Open main menu

The City of Wollongong is a local government area in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. The area is situated adjacent to the Tasman Sea, the Southern Freeway and the South Coast railway line.

City of Wollongong
New South Wales
Wollongong LGA NSW.png
Location in NSW
Coordinates34°25′S 150°53′E / 34.417°S 150.883°E / -34.417; 150.883Coordinates: 34°25′S 150°53′E / 34.417°S 150.883°E / -34.417; 150.883
 • Density297.70/km2 (771.1/sq mi)
Established1942 (as the City of Wollongong)
Area684 km2 (264.1 sq mi)
Lord MayorGordon Bradbery
Council seatWollongong[3]
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s)
Wollongong City Council Logo.png
WebsiteCity of Wollongong
LGAs around City of Wollongong:
Campbelltown, Wollondilly Sutherland Tasman Sea
Wingecarribee City of Wollongong Tasman Sea
Wingecarribee Shellharbour Tasman Sea

Located 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Sydney central business district, the City of Wollongong covers 714 square kilometres (276 sq mi) and occupies a narrow coastal strip bordered by the Royal National Park to the north, Lake Illawarra to the south, the Tasman Sea to the east and the Illawarra escarpment to the west.

The Lord Mayor of the City of Wollongong Council is Cr. Gordon Bradbery AM, an independent politician.[4]



The area covers the northern and central suburbs of Wollongong, bounded by Helensburgh in the north, the Illawarra escarpment to the west, and by Macquarie Rivulet (Yallah, Haywards Bay) and the Lake Illawarra entrance (Windang) to the south.[3]


At the 2011 census, there were 192,418 people in the City of Wollongong local government area, of these 49.5 per cent were male and 50.5 per cent were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 2.2 per cent of the population, which was marginally lower than the national and state averages of 2.5 per cent. The median age of people in the City of Wollongong was 38 years, slightly above the national median. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 18.5 per cent of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 16.4 per cent of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 48.0 per cent were married and 11.5 per cent were either divorced or separated.[5]

Population growth in the City of Wollongong between the 2001 census and the 2006 census was 2.14 per cent; and in the subsequent five years to the 2011 census, population growth was 4.45 per cent. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same periods, being 5.78 per cent and 8.32 per cent respectively, population growth in the City of Wollongong local government area was significantly lower than the national average.[6][7] The median weekly income for residents within the City of Wollongong was marginally lower than the national average.[5] The forecast population growth from 2006 to 2031 is approximately 0.99% per annum.[8]

At the 2011 census, the proportion of residents in the City of Wollongong local government area who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 66 per cent of all residents (national average was 65.2 per cent). In excess of 59% of all residents in the City of Wollongong nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 census, which was slightly higher than the national average of 50.2 per cent. Meanwhile, as at the census date, compared to the national average, households in the City of Wollongong local government area had a marginally lower than average proportion (20.2 per cent) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4 per cent); and a slightly higher proportion (79.4 per cent) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8 per cent).[5]

Selected historical census data for the City of Wollongong local government area
Census year 2001[6] 2006[7] 2011[5] 2016[1]
Population Estimated residents on Census night 180,358 184,212 192,418 203,630
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales 10th
% of New South Wales population 2.78%
% of Australian population 0.96%   0.93%   0.89%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
Australian 26.9%
English 25.8%
Irish 7.3%
Scottish 6.8%
Italian 4.6%
top responses
(other than English)
Macedonian 3.2%   2.9%   2.7%
Italian 2.9%   2.5%   2.2%
Arabic n/c   0.8%   1.1%
Mandarin n/c   n/c   1.1%
Greek 1.2%   1.1%   0.9%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
Catholic 29.6%   28.9%   28.2%
Anglican 23.7%   22.5%   20.9%
No Religion 11.8%   14.9%   19.6%
Eastern Orthodox 6.3%   6.1%   5.8%
Uniting Church 5.9%   5.3%   4.6%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$391 A$489
% of Australian median income 83.9%   84.7%
Family income Median weekly family income A$1,149 A$1,426
% of Australian median income 98.1%   96.3%
Household income Median weekly household income A$933 A$1,101
% of Australian median income 90.8%   89.2%

Council historyEdit

The name Wollongong originated from the Aboriginal word woolyungah meaning five islands. Archeological evidence indicates that Aboriginals have lived here for at least 30,000 years. Wodi Wodi is the tribe name of the Aboriginal people of the Illawarra. Dr Charles Throsby first established a settlement in the area in 1815, bringing down his cattle from the Southern Highlands to a lagoon of fresh water located near South Beach. The earliest reference to Wollongong was in 1826, in a report written by John Oxley, about the local cedar industry. The area's first school was established in 1833, and just one year later the Surveyor-General arrived from Sydney to lay out the township of Wollongong on property owned by Charles Throsby-Smith.

The local steel industry commenced in 1927 with Charles Hoskins entering into an agreement with the New South Wales Government to build a steelworks at Port Kembla, thereby commencing a long history of steel production that still continues to this day. Operations began in 1930 with one blast furnace of 800 tons capacity. In 1936, BHP acquired Australian Iron and Steel Limited and production at Port Kembla increased rapidly. The steel industry was a catalyst for growth for many decades, and laid the foundations for the city's economy, lifestyle and culture.

Administrative historyEdit

Local government in the Illawarra region started with the passage of the District Councils Act 1842 (NSW), which allowed for limited local government in the form of a warden and between 3 and 12 councillors to be appointed by the Governor. Between July and September 1843, 28 such entities had been proclaimed by Governor George Gipps—the Illawarra District Council, the 17th to be declared, was proclaimed on 24 August 1843, with a population of 4,044 and an area of 1,708 square kilometres (659 sq mi)[9][10] covering the coastal plain from Bulli to Nowra and including inland districts such as Kangaroo Valley.[11] Due to various factors, the District Councils were ineffective, and most had ceased to operate by the end of the decade.[12]

The Municipalities Act 1858 (NSW),[13] which gave the councils more authority and which allowed for residents to petition for incorporation of areas and also to elect councillors, met with somewhat greater success. On 22 February 1859, the Municipality of Wollongong, with an area of 8 square kilometres (3 sq mi) and a population of 1,200, became the first to be proclaimed under the Act in New South Wales, with 114 residents in favour and none against. The first elections were held on 29 March 1859, with John Garrett becoming the first mayor of Wollongong.[14]

Other entities sprang into existence thereafter to service the surrounding region. The first, on 19 August 1859, was the Central Illawarra Municipality, which extended over 339.5 square kilometres (131.1 sq mi) from Unanderra (west of Wollongong) to Macquarie Rivulet, and had a population of 2,500. After an unsuccessful attempt by Wollongong to claim the area, the region from Fairy Meadow to Bellambi separately incorporated as North Illawarra on 26 October 1868. Finally, the Shire of Bulli was proclaimed further north on 15 May 1906.[11][14]

Wollongong was proclaimed as a city on 11 September 1942. There was considerable pressure for amalgamation of the Illawarra area, which had transformed from a disparate rural area with some coastal towns into an increasingly urban-industrial region, and on 12 September 1947, the City of Wollongong, the Shires of Bulli and Central Illawarra, and the Municipality of North Illawarra amalgamated to form the City of Greater Wollongong under the Local Government Act 1919 (NSW).[11]

On 10 April 1970, a Lord Mayoralty was conferred on the city by Queen Elizabeth II, and on 30 October 1970, the City reverted to the name "City of Wollongong".[11]

Its motto is "Urbs Inter Mare Montemque"—"City Between the Mountains and the Sea". Its corporate slogan is "City of Innovation".

2008 corruption inquiryEdit

In February 2008, both elected officers and staff of Wollongong City Council were the centre of a major Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry. The inquiry revealed favourable treatment of local developers by certain Council staff. The inquiry heard evidence that a council planner had been sexually involved with three developers whilst assessing their developments. There was also evidence presented of an impersonation of ICAC officers and plans of intimidation.[15] This attracted significant media attention and renewed calls for tightening of rules of developer donations to political parties.[16][17][18] The Premier Morris Iemma also agreed that rules would be tightened as several of his Ministers were implicated in this scandal.[19] On 4 March 2008, following recommendations from Commissioner Jerrold Cripps QC, the Minister for Local Government requested the Governor of New South Wales to dismiss the council and install a panel of administrators (Gabrielle Kibble AO, Dr Colin Gellatly and Robert McGregor AM[20]) for four years[21] citing clear evidence of systemic corruption in Council.[22]

In October 2008, the ICAC referred briefs of evidence in relation to all eleven persons found to have acted corruptly to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). After considering the evidence available, the DPP commenced action and was successful in recording convictions for three of the eleven people ICAC found to have acted in a corrupt manner. A summary of the individuals concerned, and the determinations made by the Courts are as follows:[23][24][25]

Individual Role Details of ICAC recommendations to the DPP Criminal findings Sentence
Frank Vellar Property Developer various offences including offences under s. 249B(2) of corruptly giving benefits to Ms Morgan in return for her giving him favourable treatment to his DAs Found guilty of three charges of giving false or misleading evidence to ICAC and one charge of fabricating a document. A further false or misleading evidence charge was dismissed. He served a 10-month sentence via an intensive correctional order, was fined $3000 and given a two-year good behaviour bond.
Bulent "Glen" Tabak Property Developer various offences including under s.249B(2) of the Crimes Act for corruptly giving benefits to Ms Morgan and Mr Scimone On 6 July 2010, Mr Tabak was found guilty of an offence of wilfully make false statement to the Commission or a Commission officer, contrary to section 80(c) of the ICAC Act [a further matter was taken into account in accordance with Division 3 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999].

On 13 September 2010 Mr Tabak appealed against his conviction and sentence. The Judge dismissed the appeal and upheld the conviction and sentence.

He was fined $2500 and given a two-year good behaviour bond.
Frank Gigliotti Former Councillor of Wollongong City Council for offences under s.249B(1) of the Crimes Act of corruptly soliciting a benefit from Mr Vellar and under s.80(c) of the ICAC Act for wilfully making a false statement to or misleading the Commission Faced seven charges. Three were withdrawn, he was acquitted of one and found not guilty of another. He was found guilty of two counts of giving false or misleading evidence to ICAC. He served four months in prison.

The NSW Government installed administrators to run the Council. Dr Col Gellatly, Robert McGregor and Gabrielle Kibble were appointed to the administrator roles, but as of January 2010 Mrs Kibble resigned and was replaced by Richard Colley.[26][27] Following the passing and assent of the Local Government (Shellharbour and Wollongong Elections) Act, 2011 (NSW), local government elections were re-instituted in 2011, and a new Council elected, replacing the administrators.

Proposed amalgamationEdit

A 2015 review of local government boundaries recommended that the City of Wollongong merge with the City of Shellharbour to form a new council with an area of 831 square kilometres (321 sq mi) and support a population of approximately 276,000.[28]

On 14 February 2017, the NSW Government announced that there would be no amalgamation between Wollongong and Shellharbour council areas.[29]


Wollongong City Council administration building, located in Burelli Street, Wollongong.

Current composition and election methodEdit

Wollongong City Council is composed of thirteen Councillors, including the Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor is directly elected while the twelve other Councillors are elected proportionally as three separate wards, each electing four Councillors. Under the Local Government (Shellharbour and Wollongong Elections) Act, 2011 (NSW) Councillors were elected to hold office until September 2016, however delays due to amalgamation proposals pushed the election back until September 2017, with the council to be elected for a three year term. The most recent election was held on 9 September 2017 and the makeup of the Council, including the Lord Mayor, is as follows:[30][31]

Party Councillors
  Australian Labor Party 6
  Liberal Party of Australia 3
  Independents 2
  Greens 2
Total 13

The current Council, elected in 2017, in order of election by ward, is:

Seat Councillor Party Notes
Lord Mayor[30]   Gordon Bradbery AM Independent [4]
Ward One[32]   Janice Kershaw Labor
  Leigh Colacino Liberal
  Mithra Cox Greens
  Jenelle Rimmer Labor
Ward Two[33]   David Brown Labor Deputy Lord Mayor 2011–12, 2017–date[34][35]
  John Dorahy Liberal Deputy Lord Mayor 2012–13, 2015–17[36]
  Cath Blakey Greens
  Tania Brown Labor
Ward Three[37]   Vicky King Labor
  Chris Connor Labor Deputy Lord Mayor 2013–15[38]
  Dom Figliomeni Independent
  Cameron Walters Liberal

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Wollongong (C)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 April 2018.  
  2. ^ "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2019. Estimated resident population (ERP) at 30 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Wollongong City Council". Department of Local Government. Retrieved 26 November 2006.
  4. ^ a b McIlwain, Kate (12 September 2017). "Bradbery to win as Labor concedes defeat in mayoral contest". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Wollongong (C)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 March 2016.  
  6. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (9 March 2006). "Wollongong (C)". 2001 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Wollongong (C)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Wollongong City Council Population forecasts". 11 March 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  9. ^ Larcombe, F.A. (Frederick) (1973). The Origin of Local Government in New South Wales 1831-58. Sydney University Press. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-424-06610-6.
  10. ^ "Introduction". Historical Records of Australia. I. p. xvii.
  11. ^ a b c d "History of Wollongong City Council". City of Wollongong. 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  12. ^ Merivale, Herman (1928) [1861]. Lectures on Colonization and the Colonies. Oxford University Press. pp. 651–653.
  13. ^ 22 Vic No. 13 (Imp), assented 27 October 1858
  14. ^ a b Larcombe, p.270-277.
  15. ^ Dempster, Quentin (22 February 2008). "Dirty,Sexy,Money" (transcript). ABC Stateline. Australia. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Oppn defends ICAC donations revelations". ABC News. Australia. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  17. ^ Frew, Wendy (21 February 2008). "Gong-gate council under threat". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  18. ^ Tadros, Edmund (21 February 2008). "Planner's 'mission for sex'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  19. ^ Bibby, Paul (28 February 2008). "Iemma's new donation rules". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  20. ^ "The Administrators". Wollongong City Council. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  21. ^ "Wollongong Council sacked". ABC News. Australia. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
  22. ^ "Sack Wollongong Council: ICAC Commissioner". ABC News. Australia. 3 March 2008.
  23. ^ "Fact Sheet". Corruption allegations affecting Wollongong City Council. Independent Commission Against Corruption. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  24. ^ "Recommendations for prosecutions and updates". Corruption allegations affecting Wollongong City Council. Independent Commission Against Corruption. 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  25. ^ "The fate of the main players after ICACs findings in October 2008". Illawarra Mercury. 21 September 2012. p. 5. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  26. ^ Roderick, Laurel-Lee (19 December 2009). "Gabrielle Kibble resigns from Wollongong Council". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  27. ^ "Undertaking the role of the Lord Mayor and elected Councillors". Wollongong City Council. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  28. ^ "Merger proposal: Shellharbour City Council, Wollongong City Council" (PDF). Government of New South Wales. January 2016. p. 7. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b "City of Wollongong – Mayoral Contest". NSW Local Council Elections 2017. NSW Electoral Commission. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  31. ^ McIlwain, Kate (18 September 2017). "Meet Wollongong and Shellharbour's newly elected councillors". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  32. ^ "City of Wollongong – Ward 1". NSW Local Council Elections 2017. NSW Electoral Commission. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  33. ^ "City of Wollongong – Ward 2". NSW Local Council Elections 2017. NSW Electoral Commission. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  34. ^ Tonkin, Shannon (14 September 2011). "David Brown wins No 2 as independent sits on hand". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  35. ^ McIlwain, Kate (9 October 2017). "Labor reclaims dominance as David Brown elected as Wollongong deputy mayor". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  36. ^ "John Dorahy elected deputy lord mayor". Illawarra Mercury. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  37. ^ "City of Wollongong – Ward 3". NSW Local Council Elections 2017. NSW Electoral Commission. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  38. ^ McIlwain, Kate (25 August 2014). "Wollongong council deputy mayor voted on". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 22 September 2017.