Woy Woy is a coastal town and a southern suburb of the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Australia, located on the southern reaches of Brisbane Water north of Sydney. It is an important population centre within the City of Gosford local government area.
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 and Blackwall, in addition to several small sub-districts. 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 developed rapidly as a small coastal resort north of Sydney with the construction in 1888 of the northern railway. Its relative proximity to the state capital combined with its small-town isolation led to it developing a reputation in the middle years of the 20th century as a convenient "lover's retreat" for couples conducting affairs.
During the Second World War, an airfield was constructed on the Woy Woy Peninsula as a satellite field of Schofields airfield. Schofields was used by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (RN FAA) during WW2. Woy Woy airfield had a single runway sealed north/south. There were 4 pens for medium bombers, probably Grumman Avengers. The airfield was last used in 1946, the land subsequently developed for residential use.
Electrification of the Main Northern rail 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 became an important part of the Sydney commuter belt, with rail journey times of just over an hour to reach Sydney's central business district.
As a regional area, job losses have had an impact on the local economy - a recent example being the closure of the F.C. Nichols abattoir in 2003, blamed in part on drought conditions. A significant proportion of the local population commute to Sydney for work, with the majority of local work opportunities to be found in service, retail and other light commercial industries.
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 is now the home of an annual festival known as "Spike Fest", which celebrates 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"
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. From February 2007, aged 107, she started an internet blog and also appeared in a number of YouTube videos. Her last post was made on 26 June 2008, two and a half weeks prior to her death on 12 July, aged 108.
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), Sharks (Cricket), Lions (Rugby Union) and the Peninsula Swans (Australian Rules).