was established in the late 1840s, with ten mines along the Illawarra escarpment by the 1880s. Villages grew up around the coal mines. Growth took place in the 1880s, spurred by the construction of the Sydney to Wollongong railway line and industrial growth. Steel manufacturing was established in 1926 at Port Kembla. The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, aided by immigration and industrial expansion. The population grew rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s, rising from about 91,000 in 1954 to 165,000 in 1976. Growth slowed from the 1980s, with the population increasing from 169,000 in 1981 to 173,000 in 1991, and then increasing gradually to nearly 202,000 in 2016. The majority of recent growth has been from new dwellings in Horsley and Woonona, and more recently, medium and high density dwellings in central Wollongong. Population growth is expected to continue, particularly from the West Dapto land release, an area extending from Kembla Grange to Yallah and Marshall Mount, including Horsley and the Dapto Town Centre.

Major Features

Major features of the City include Wollongong City Centre (including Crown Street Mall and Wollongong Central Shopping Centre), Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, Warrawong Plaza shopping centre, University of Wollongong (Innovation and Wollongong Campuses), TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute (Dapto Access Point and Wollongong, Wollongong West and Yallah Campuses), Wollongong Hospital, WIN Sports & Entertainment Centres, Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, WIN Stadium, Wollongong Art Gallery, Wollongong Science Centre and Planetarium, Beaton Park Leisure Centre, Lakeside Leisure Centre, Nan Nien Temple, Australia’s Industry World Visitor Centre, Futureworld Eco-Technology Centre, Symbio Wildlife Park, Wollongong Harbour, Dharawal National Park, Heathcote National Park, Royal National Park, Avon Dam, Cataract Dam, Cordeaux Dam, Woronora Dam, Lake Illawarra, Wollongong Botanic Garden, Mount Keira Summit Park, Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens, Dharawal State Conservation Area, Garawarra State Conservation Area, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area, Dharawal Nature Reserve, Port Kembla Steelworks, Tallawarra Power Station, numerous beaches and various lookouts and rockpools.


Wollongong City is served by the Southern Freeway, the Princes Highway, Mount Ousley Road and the Illawarra railway line.

Wollongong City Council

economic profile