Cronulla is a beachside suburb, in southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Cronulla is located 26 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Sutherland Shire.
Cronulla is located on a peninsula framed by Botany Bay to the north, Bate Bay to the east, Port Hacking to the south, and Gunnamatta Bay to the west. The neighbouring suburb of Woolooware lies to the west of Cronulla. The Kurnell peninsula, the site of the first landfall on the eastern coastline made by Lt. (later Captain) James Cook in 1770, is accessed by driving northeast out of Cronulla on Captain Cook Drive.
Cronulla is a popular tourist attraction and attracts many beachgoers from all over Sydney. Cronulla Beach features a long stretch of sand that runs from Boat Harbour to North Cronulla, followed by rock pools and another sandy beach at South Cronulla. The beaches of Cronulla from north to south are: Boat Harbour, Wanda Beach
, Elouera Beach
, North Cronulla Beach
, Cronulla Beach
, Blackwoods Beach, Shelly Beach
and Oak Park. Local names also apply to various parts of the beach, such as The Alley
, between Cronulla Beach and North Cronulla, The Wall
, between North Cronulla and Elouera and Green Hills
, to the north of Wanda, Sandshoes
, near the mouth of the Port Hacking
estuary, Voodoo Reef
and The Point
. The beaches are perfect recreational areas for swimming
and other water sports.
Shark Island, just off Cronulla Beach, is a famous surfing and bodyboarding spot, and the site of the annual Shark Island Challenge bodyboarding contest. Gunnamatta Bay provides protected swimming at the baths off Gunnamatta Park. Port Hacking is a popular location for such water sports as waterskiing and wakeboarding.
- Bass & Flinders Point is the southernmost part of Cronulla and features a monument to explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders, who explored the Port Hacking estuary.
- Darook Park, Gunnamatta Park and Tonkin Park are all located on Gunnamatta Bay.
- Cronulla Park is located behind the beach at South Cronulla.
- Dunningham Park sits behind the beach at North Cronulla, shaded by large Norfolk Island Pines. It features a children's playground, picnic tables and a kiosk.
- Munro Park, featuring the Cronulla War Memorial, is located opposite Cronulla railway station.
- Cronulla Recreational Reserve is located beside the car park at Wanda Beach, popular for sport and recreational activities such as flying kites.
- Shelly Park sits behind Shelley Beach.
The main shopping strip runs along Cronulla Street, which has been partly converted into a pedestrian mall known as Cronulla Plaza. It also extends along the Kingsway, Gerrale Street and other surrounding streets. Cronulla has developed a café culture, with some great cafés and restaurants located along the North Cronulla foreshore and Cronulla Plaza. Tourists can choose from a number of hotels, motels and serviced apartments. Cronulla has many attractions including an independent cinema, nightclubs, pubs and bars. Northies is a well-known pub, near North Cronulla Beach.
Cronulla is home to a number of primary and secondary schools: Cronulla High School, De La Salle College, Our Lady of Mercy College, Cronulla Public School, South Cronulla Public School, St Francis De Sales, Burraneer Bay Public School, St Aloysius Catholic Primary School.
St Andrews Anglican Church, St Aloysius Catholic Church, Cronulla Baptist Church, Cronulla Uniting Church, Presbyterian War Memorial Church.
Cronulla is derived from kurranulla
, meaning ‘‘place of the pink seashells’’ in the dialect of the area's Aboriginal
inhabitants, the Dharawal
people. The beaches were named by Surveyor Robert Dixon who surveyed here in 1827-28 and by 1840, the main beach was still known as Karranulla.
Matthew Flinders and George Bass explored and mapped the coastline and Port Hacking estuary in 1796 and the southernmost point of Cronulla is named Bass and Flinders Point, in their honour. John Connell received a grant of in 1835. Thomas Holt (1811-88) owned most of the land that stretched from Sutherland to Cronulla in the 1860s. Holt built Sutherland House on the foreshore of Gwawley Bay in 1818, on the eastern side of Sylvania. The Cronulla area was subdivided in 1895 and land was offered for sale at 10 pounds per acre. In 1899, the government named the area Gunnamatta, which means sandy hills. On the 26th February 1908 it was officially changed to Cronulla and Gunnamatta was used for the name of the bay, on the western side.
After the Illawarra railway line was built to Sutherland in 1885, the area became popular for picnics and swimming. Steam trams operated between Cronulla and Sutherland from 1911. Many regulars rented beach houses at Cronulla every year for school holidays. The Oriental Hotel was built by Captain Spingall in 1888, on the present site of apartments behind the North Cronulla Hotel. The Cecil Hotel was located on the foreshore of South Cronulla and the Ritz Café was popular with holiday-makers. The Cecil Apartments were built on the former site of this hotel. The steam trams were replaced by the Cronulla branch of the Illawarra railway line when it opened in 1939.
The post office opened in January 1891, known as Cronulla Beach, but closed in 1893. It reopened in 1907 and the name was officially changed to Cronulla in 1929. The first public school opened in 1910. From the 1950s, many of the guest houses began being replaced by high rise flats. Even though it developed as a residential area, Cronulla remained popular with beachgoers and tourists. Several hotels, motels and serviced apartments operate today. The Cronulla Bicentennial Plaza opened in February 1989.
In 2005, the beachfront at Cronulla was the scene of widely-publicised mob disturbances and violent confrontations. These incidents continued over a number of days and also spread to other areas in Sydney. See 2005 Cronulla riots.
- The local National Rugby League football club is the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. The Cronulla-Sutherland League's Club and home ground, Endeavour Field, are located on Captain Cook Drive at Woolooware.
- Surf lifesaving clubs are located along the beach at Wanda, Elouera, North Cronulla and South Cronulla.
- Many soccer clubs are located in the Cronulla district, the most prominent being Cronulla Seagulls and the Cronulla RSL clubs.
- Surfing plays a major role in Cronulla. Famous professional surfer and 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo grew up surfing in Cronulla. Many surfboard shapers including Jackson Surfboards , Mark Riley (Riley Classic Balsa wood Surfboards)and PCC hand craft their surfboards in Cronulla and the Sutherland Shire.
- Cronulla Spring Festival is held every year on the second weekend of September. It includes free entertainment, food and many variety stalls.
- Cronulla Markets are held every two weeks at Cronulla High School. They feature fresh produce, organic produce and variety stalls.
- Puberty Blues is a book and movie about the surfing culture in the Sutherland Shire.
- An episode of the popular science-fiction TV series Farscape was filmed in Cronulla.
- The Australia's Next Top Model (Cycle 4) house was situated on Gunnamatta Bay.
Daniel MacPherson of City Homicide, Jason Stevens of the Cronulla Sharks, model Cheyenne Tozzi & her model/actress sister Tahyna Tozzi, actress & singer Toni Pearen, cricketer Ricky Ponting, presenter Chloe Maxwell, footballer Matt Rogers, presenter Lee Furlong, model Lara Bingle, Sharni Vinson of Home and Away, Brendan Cowell of Love My Way, Myles Pollard of McLeod's Daughters, Ironman Chris McCormack.