Timeline of change

A timeline of change 

Pre 1820  Aboriginal tribes

Before European settlers arrived, the Guringai, Darkinjung and Awabakal tribes lived around Tuggerah Lakes which teemed with fish and waterfowl. The tribes hunted and gathered from the land and caused little impact to the environment.

1820         European settlers arrive

The first European settlers moved into the Wyong district in the 1820s and brought with them herds of cattle for grazing and dairying.

1821         Logging begins             

The European settlers began to clear large areas of land. At first, the impacts were only small but as clearing intensified it caused large amounts of sediments and nutrients to wash into the lakes from Wyong River and Ourimbah Creek.

1860         Commercial fishing established

In the early 1800s and before, the lakes supported an abundance of fish. Commercial fishing began in earnest in 1860 and remained a thriving industry for another 100 years until fish numbers started to decline around the 1960s. Today, Tuggerah Lakes is still a popular spot for commercial and recreational fishing and attracts hundreds of keen anglers every year.

1887         Great Northern Railway opens

The opening of the Great Northern Railway between 1887 and 1889 paved the way to development in the district. Farmers and industries flourished as timber, fish and fresh farm produce could now be sent quickly to the markets in Sydney.

1920         Holiday makers flock to central coast  

During the early 1900s, the central coast was fast becoming a favourite destination for many holidaymakers. The Entrance was a particular drawcard and by the 1920s subdivisions were sprouting up everywhere with many tagged for future holiday accommodation.

1920         Timber industry in decline 

By the 1920s the timber industry was slowing down and would soon be overtaken by a booming dairy industry.

1930         Dairy industry in full swing

By the 1930s, 200 hundred farmers were sending their milk to the new butter factory for processing.

1940         Largest egg producer in NSW

Poultry farming was the next big thing especially for the Kanwal and Warnervale districts, which became the largest egg producers in the state.

1955         Wyong Shire population reaches 13,100

Thriving industries, a direct rail link to Sydney, more accommodation options and a growing tourism reputation saw the Wyong Shire’s population swell to more than 13,000.

1960         Agriculture gives way to urban development

From 1960 a new leading industry was emerging – urban development – and with it the decline of others. Agriculture, timber and dairy took a back seat while urban development and land prices soared, spurred on by the new Munmorah Power Station and nearby coal mines.

1970         Fastest growing urban district

No longer just the domain of holidaymakers, the central coast quickly became a popular choice for permanent residents. This made it the fastest growing urban district in south-east Australia at the time. The population boom continued right through the 1980s thanks to the extension of the Sydney to Ne wcastle freeway and the new electric railway.

1990         Population tops 100,000

By 1990, the Wyong Shire was home to 102,000 residents and more people would continue to arrive.

Today        A bustling urban centre 

Only 50 years ago, Tuggerah Lakes was surrounded by small fishing villages and holiday cabins. Now Wyong Shire is a bustling urban centre with a population of around 140,000. Such rapid growth in population and industry in the lakes’ catchment over nearly 200 years has had significant and long-term impacts on the local environment.

Visit the Wyong District Museum and Historical Society to find our more.