A blend of residential paradise and tourist heaven, the suburbs in the 2257 postcode surround the entrance to Brisbane Water on the Central Coast of NSW and have a rich aboriginal and maritime history. The area has a spectacular landscape, small secluded beaches, tranquil waterways, steep sandstone cliffs and escarpments, rainforest and picturesque coastal heathland blanketed in wildflower colour.
In Bouddi National Park you will find Australia’s first marine protected areas and can take a bushwalk to Box Head to experience sweeping coastal views, go swimming, fishing or whale watching. Brisbane Water was home to the Guringai tribe. There are many significant Aboriginal sites in the area including rock shelters, shellfish middens, and rock engraving sites.
The first white settler, James Webb, settled here in 1823, and the shipbuilder, Rock Davis, had land near Mt Ettalong that he exploited for timber in the late 19th century. Early shipbuilding saw over five hundred named vessels built between 1829 and 1953. The Brisbane Water shipbuilders and the products they transported were a mainstay of the eastern Australian coastal trade. The vessels carried huge quantities of shells for lime manufacture needed for the building of Sydney, and thousands of tons of timber for wharf pilings, railway sleepers or mine props to support the State’s economic growth.
Before reliable road transport and the opening of the Rip Bridge in 1974, which spans the narrow channel between Booker Bay and Daleys Point, the many small communities around Brisbane Water relied heavily on small ferries for travel to other areas.
The area became a popular tourism area in the years between 1910 and 1930. Today it still makes for a great weekend getaway, being located just over an hour from Sydney or Newcastle.
Pictures and words by Anne Kable. Her pictures can be seen on Instagram here @kaleidoscope14