Explore our history..
From indigenous communities dating back many thousands of years to European settlement and rapid growth through land grants and agriculture, Shellharbour's colourful history is there for you to explore.
The Aboriginal name for Shellhabour has been recorded as both Yerrowah (meeting place), and Wonwin, (place where there were big fish). The European name Shellharbour refers to the large quantities of shells found in Aboriginal middens along the foreshore in the early to mid 19th Century. Due to the mining of shells in the mid 19th Century for the production of lime these vast middens no longer remain. Shellharbour City falls within the tribal area Wodi Wodi (or Wadi Wadi); a subdivision of a larger tribal grouping called the Dharawal (Thuruwal) which extends from the southern side of Botany Bay to the Jervis Bay area.
The Wodi Wodi are known to have camped in several locations throughout Shellharbour including Tullimbar (Tongarra), Macquarie Rivulet, Peterborough (Shellharbour Village), Long Point (Bass Point), Lake Illawarra and Minnamurra. Sites in Shellharbour with particular Aboriginal cultural significance include locations where there were camps and settlements, hunting, fishing and gathering grounds, burial grounds and story places.
Take a fascinating self-guided walking tour along the Indigenous Cutural Walk at Bass Point or explore the many heritage sites on the self guided walks at Albion Park and Shellharbour Village - you'll be amazed at what you discover.
You can also visit the Shellharbour City Museum in the Shellharbour City Centre to see amazing artifacts and learn some surprising snippets about early Shellharbour.
The Shellharbour Visitors Centre stocks historical publications that are available to purchase including Land Between Two Rivers, 150 Years of Shellharbour and Voices of a Lifetime.