Woy Woy is a coastal town in the Central Coast region of the New South Wales state of Australia. The town is located on the southern reaches of Brisbane Water and near the mouth of Brisbane Water at the Pacific Ocean, it is a popular holiday destination. Woy Woy is located 84 km (52 mi) north of the state capital Sydney. It is a population centre within the Central Coast Council local government area.

Woy Woy
Central CoastNew South Wales
View of Woy Woy and Brisbane Water from Spion Kop
Woy Woy is located in New South Wales
Woy Woy
Woy Woy
Coordinates33°29′S 151°19′E / 33.49°S 151.32°E / -33.49; 151.32
Population11,072 (SAL 2021)[1]
Elevation4 m (13 ft)
Area6.0 km2 (2.3 sq mi)
LGA(s)Central Coast Council
State electorate(s)Gosford
Federal division(s)Robertson
Localities around Woy Woy:
Phegans Bay Koolewong Saratoga
Horsfield Bay Woy Woy St Huberts Island
Brisbane Water National Park Umina Beach Blackwall
Woy Woy Bay in the early 1900s

Woy Woy is located in the northern half of the Woy Woy Peninsula, a densely populated estuarine peninsula that also includes the districts of Umina Beach, Ettalong Beach, Booker Bay and Blackwall, in addition to several small sub-districts.[2] The Woy Woy Peninsula is the most populous area of the Central Coast. The historical and commercial core of Woy Woy is located around the railway station at the northern tip of the peninsula while its residential districts merge imperceptibly southwards with Umina and Ettalong. (Woy Woy officially ends at Veron Road and Gallipoli Avenue; and Umina begins beyond this).



Origin of name


The double name is a corruption of the indigenous term apparently taken from the local Darkinjung Aboriginal people, and reputedly means 'big lagoon' or 'much water', referring to the deep tidal channel adjacent to the town centre.[3] It was originally known as Webb's Flat, named for James Webb, the first European settler of the Brisbane Water region in 1823, and was first explored by a party led by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789.[4]

Small coastal settlement


In 1889, after the construction of the Hawkesbury River railway bridge, holidaymakers began to arrive in Woy Woy.[citation needed] As of this day, it remains a popular holiday destination.

Electrification of the Main Northern railway line running through Woy Woy to Gosford in 1960 prompted rapid residential development in and around Woy Woy in the 1960s and 1970s as its relatively low-priced properties with rail journey times of just over an hour and a half to reach Sydney or Newcastle.[citation needed]

In December 1948, there were private enterprise plans announced to develop 1259 acres of light industrial land, 800 acres of accompanying housing, a railway connection with the existing main line and the conversion of the World War II era airstrip at Ettalong Beach into an airport. If the concept had proceeded all costs would have been covered by the developer, including water, sewerage and other amenities. At the time it was predicted that up to 50,000 jobs would have been developed within 10 to 25 years.[5]

On 9 January 1994, Woy Woy was evacuated, probably due to the spread of bushfires.

The $24 million Peninsula Leisure Centre opened on 29 October 2005 after significant delays.[citation needed]

After their emigration to Australia, Woy Woy became the hometown of the parents of comedian Spike Milligan, who in turn became a frequent visitor to the town and at one point described it as the "world's only above-ground cemetery".[6]

Heritage listings


Woy Woy has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Historical population

According to the 2021 census, there were 11,072 people in Woy Woy.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 5.5% of the population.
  • 75.0% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 4.9%, New Zealand 2.0% and China 1.6%.
  • 85.1% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Mandarin at 1.5%.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 39.9%, Catholic 21.5% and Anglican 17.0%.[8]



Woy Woy has one Catholic school, St John the Baptist Primary School, located in Dulkara Road, Woy Woy. Schooling offered by the Sisters of St. Joseph commenced in Woy Woy in 1922 at the original St John the Baptist Church (Parish hall since 2007) located on the corner of Blackwall and Victoria Roads, Woy Woy.[9][10] There are also two public primary schools, Woy Woy South and Woy Woy, with the senior campus of Brisbane Water Secondary College also located within Woy Woy.



Woy Woy comprises 34,000 square metres of commercially zoned land of which 60% consists of retail businesses together with a mix of professional services and major supermarkets including Deepwater Plaza and Peninsula Plaza. Woy Woy represents the commercial heart of the Peninsula and vital commuter transport hub. The town centre is enhanced by the Woy Woy waterfront precinct and Woy Woy Channel with ferry links to Davistown and Empire Bay.

The Woy Woy commercial centre is represented by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce which is an affiliated member of the NSW Business Chamber. Woy Woy is recognised as the commercial hub of the Peninsula accommodating numerous legal practices, medical centres, banks and professionals. It is largely focused around the Woy Woy Rail Station (major transport hub) and bus interchange with a heavy retail concentration at Deepwater Plaza shopping centre on western edge of the commercial centre and Peninsula Plaza adjacent to the heritage listed Woy Woy Library. Small cafés and restaurants have clustered along the Woy Woy waterfront adjacent to the heritage listed Bayview Hotel and Woy Woy Hotel on Brickwharf Road. The traditional main street (Blackwall Road) has struggled in recent years from pressure from the major shopping centres and the resurgence of the thriving Umina Beach town centre.


The Woy Woy waterfront

An annual Brisbane Water Oyster Festival is held on the first Sunday in November at Ettalong Beach after being relocated from the Woy Woy waterfront in 2005 due to space restrictions. The event outgrew the location with over 20,000 people attending annually. The "Brisbane Water" Oyster Festival was inaugurated in 2000 and is organised by the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.[11]

The Woy Woy Little Theatre Company[12] perform four plays every year at The Peninsula Theatre, the sister theatre to Laycock Street Theatre in Gosford. Performances are generally based on strict plays rather than devised or improvised theatre forms and have been doing so since 1962.[13]

After their retirement, the parents and younger brother of comedian Spike Milligan (1918–2002) moved to Woy Woy; as a result, Spike spent some time in the town and was occasionally jocularly referred to as "the boy from Woy Woy". Woy Woy was the home to the now defunct festival known as "Spike Fest", which celebrated Milligan's life and works. Milligan famously named Woy Woy "the largest above ground cemetery in the world" when visiting in the 1960s. He made numerous references to Woy Woy in the radio series The Idiot Weekly.

In July 2007, a new cycle bridge near Woy Woy was named the "Spike Milligan Bridge".[14]

Another internationally known resident of Woy Woy was Olive Riley (1899–2008), of the Woy Woy Community Nursing Home, who became recognised as the world's oldest known blogger.[15] From February 2007, aged 107, she started an internet blog and also appeared in a number of YouTube videos.[16] Her last post was made on 26 June 2008, two and a half weeks prior to her death on 12 July, aged 108.[17]

Notable residents




Woy Woy is also home to several sporting teams which compete in Central Coast competitions, including the Roosters (rugby league - competed in Sydney's Jim Beam Cup, but not any more), Sharks (cricket), Woy Woy FC (since 1965) (football), Lions (rugby union) and the Peninsula Swans (Australian rules). Woy Woy is also home to the Woy Woy Tennis Club, one of the oldest Tennis clubs on the Central Coast.


  • St Luke's Anglican Church[18]
  • St John the Baptist Catholic Church[19]
  • PeninsulaEV Church[20]


Woy Woy railway station's waterfront location

Woy Woy railway station is on the NSW TrainLink network. It is a major commuter hub which moves significant numbers of local workers into Sydney and Newcastle each day. The station is also a major bus interchange with Busways services connecting Woy Woy with other Peninsula centres including Umina Beach and Ettalong Beach. Central Coast Ferries services also operate from the Woy Woy wharf connecting with villages around Brisbane Water including Davistown. Busways also operates 10 bus routes through Woy Woy to its surrounding suburbs.

See also



  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Woy Woy (suburb and locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022.  
  2. ^ "Woy Woy". Destination NSW. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. ^ Gosford City Library. "Placenames". Retrieved 21 July 2007.
  4. ^ Gosford City Library (March 2006). "History of Woy Woy". Retrieved 21 July 2007.
  5. ^ "Expansion at Woy Woy, Council told of Big Scheme". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 December 1948. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  6. ^ Chipperfield, Mark (13 April 2001). "Australia: A town called Woy Woy". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Woy Woy Railway Tunnel". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01835. Retrieved 18 May 2018.   Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  8. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Woy Woy (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 December 2017.  
  9. ^ St John the Baptist Primary School Official website
  10. ^ St John The Baptist Catholic Parish Official website
  11. ^ "Council supports festival". Peninsula Community Access News. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  12. ^ "Woy Woy Little Theatre - Community Theatre since 1962". Woywoylt.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  13. ^ "Central Coast Entertainment". Woywoylt.com.au. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Bridge is named after Spike Milligan". Peninsula Community Access News. Archived from the original on 15 September 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  15. ^ "World's oldest blogger Olive Riley of NSW dies". The Courier-Mail. 13 July 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  16. ^ List of Olive Riley's YouTube videos. (YouTube search page.)
  17. ^ "The Life of Riley (blog)". Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  18. ^ "Anglican Church Woy Woy". Woywoyanglican.org. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  19. ^ "St John the Baptist Woy Woy". Woywoycatholic.org.au. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Christmas at Peninsula EV". Evchurch.info. Retrieved 22 January 2019.