Engadine, to the south east of Sutherland, is located 33 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. The suburb is mostly residential with some commercial and light industrial areas.
Transport: Engadine railway station is on the Illawarra line of the Sydney Trains network. It is located close to the Princes Highway. Bus Routes 991, 992, 993 and 996 are served by Transdev NSW.
Engadine is bounded by The Royal National Park to the east, Heathcote National Park to the south west and the Holsworthy Military Reserve to the west beyond the Woronora River. Visitors to the suburb can view across the Sydney Basin from its southern edge across to the Sydney CBD. The area also features rolling sandstone slopes and cliffs in places, with an abundance of native trees throughout. Natural landmarks include 'the Needles' and 'the Blue Lagoon' along the Woronora River, and the Engadine Wetlands to the east of the railway station.
Located within Royal National Park, Engadine Falls on Engadine Creek are reached via the Lakes Trail, which begins on the National Park side of Engadine station.
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Loftus and Loftus Heights are named after a former governor of New South Wales, Lord Augustus William Spencer Loftus (1817 - 1904). He was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of New South Wales and its dependencies in 1879. Loftus left Sydney in November 1885. He held this office at the time the railway station was opened and his name was used for it. Subdivision for building lots began until 1923, however, development was slow until the 1950s.
Australia's oldest tramway museum (founded in 1950), it pays homage to Sydney's tramway system, which was a world class undertaking, operating 1535 tramcars at its peak and recognised as having the biggest tram network in the world. In 1944/45 it carried over 404.6 million passengers.
The museum operates two tram rides. In the northerly direction, trams run parallel to Rawson Avenue on their own right-of-way past the TAFE College and the Army depot to our present terminus about 800 metres south of Sutherland railway station. In the other direction is Parklink, the former railway line which stretches two kilometres into the Royal National Park to terminate at the old railway station platform. From there, it is a short stroll to the Bungonia lookout or the National Park Visitor's Centre.
A further kilometre's downhill walk brings you to the pictureseque Audley Weir. The 80-seater toastrack trams were all built prior to World War I. They were renowned for their ability to move the crowds, especially in peak hours, race days or beach days. They excelled at this task during the Easter Show and the Randwick races. On visits to the Zoo in the fifties, double sets would collect passengers from the ferry wharf and take them to the top gate.
Rawson Avenue, Loftus at Loftus Railway Station. Phone (02) 9542 3604. Opening; Sundays 10 am - 5 pm; Weds, 10 am - 3 pm.
The Needles Causeway
The construction of Old Illawarra Road allowed the new route towards the South Coast to be about 32 kilometres shorter than the existing road that passed through what is today the Holsworty Military Firing Range and then Appin. At the southern end of the district Major Mitchell took the road across the Woronora River near its head, to the north east of Engadine, naming the steep path it followed the Pass of Sabugal. Sabugal is a town in Eastern Portugal, and as Mitchell served in the Peninsular war and would have passed through Sabugal many times, it is probable that the George River here reminded him of the scenery of Sabugal.
The road was mapped out and constructed between 1813 and 1845 under surveyor-general Major Mitchell's personal supervision. In all probility it would have followed ancient paths used by the Aborigines for humdreds of years to travel from one district to another. Old Illawarra Road as far as Old Ferry Road, and then Old Ferry Road down to the waterfront, is the section of Mitchell's road that passes through Illawaong. The road crossed the Georges River by means of the Lugarno Ferry. On the Lugarno side of the river, the road continued along what is now known as Forest Road to Hurstville, then along Forest Road (and later Wollongong Road from Bardwell Valley) to Tempe, where it joined Princes Highway into the city via Newtown.
Major Mitchell's road through Barden Ridge
The survey of the road south commenced in March, 1843 - in charge was Roderick Mitchell and later William Darke (after whom Darkes Forest is named). Thomas Mitchell used overseers and 20 convicts when he started in June 1843, clearing land at the headwaters of Woronora River. The road he constructed can still be seen today. South of Illawong, Old Illawarra Road still follows Mitchells Road through Menai to Barden Ridge, where its line is followed by David Road, Thomas Mitchell Drive, then Old Illawarra Road again through the Pass of Sabugal down to its ford of the Woronora River at The Needles Causeway. Woronora Road then follows the line of Mitchell's road through Engadine, The present Princes Highway from Heathcote to Bulli Pass is practically Mitchell's Road of 1843. The route never saw the level of traffic Mitchell anticipated, and it fell into disuse when the punt as Tom Ugley's Point was established around 1880.
A small community grew up, clustered around the causeway across the Woronora River, and down past the needles. Little now remains of these houses, and were all gone by the 1960s. An old Parish map shows Tirto Road running back from the river from Mitchell's old road. Today this road is flanked by rockeries and chimneys in the bush. There is no sign of habitation on the Engadine side of the river.
A close neighbour of Royal National Park, Heathcote is less frequently visited and is centred around the deep valleys carved out of the sandstone by Heathcote Creek and its tributaries. 32 km south of Sydney, the park can be entered on foot from a number of places around Heathcote and Waterfall area. Once known as Heathcote Primitive Park , as it was a wild place close to Sydney. You can see the beauty and diversity of the Australian bush in this rocky park. In spring, Gymea lilies give a scarlet glow to the gullies. Swim in hidden pools along the gorges. Heathcote is a walker s park, and Discovery Rangers guide regular walks (bookings essential 02 9542 0649). Camping permits are required.
Aboriginal rock art sites
A rock shelf in a front yard in Short Street, Heathcote, contains a carving of a 2 metre long snake. There is much evidence of Aboriginal occupation in Heathcote National Park though most is not clearly identified to protect it from vandals. Of particular interest is a rock shelter used by Aborigines located beside the Bullawaring Track between Kingfisher Pool and Myuna Pools. The shelter, its roof blackened by the cooking fires of the Aborigines, once contained hand stencils on its walls but these have been obliterated by graffiti. Alongside the overhang is a rare surviving example of a scarred tree from which the bark has been cut away to form a shield. The shape of the shield is visible even though the tree is old and has been affected by bushfires.
As well as a possible food source to the Aborigines of pre-colonial days, trees were an important source of bark from which canoes and shields were made. For an Aboriginal hunter finding the right tree for a canoe was one thing, getting the bark off and moulding it into a suitable river craft was quite another. In order to reach the desired piece of bark, the craftsman would need to climb and if there were no low branches, foot holds had to be cut with wooden chisels or stone axes. The valley of the Woronora River in Sydney s south was a source of canoe bark for Aborigines in the Botany Bay and Port Hacking areas. Numerous scarred trees can be seen near overhangs and caves alongside the walking trails of Heathcote National Park.
Kookaburras and New Holland honeyeaters are common in the wooden gullies while lyrebirds, yellow-tufted honeyeaters and spotted quail-thrush are less visible. Swamp wallabies, eastern native cat and platypus have been seen, but mainly in the early morning and evening. As with the Royal National Park, the majority of mammals are small and nocturnal and so are rarely seen. Possums are plentiful but are rarely seen other than at night.
To the purist bushwalker, walking inner suburban remnants of bushland is not bushwalking. Such is not the case at Heathcote, however, its main appeal being its limited vehicular access and lack of picnic areas, leaving the greater part of its area to walkers and campers. The park is home to fantastic plant life, both trees and flowers, and has plenty of lightly wooded sandstone ridges and gullies to explore. Among the best features are the pools and swimming holes which lie on both the Woronora River and Heathcote Creek. Access is easy. Leave Waterfall station, crossing the bridge over the railway. Take the Bullawaring Track at the northern end of Warabin St.
Bottle Creek Falls: Bottle Creek is a watercourse which flows through the township of Heathcote before falling over the escarpment into a deep valley. The creek then enters Heathcote Creek, which flows north into Woronora River and on into the Georges River. Close to the corner of Willandra Parade and Rosebery Street, Heathcote, the creeks passes over a small upper falls. At the end of Boundary Road it passes over another bigger falls on its way into the valley.
Kingfisher Pool: Take the Bullawaring Track at the northern end of Warabin Street from Waterfall station. Follow the fire trail to Heathcote Creek then walk alongside the creek past Bondell Pool to Kingfisher Pool, the most popular spot in the park. The at times unclearly defined track continues alongside Heathcote Creek after crossing Kingfisher Creek, passing an Aboriginal rock shelter near a tree from which a bark shield has been clearly cut before reaching Myuna Pools and its 3 metre high falls. Further on Bullawaring Track doubles back towards Waterfall along the line of Princes Hwy, completing a full day walk. Alternatively, take the Myuna Track alongside Myuna Creek past rapids to a rock amphitheatre and a spectacular waterfall as well as ruins which date back to the Depression.
Steam driven pump at Lake Toolooma
Lake Toolooma Trail: This lovely Sutherland bushwalk may only take a couple of hours to complete, but the wonderful sense of solitude it promotes gives you a real feeling of escape. Lake Toolooma trail leads you through uninterrupted bushland to a scenic secluded dam that offers great birdwatching. Though it can be quite steep at times, the trail, like most of the walks in Heathcote National Park, is easily accessed from Waterfall train station. Soak up picturesque views including Sydney sandstone vegetation and lovely water glimpses as you hike along this rough track. Keep your eyes peeled for birds like honeyeaters, wattlebirds and delicate fairy wrens.
Location: 32 km south of Sydney. UBD Map 351 Ref A 4. Walk in from Heathcote or Waterfall. National Parks & Wildlife Service South Metropolitan, 02 9542 0648.
The area was reserved for a national park in 1879, but in 1890 Charles McAlister was able to purchase land here which became known as McAlister's Estate. After an overseas trip, the family renamed their estate Engadine after the Engadin Valley in Switzerland. The wildflowers in the valley here and surrounding national parks were reminiscent of the valley and hills in Engadin.
Charles McAlister subdivided his land sometime after 1900. He continued to live in Engadine but later moved to Cronulla, where he died in 1915. Every year in November the Lions Club of Engadine runs the McAllister Day Annual Fete at Cooper Street Reserve to honour the family that originally settled in the area. Originally settled for grazing land, Engadine soon became a destination for camping and day-trips from the inner-Sydney suburbs. It remained isolated until 1920 when the railway station was built (with some funds donated by the local population). Many ex-soldiers settled here after World War I and several streets here recall this war and others as well, such as Anzac, Tobruk, Amiens, Bullecourt, Villers Brett, and Nelson.
Boys Town, in the western part of the suburb was modelled on an American Boys Town institution. The institution helps boys who have not been able to conform to the rules of society, regardless of their religious beliefs. It was founded in 1939 by Father T.V. Dunlea who was principal from 1939 to 1951.
The post office was opened on 1 January 1927 and the school opened in September 1932. In the 1960s, the district became more established as a residential area and Crown Land was released for private purchase. The remaining land-parcels were developed in the 1990s, in North Engadine and Woronora Heights.