white mahogany

Ourimbah, New South Wales

Ourimbah is a small township and a suburb of the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Australia, located about north of the Sydney CBD. It lies on the Sydney-Newcastle railway line, the "F3" Sydney-Newcastle Freeway, and the Pacific Highway which runs through its centre. It is part of the Wyong Shire local government area.

The township today consists of small scattered local shops and businesses along the Pacific Highway, as well as the Central Coast campus of the University of Newcastle.

Outdoor facilities in Ourimbah include a rugby union club, rugby league , cricket and soccer fields, tennis courts, a skate park, bushwalking and cycling tracks.


The Aboriginal word “Oorin” meaning “Belt of manhood” in which a stone axe was carried on hunting expeditions, and “Oorinbah” which is the bora ring or ceremonial ground in which the initiation ceremony of conferring the “belt of manhood” was carried out is where the name for Ourimbah originates from. Ourimbah was also known as ‘Blue Gum Flats’ which is what the school was called. The name of Ourimbah was universally adopted for the School, Post Office, Railway and Township in the late 1800s.

There are many sites around Ourimbah which provide evidence of Aboriginal occupation. These include axe grinding grooves, archaeological deposits of campfires and food scraps, cave art, as well as many stone implements which have been purloined by museums and privateers.

Blue Gum Flat Public School (Ourimbah Public School) was built in 1863 on the site of the present railway station. In 1886 the school was moved to the opposite side of the road and a wooden building constructed. The Ourimbah railway station was built in the same year and opened on 15 August 1887 and was the only station other than Narara between Gosford and Wyong at this time.

The relocation of the school and construction of the railway provided the opportunity for the subdivision of land into "town-size" allotments and the creation at Ourimbah of a townscape at first dubbed "Beckford". An area had previously been earmarked for a township to the north of this planned subdivision.

The town of Ourimbah, with its blue gums, blackbutts, round leaved gum, spotted gum and white mahogany trees, was an ideal place for the milling of timber to support a Sydney building boom between 1840 and 1870. The 1840s saw a major growth of population in the Ourimbah area. Attracted by the availability of work cutting timber, a great number of young couples moved all through the Central Coast, gradually forming settlements at which many began to put down roots.

While the timber supply thinned out, other means such as Citrus fruit and dairy farming restored the fortunes of Ourimbah. Later, in the 1950s it was realised that the dairy industry could not survive. The citrus farmers found themselves in a similar bind, unable to match the economies of scale available to producers elsewhere.

Ourimbah achieved notoriety in January 1970 as the venue for an Australian rock festival modeled on Woodstock.

The early 1970s land boom, which saw much land redeveloped into smaller holdings, was the end of any serious potential for farming as a means of supporting a family in Ourimbah. Land use once again changed, with pockets of urban development amongst the acreages, themselves now valuable for the leisure opportunities they offered rather than as agricultural holdings.


Ourimbah Public School is the oldest school on the Central Coast, opening in 1863 as Blue Gum Flat School. It continues to grow and change from its once small stable rural environment to its present rapidly expanding urban environment. Buildings are located in a beautiful bushland setting. The school has a proud tradition of community involvement and support as evidenced by the completion of such major projects as the school community hall, the environmental trail 'Guri Guri Boragai' and a frog ponds area.

Ourimbah is close to several public high schools, with many students from the township attending Lisarow, Narara Valley or Terrigal High School. The township is also within close proximity to the public selective school Gosford High School. Numerous private schools are within commuting distance from the township of Ourimbah.

A campus of the University of Newcastle is located in Ourimbah; it is co-located with the Hunter Institute of TAFE and the Central Coast Community College. There are also several specialised research facilities and businesses on site, many of which are located in the Business Incubator facility.

Historical sites / Heritage listed buildings

  • Sawmill - Brownlee Street
  • Utility Structure – No. 1A Jaques Street
  • Dwelling – No. 23 Chittaway Road
  • Dwelling (Former Post Office) - Ourimbah Creek Road
  • Primary School – No. 121 Pacific Highway
  • Railway Station - Pacific Highway
  • Shop – No. 21 Pacific Highway
  • World War 1 Monument - Pacific Highway
  • Post Office and Residence - Station Street
  • Dwelling – No. 100 Shirley Street

More information and photos can be found at: http://www.wyongsc.nsw.gov.au/environment/heritage_inventory.html http://www.wyongsc.nsw.gov.au/wyongshire/historical_sites.html

Major Road Upgrades

Ourimbah is a rapidly-developing residential area, with major upgrades to the main road occurring as of 2007 by the RTA.

  • Stage 1 - Lisarow to Ourimbah

Upgrading the intersection of the Pacific Highway and Dog Trap Road at Ourimbah: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/constructionmaintenance/majorconstructionprojectsregional/centralcoast/dog-trap-road.html

  • Stage 2 - Lisarow to Ourimbah

Upgrading the Pacific Highway between Glen Road and Burns Road: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/constructionmaintenance/majorconstructionprojectsregional/centralcoast/lisarow_ourimbah.html

  • Stage 3 - Lisarow to Ourimbah

Historical Images

  • Looking South at Ourimbah, 1910: http://www.users.bigpond.com/narrabeen/ourimbah/images/K_Town.JPG
  • Ourimbah Public School, 1910: http://www.users.bigpond.com/narrabeen/ourimbah/images/K_School.JPG
  • Peach Orchard Road, Ourimbah, 1912: http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/library/local_history/images/atrium30.jpg
  • Ourimbah Sawmill, 1902: http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/library/local_history/images/atrium29a.jpg
  • Ourimbah Public School, 1910: http://image.sl.nsw.gov.au/Ebind/pxa635/a106_129-131/a106130r.jpg
  • Burns Store, 1915: http://image.sl.nsw.gov.au/Ebind/pxa635/a106_129-131/a106131r.jpg
  • Illustration of formed roads in and about Ourimbah, 1920: http://www.users.bigpond.com/narrabeen/ourimbah/images/Ourimbah%20c1920.jpg

Further reading

  • A history of Ourimbah: http://www.users.bigpond.com/narrabeen/ourimbah/index.htm
  • ‘Ourimbah Recollections’ Historical anecdotes of Ourimbah 1829 to 1994. ISBN 0-646-21049-1 Published by Ourimbah Public School

External links

  • An account of the Ourimbah "Pilgrimage For Pop": http://www.milesago.com/Festivals/ourimbah.htm
  • Ourimbah-Lisarow RSL: http://www.ourimbahrsl.com.au/
  • Rotary Club of Ourimbah Inc: http://www.rotaryourimbah.org.au/
  • Ourimbah-University Football Club: http://www.oufc.com.au/
  • Ourimbah Public School: http://www.ourimbah-p.schools.nsw.edu.au/
  • University of Newcastle - Ourimbah Campus: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/campus/ourimbah/
  • International students' on Ourimbah: http://www.ourimbah.info/
  • Old subdivision maps: http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/library/local_history/subdivision/ourimbah.html
  • Brisbane Water History Mural: http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/library/local_history/documents/brisbane-water-history-mural-the-atrium-food-court-erina-fair

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