The suburb of Blakehurst occupies the second last peninsula on the north bank of the Georges River before it enters Botany Bay. It is typical of the suburbs on the north side of the river - it has a pleasant air, a welcome lack of high rise buildings, the land is hilly, its river shoreline elevated and rocky, and its bushland setting has been retained as much as possible.

Location: 18 km south of Sydney on Princes Highway. It is part of the St George area within the municipality of Kogarah.

Bald Face Point
A bushland reserve, named when sandstone was quarried from the point at the end of Stuart Street for the construction of Tom Ugly's Bridge, leaving a bare cliff face. Bald Face Point is bounded on three sides by waterways and bays off the Georges River which flows into Botany Bay. The park feature a lookout on the high ground of the point. A path leads down the hillside to the quarry that gave the point its name, then to a small sandy beach with views to Tom Uglys Bridge. Aboriginal rock art and axe grinding grooves have been recorded here, but erosion of the soft sandstone of this rock point has rendered them difficult to see, not to mention more recent engravings by all and sundry on the same rock faces.

Close to the water's edge is a rock overhang where there are visible signs of its occupation by the local Aborigines of pre-colonial times. There is a shell midden nearby, and the cave itself is blackened by hundreds of years of fires used to cook the fish and oysters on which they would feed.

Georges River

Georges River and Tom Ugly's Bridge from Bald Face Point

The Georges River begins its journey approximately 60km south-west of Sydney in the town of Appin. From here the river flows north towards Liverpool, through the Chipping Norton Lakes Scheme, then east until it reaches Botany Bay at Blakehurst. The river flows through a very varied landscape from steep sided heavily wooded upper reaches near Appin to its almost fully urbanised lower coastal reaches. The banks of the river along the lower reaches are marked by large inlets and indentations overlooked by steep sandstone ridges and scarps, many being home to expensive residential properties. The Georges River is in fact an intermediate tide dominated drowned valley estuary.

The Georges River is a popular area for recreational fishing. Species present in the river include bass, bream, whiting, yellowtail, jewfish and flathead. The river is also host to a number of commercial oyster farms. The upper ends of the Georges River are abundant with Bass during the summer months and during the winter months these bass migrate down to the lower ends of the river towards the salt water to breed. Waste water inflows to the river are carefully managed to maintain the estuarine habitat.

Georges River at Oatley Point

The Georges River was an important focal point for Aboriginal life and culture in the southern Sydney region, offering both food, transport and dreamtime links. Several major language groups existed along the river: Eora to the east, Dharug to the west, north and north-east, Dharawal to the south and Gandangarra in the far south-west. The early 1800's saw European settler's migrating to the areas along the Georges River and the river became increasingly important as a transport route.

Known as Tucoerah by the local Aborigines, the Georges River was named in honour of King George III, by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788. The river was first explored by Bass and Flinders in 1795 on their first voyage on the Tom Thumb after their arrival in New South Wales. The exploration led to the establishment of Bankstown.

Carss Park

Carrs Park is a small residential estate which sits beneath Carrs Bush Park. Many of the streets on the estate were named after Aboriginal tribes. Carss Bush Park is a small natural reserve on a rise on the shores of Kogarah Bay near the Georges River.

Carss Park Reserve: A popular picnic spot among locals, particularly families, Carss Park derives its name from a pioneering family who settled here in the 19th century. William Carss because a wealthy cabinetmaker in the 1850s, his furniture was the finest in the colony and graced many a fine home in Sydney, including Government House, Vaucluse House and Greycliffe House.

The family cottage survives and is home to a museum which features local history displays. The northern end of the park, which contains a swimming pool and playing fields, was once low-lying swampland which, during the 1920s and 30s, was reclaimed with municipal waste. An unthinkable practice these days, this activity was commonplace at the time and many estuaries of the Sydney area were modified in this way, changing the physical geography and reduce the total length of Sydney's harbour foreshore by some 6 kilometres.
Location: Carwar Avenue, Kogarah Bay. Open all hours. Facilities: tidal swimming pool, kiosk, toilets, showers, barbecue facilities, historic cottage.

Kyle Bay

Kyle Bay, on the west side of Blakehurst, takes its name from Robert Kyle, who lived in the bay. Kyle was a local shipbuilder in the 1870s. The land around Kyle Bay was originally granted by the Crown to Robert Kyle and James Merriman in November 1853. Kyle Parade and Merriman Street are named in their honour. The area was subdivided for residential development in the late 1950s. At the head of Kyle Bay is a small sandy beach backed by a pleasant park.

Kyle Bay is surrounded by the suburbs of Blakehurst, South Hurstville and Connells Point. Kangaroo Point sits on the opposite bank of the Georges River. It is 7 km west of Botany Bay and 12 km north-west of the Cronulla surfing beaches. This leafy suburb is graced with scenic riverside parks and reserves including Merriman Reserve and Donnelly Reserve. Kyle Bay and Harness Cask Point are natural formations.

Legacy House is a historic estate on the eastern shore of Kyle Bay. It was bequest to children and first operated from 1948 to 1983 as a convalescent home for children. It was then taken over by Legacy as a home for the children of servicemen/women who have either lost their parents or whose parents were unable to care for them.

The suburb that takes its name from the bay is one of Sydney's smallest. In terms of area, Huntleys Point, with five streets and Rushcutters Bay with 10 streets are slightly larger than Holroyd, which for many years had no streets at all - it consisted only of a brickworks, though it is had been the name of the Local Government Council for some time previous. Fourth is the similarly sized Kyle Bay (nine streets), then Kangaroo Point (eight streets) and Canada Bay (13 streets). Breakfast Point has only three streets but it is larger in area than all of the above suburbs, as it is a big industrial site.

Kyle Bay has a connection to the Moran family, an infamous Melbourne-based criminal family of Irish ancestry, notable for their involvement in the Melbourne gangland killings. The family's activities are the primary plot of the controversial television series Underbelly. Family matriarch Judy Moran lost two sons, Jason and Mark, estranged husband Lewis, and brother-in-law Des to an underworld feud that resulted in the deaths of over 30 criminals. Judy Moran was first married to Leslie John Cole, who was shot dead in Boronia Street, Kyle Bay, during a gangland conflict on 10 November 1982. Judy Moran was divorced from Cole at the time of his death and had begun a relationship with Lewis Moran. Though she legally assumed the surname of Moran, she and Lewis Moran were never married.

Kogarah Bay

The bay to the east of Blakehurst is Kogarah Bay, which takes its name from the nearby suburb of Kogarah. It is an Aboriginal word meaning 'place where rushes grow'. The Aborigines called the whole area Coggery as the whole area north of the head of the bay was marsh land. Scarborough Park is the remnant of another strip if low lying marshes nearby. Kogarah Bay is a popular spot for power boat racing. On the bay's north eastern shore is Carrs Park, a popular picnic spot with walking tracks.

The name Kogarah is a corruption of an aboriginal word meaning rushes or place of reeds. It had also been written as 'coggera' or 'cogerah' but the current spelling was settled when the railway line came through the area in the 1880s. Kogarah Bay and Beverley Park were originally part of the suburb of Kogarah.

Tom Uglys Point

Georges River Bridge, Tom Uglys Point

The third road built from Sydney to the Illawarra, known today as Princes Highway, was cut across the hillside of Sylvania from Horse Rock Point following the establishment of a ferry service across the Georges River at Blakehurst in 1864. The subsequent development of the village of Sylvania increased local traffic and brought significant improvements in the road's condition. This led to the Blakehurst route taking the bulk of traffic south to Wollongong.

The Tom Uglys Point ferry service soon began to struggle to keep traffic flowing efficiently. To ease congestion the government replaced the ferry with its own more reliable punt service in 1883. The punt service was replaced in 1929 by the Georges River Bridge which forged a permanent link between Horse Rock Point, Sylvania and Tom Ugly's Point, Blakehurst. Tom Ugly's Bridge, built alongside the original bridge over the river in the 1980s, shares the traffic load today.

The origin of the name is uncertain. The popular explanation is that the name recalls Tom Huxley, the first settler and landowner. It is said that the local Aborigines mispronounced his name as Tom Ugly. It has also been suggested that the name derives from a white man with only one leg and one arm, living in the locality, known to the natives as Tom Wogully, or 'Wogul'. 'Wogul' means 'one', 'waggerly' is the Aboriginal word for 'lame animal', hence the Aboriginal name for the settler 'Tom Wogully' was corrupted to 'Tom Ugly'. However, it is now generally believed that it was named after an Aboriginal man from the south coast called 'Towwaa' or Toweiry', who later lived and died at the point. His nickname was Tom Ugly.


Sylvania Waters

Located on the opposite bank of the Georges River, Sylvania is the first suburb on the Princes Highway after crossing the Georges River via Tom Uglys Bridge at Horse Rock Point. Tom Uglys Point is on the opposite shore. Sylvania is mostly residential but also contains areas of native bushland and some commercial developments on the Princes Highway and Port Hacking Road. Sylvania Heights is a locality in the western part of the suburb. Sylvania Waters and Kangaroo Point share the same postcode (2224).

The traditional owners of Sylvania are the Dharawal Aboriginal people and their archaeological heritage is evident in a number of registered middens, burial and art sites in rockshelters on the Georges River. After European settlement, this land was acquired by John Connell Laycock as a Crown grant. Thomas Holt (after whom Holt Road is named), a prominent landowner, financier and politician, acquired it a few years later as part of the Holt-Sutherland Estate, some 13,000 acres (53 km2). The naming of Sylvania is unclear, but 'sylvan' which means inhabiting the woods, relates to the setting of this suburb. The native vegetation of the suburb is now fast disappearing, as a result of increased development. Thomas Holt built Sutherland House on the foreshore of Gwawley Bay in 1818, on the eastern side of Sylvania. He established the Sutherland Estate Company in 1881 and a village grew here, with a post office opening in 1883.

Sylvania Waters: Much of the land of Sylvania Waters was reclaimed from Gwawley Bay, effectively destroying the highly integrated mangrove flora of the bay. Sylvania Waters Estate was developed by L.J.Hooker in the 1960s; land offered had water frontages with boating facilities on a series of man-made canals and islands. Streets were named after Australian rivers to emphasise the association with water, such as Shoalhaven, Tweed, Murrumbidgee, Hawkesbury and Barwon. Sylvania Waters was a 1992 reality television program which followed the lives of the Donaher family living at Macintyre Crescent. The suburb became infamous when the series screened across Australia and internationally. One of the artificial islands in Sylvania Waters (James Cook Island) was used in the filming of the movie Superman Returns (2006) as the location of Lois Lane's house.

Sylvania Heights: located in the north-western part of the suburb of Sylvania, the suburb overlooks Oyster Bay on its south east shore. The main road through the locality is Princes Highway which is lined with shops, including Sylvania Heights Plaza. This section of Princes Highway follows the line of a track used by pre-colonial Aborigines to travel between the Botany Bay region and the Illawarra.

The original inhabitants are thought to be from the Aboriginal clan most prominent in the St George area, the Gameygal or Kameygal, the people of Kamay (Botany Bay). They belonged to the Dharug (Eora) language group. Although still classified as hunters and gatherers, the Aborigines in the Botany Bay and Georges River area tended to be less nomadic than the inland tribes because their source of food was more reliable, especially the shellfish in the shallow waterways. There were many middens which contained the remains of shellfish meals as well as marsupials, fish and marine animal bones. A few have survived at places like Bald Face Point, Shipwrights Bay Reserve, Oatley Point and Carrs Park, but most were used by the early lime burners in the production of cement. Remnants of engravings and axe grinding grooves on the rock face at Bald Face Point have been recorded, but erosion has all but obliterated them.

Shipwrights Bay

In the early days of European settlement, the area was covered with dense forests which attracted timber-getters. Fauna and flora were abundant and Kogarah's floral emblem - the waratah - grew prolifically. Charcoal burning and lime-making from shells were two early industries in the area and as early as 1828 mangroves were burned to provide soda for soap-making. At first, settlement was sparse and the chief pursuit was mixed farming although the older occupations of sawyers, charcoal burners, shell collectors and fishermen and trappers continued alongside the farmers.

Blakehurst was named after William Blake, road assessor and postmaster for Cooks River in 1863. Blake ran a small farm in this area that was originally part of a land grant of 75 acres to Robert Townson in 1808. Blake's quarry, on the site of Blakehurst Public School, supplied sandstone for the footings of many homes in the area and provided material for roadways and the railway bridge at Como. A punt was established in 1864 at Tom Uglys Point or Punt Point. A few tales have been told about the origin of the name possibly being mispronunciation by local Aborigines of the names of two locals, Tom Huxley or Tom Waggerly, an Aboriginal man from the south coast who later lived and died at the point. Waggerly had only one leg ('waggerly' being the Aboriginal word for 'lame animal').

The name of Shipwrights Bay gives a clue to the type of activity that had developed around the point in the mid 1800s. Water transport was very popular and Blakehust was the ideal spot for boatbuilders to ply their trade. As a sideline they hired out boats for recreational use. Businessmen active in the area included Mr Callaghan, who built two sizeable schooners on the shores of Townsons Bay; George Thompson, who had a shipbuilding yard at Tom Uglys Point; JJ Mildwater and his sons, who had a similar business at Shipwrights Bay; and the partners Kyle and Merriman in Kyle Bay.

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