Bilgola Plateau crowns the Barrenjoey Peninsula on Sydney's Northern Beaches, rising 164 meters above the ocean beach to 169 metres. Bilgola lies between Newport to the south and Avalon and Clareville to the north.
The suburb was divided into two separate suburbs in 2012 - Bilgola Beach and Bilgola Plateau. The main road connecting the northern part of the Barrenjoey Peninsula to the rest of Sydney, Barrenjoey Road, runs through Hewitt Park along the cliff line between Bilgola headland and Bilgola South headland. The road separates Bilgola Plateau from Bilgola Beach. The ocean side of Bilgola, like all the suburbs on the peninsula, features sweeping surf beaches punctuated by high, rocky headlands; the west side faces the calm waters of Pittwater, though suburban boundaries show that Bilgola does not reach the Pittwater shoreline.
Bilgola Beach, 33 kilometres north-east of the Sydney central business district, is located on the Pacific Ocean side of the Barrenjoey Peninsula between Avalon to the north and Newport to the south. The land rises steeply behind Bilgola Beach to Bilgola Plateau and then descends to Clareville on the western side of the peninsula. Bilgola Beach itself is 500m long, faces south east and is bordered by a high headland, Bilgola Head to the north and the lower, shaley Newport Head and rocks to the south. The beach has a single sand bar cut by two shifting beach rips and permanent rips against the rocks at each end.
The isolated, atmospheric beachfront village built around the beach can become a chaotic nightmare on busy weekends when (it seems) the rest of Sydney descends on the place. The beach has a permanent rip called the Newport Express so stay between the flags if you want to survive the excellent surf here. A rock pool caters for children. Parking fees apply. It is hard to believe that an early settler, Rev. JJ Therry, once mined Bilgola Head for coal. Facilities: patrolled by surf lifesavers, changerooms, toilets, showers, kiosk. UBD Map 99 Ref B 6. Bilgola Avenue, Bilgola
Bilgola Rockpool is located at the southern end of Bilgola Beach. The rock pool is an 8 lane, 50 metre pool with concrete walls and floor. Bilgola rock pool provides all weather access for the disabled. Change rooms and toilets are available. Access from the carpark area off The Serpentine. Pay & Display parking is available.
The neighbouring suburb of Bilgola Plateau has views of the beach on the eastern side, and views of the body of water, Pittwater on the western side. To the north are the suburbs of Avalon Beach, Whale Beach, and Palm Beach, with Careel Bay being a minor bay in between the latter two. To the south is Newport, Mona Vale and Narrabeen.
The name "Bilgola" is derived from an Aboriginal term Belgoula meaning "swirling waters", or perhaps "a pretty beach with steep slopes, studded with cabbage palms". The word Belgoula was noted in Surveyor James Meehan's records of 1814. Robert Henderson received a grant of 100 acres in 1822 which he named "Belgoola". The district eventually adopted the simplified name "Bilgola".
This area was included in the 1833 grant of 1200 acres to Father Therry. For many years, the village of cottages in the area was known as Dalley Beach as W.B. Dalley, the first Australian Privy Councillor purchased land from Therry s estate in the 1870s. He is believed to have built a weatherboard house there. The house was rebuilt in about 1919. It became a guest house and served afternoon teas. Dalley s son, John, a satirical novelist, lived at the house and drowned while fishing at the beach in 1935. Colonel Walter Oswald Watt, World War I aviator, who was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery, also drowned at this beach, while visiting for the weekend in 1921.
Before World War I, attempts were made by Rev. J.J. Therry to mine coal commercially at Bilgola Head, but they failed due to lack of interest by Sydney businessmen. Much of the surrounding area was owned by the McLurcan family from the start of the early 1900s. Mrs McLurcan was famous for her cookery book, 'Mrs McLurcan's Cookery Book'. The large family home was surrounded by cabbage tree palms, for which the area is noted. There were plans during the 1960s to build a bridge bypass of the twisting road ('Bilgola Bends') between the north and south headlands of Bilgola. The bridge was not built but a small amount of landfill was added to remove a sharp bend in the southern end of the road in preparation for construction. The bend still remains, with the landfill now providing a small grassy area, with an excellent view of Newport Beach.
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St Michael's Cave