is a seaside city located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. Wollongong lies on the narrow coastal strip between the Illawarra Escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, 82 kilometres (51 miles) south of Sydney. Wollongong's Statistical District has a population of 292,190, making Wollongong the third largest city in New South Wales after Sydney and Newcastle, and the tenth largest city in Australia.
The Wollongong metropolitan area extends from Helensburgh in the north to Windang in the south. It sits within the Wollongong Statistical District, which covers the local authority areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama, extending from the town of Helensburgh in the north to Gerroa in the south Geologically, the city is located in the south-eastern part of the Sydney basin, which extends from Newcastle to Nowra.
New South Wales
The area was originally inhabited by the Dharwal (or Turuwal) Indigenous Australians. The first Europeans to visit the area were the navigators George Bass and Matthew Flinders, who landed at Lake Illawarra in 1796. The first settlers in the region were cedar cutters in the early nineteenth century, followed by graziers in 1812. Charles Throsby established a stockman's hut in the area in 1815. The first land grants were made in 1816. In 1830, a military barracks was constructed near the harbour. Further settlers arrived and in 1834 a town was planned. On 26 November 1834, the town was first gazetted and George Brown erected the first court house. The main road down the Escarpment through Bulli Pass was built by convict labour in 1835-6, although other passes were built during the 1800s as well, such as O'Briens Road and Rixons Pass. By 1856 Wollongong had a population of 864.
The main road connecting Wollongong is the Waterfall-Yallah Southern Freeway (formerly the F6). The freeway, 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 Dr. The Illawarra Highway connects Wollongong's southern suburbs to the Southern Highlands via Macquarie Pass.
Wollongong is served by the South Coast railway line. Passenger rail services on this line connect the centres of Nowra and Kiama to the south and Sydney to the north. A branch line connects suburbs between the CBD and Port Kembla. A passenger rail service connecting Wollongong to the Southern Highlands has since been replaced with a coach service. Freight services connect Sydney markets with Port Kembla and the Manildra factory at Bomaderry. The Southern Highlands line is used primarily for freight, providing an important bypass for Sydney's congested rail network.
Bus services in Wollongong are provided by Premier Illawarra, Dion's Bus Service, Green's Northern Coaches and other bus companies. Wollongong railway station serves as the network's hub. Services connect Wollongong suburbs to Shellharbour, Lake Illawarra and the Royal National Park. There is also a Free Shuttle Bus service that connects the CBD, University and the suburbs of North Wollongong, Fairy Meadow and Gwynneville.
Wollongong is serviced by Illawarra Regional Airport also known as the Wollongong Airport and the base for the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS). The Airport is located at Albion Park Rail, in the Shellharbour City LGA. There are multiple air charter businesses including NSW Air, EliteJet and Touchdown Helicopters.
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.