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Thirroul is a northern seaside suburb of the city of Wollongong, Australia.


  • Area:4.871 km2
  • Elevation:10 m
  • Population:6,083
  • Local Government Area:Wollongong City Council


Thirroul is a northernseaside suburb of the city of Wollongong, Australia. Situated between Austinmer and Bulli, it is approximately 13 kilometres north of Wollongong, and 69 km south of Sydney. It lies between the Pacific Ocean and a section of the Illawarra escarpment known as Lady Fuller Park, adjacent to Bulli Pass Scenic Reserve. # History Before European settlement, the territory belonged to the Wodiwodi Aborigines, who spoke a dialect of Tharawal, which some sources still suggest as an alternative etymology for the Thirroul toponym.Cabbage tree palms were once plentiful in the area and early white settlers harvested them to make strong fence posts. Stands of these trees are still visible on either side of Bulli Pass. Early settlement began in the late 1860s in the hilly area of the village as the lower beachside area was swampy and susceptible to flooding with high tides sometimes combining with heavy rain. Occupations consisted of farming, cedar logging, whaling and fruit growing and eventually mining when the Bulli Mine was opened in 1859 and the Bulli Jetty which shipped the coal from the mine opened in 1863. The township was known as North Bulli until February 1880 when the name of Robbinsville was chosen. The new name was decided upon at a meeting of ten men (including Frederick Robbins) in George's Whitford's "big new House" (located on the site of today's Ryans Hotel) in 1880. One suggestion for a name for the place was "Mudmire" but somehow Robbins convinced the others to call the town after himself. It only had a total population of 490 in 1891. In 1888 the rail link with Sydney was finished. Early construction workers on the railway caused a population increase, and the eastern side of the town progressed rapidly. The Thirroul Locomotive Depot opened in 1917. It closed in 1965 and only the barracks for the accommodation of the railway crews remain. The Railway Institute Hall (opened in 1920) where workers once studied has been classified as a heritage building. The construction of the rail link also created an increase in tourism for Thirroul. It became a popular family seaside holiday destination with boarding houses and holiday cottages in demand. Two known early residents include Samuel McCauley and Frederick Robbins. McCauley was one of the oldest residents of the Illawarra district when he died in June 1899 in Thirroul. A street in Thirroul has been named McCauley street. Robbins was a prominent resident who gave his name to the township of North Bulli as it was then called. He was made the first postmaster of Robbinsville in 1888 after, along with other residents, lobbying the government to supply a post office and railway platform. In 1898 the Amy was shipwrecked on the rocks at the southern end of Thirroul beach. All of its crew died. A memorial plaque to the Amy and her crew is located in the Thirroul Beach Park.Coal mining operations began at the start of the 20th century and miners needed residences, though logging had been occurring before for some time. The world-famous English author, D. H. Lawrence visited Thirroul in 1922 and wrote the novel Kangaroo about Australian fringe politics after the First World War whilst there. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, his house Wyewurk is the earliest Australian bungalow to show the influence of the Californian Bungalow style of architecture. He gave this description of the town: "... The town trailed down from the foot of the mountain towards the railway, a huddle of grey and red painted iron roofs. Then over the rail line towards the sea, it began again in a spasmodic fashion ... There were wide unmade roads running straight as to go nowhere, with little bungalow homes ... Then quite near the inland, rose a great black wall of mountain or cliff ...". A park and a monument (dedicated 21 November 1988) commemorate D H Lawrence's time at Thirroul.The book D.H. Lawrence at Thirroul by lifelong Thirroul resident Joseph Davis was published by Collins (Sydney) in 1989 and questioned many of the assumptions made by Robert Darroch in his 1981 work entitled "D.H. Lawrence in Australia" published by Macmillan (Melbourne). The Cambridge edition of Kangaroo (edited by Bruce Steele) tended to accept the views of Davis rather than those of Darroch. Davis has gone on to write numerous articles and a number of books about art and the environment in Thirroul and the local area, including "Greetings from Thirroul" (1994), "Greetings from Wollongong" (1995), "The Illawarra Society of Artists" (2001), "Lake Illawarra: an ongoing history" (2005), "John Brown of Brownsville" (2011), "Gooseberry & Hooka" (2012),"One Hundred Seasons" (2014), "Wobbly Wollongong" (2016), "The Real Alexander Harris" (2018) and "Rachel Henning and Deighton Taylor in Illawarra 1853-1896" (2019).Michael Bialoguski, later to become a prominent player in the Petrov Affair (1954) and later still an orchestral conductor in the UK and Europe, had a medical practice in Thirroul in the late 1940s. The artist Brett Whiteley died from a heroin overdose in the Beachside Motel in Thirroul on 15 June 1992, aged 53. The artist Paul Ryan is a long-term resident of Thirroul, as is the artist Frank Nowlan. The Thirroul Village Committee (TVC) was formed in 1983 because, in the words of Don Gray, "the town was looking rather tatty" and something needed to be done. Don was the founding Chairperson and Lynne Jones, the founding Secretary. In 1983 the population of less than 5,000 qualified Thirroul as a village. In 1993 the TVC won the Basil Ryan gold award at the Rise & Shine Awards presentation for improved streetscapes. The Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival, which is a successful community event, was the idea of Don Gray. The first festival was run in 1993. Lynne Jones organised the Festival for many years, building to the point where it was handed over to the Lions Club.Another community event was "the Growing Green Kids Festival' – a not-for-profit event which was the brain-child of resident Cate Wilson (1948–2012). Cate was also President of the Thirroul Action Group (TAG) - an environmental group which has functioned for around 30 years. Residents concerned about health risks picketed against the Telstra phone tower in 1997. Storms and floods severely affected the Thirroul area in August 1998.In August 2007, Thirroul's CBD and beach was declared an alcohol free zone as a council initiative to prevent public drinking on streets and footpaths within the designated area. A local developer, John Comelli, re-opened the old King's Picture Theatre In Thirroul as Anita's Theatre in 2007 after a lavish refurbishment. In June 2011 the theatre was purchased for $1.05 million by a consortium headed by Rennie Cristini. A buyer from Sydney with a "vested interest in theatre" is the new owner of Anita's Theatre in Thirroul. In 2013, the property sold for $1.4million – $350,000 more than its last sale price in 2011" according to the Illawarra Mercury. (Illawarra Mercury 15 November 2013). Thirroul resident Don Gray has released (June 2011) a self-published book of his memories called My Thirroul illustrated by local artist, Christine Hill. A children's playground was opened by Wollongong Council with a plaque carrying their names on 4 July 2012. Some of the art work evokes Gray's memories of an elephant stuck in the former Thirroul Beach lagoon on the current site of the playground – a story he recalled (and which Christine Hill illustrated) in his book. Gray died on 28 April 2013, aged 93 (Illawarra Mercury, 30 April 2013). # Weather # Things to do