Catherine Hill Bay
New South Wales
AU Catherine Hill Bay.jpg
Catherine Hill Bay coal loading wharf
Population162 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density77.1/km2 (200/sq mi)
Area2.1 km2 (0.8 sq mi)
Location9 km (6 mi) S of Swansea
LGA(s)City of Lake Macquarie
State electorate(s)Swansea
Federal division(s)Shortland
Suburbs around Catherine Hill Bay:
Cams Wharf Murrays Beach Pinny Beach
Nords Wharf Catherine Hill Bay Pacific Ocean
Crangan Bay Moonee Pacific Ocean

Catherine Hill Bay is a coastal bay and village on the southern peninsula forming Lake Macquarie, south of the Pacific Ocean entrance channel at Swansea in New South Wales, Australia. It is part of the City of Lake Macquarie local government area. The village is the oldest continuous settlement in the City of Lake Macquarie. The Aboriginal people in this area, the Awabakal were the first people of this land.[2]

A surf club is sited overlooking the beach that is quite popular for recreation.


The settlement was first made after land was purchased on 1 April 1865. The town of Cowper was created, to serve as a base for coal mining by the New Wallsend Company in 1873 with the first shipment on 17 December of that year. The name Catherine Hill was adopted to commemorate the schooner Catherine Hill that had run aground in 1867.[3]

Later, the Wallarah Coal Company mined and shipped coal from the area including its nearby Crangan Bay mine. This was taken over by the Coal and Allied Group.

A railway originally was used to transport the coal to the wharf;[4] later, trucks and automated loading belt systems were used.

Rutile was mined from the beach sands during the 1960s.


In the 2016 Census, there were 162 people in Catherine Hill Bay. 89.3% of people were born in Australia and 93.5% of people spoke only English at home.[1]


Proposals for rezoning and redevelopment of the area for housing were opposed by LMCC and residents as the land was zoned for conservation. Environmentalists contended that the heathlands around the village contained a large variety of wildflowers, some dwarfed into unusual forms from the exposed coastal conditions. On 1 September 2009, a court ruled the development agreement illegal.[5]

However, a new Housing Development of 550 houses was approved by the State Government in 2010. This new subdivision, called Beaches Catherine Hill Bay is outside the visual catchment of the heritage village.

Heritage listings

Catherine Hill Bay has been placed on the State Heritage Register as a Heritage Township:


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Catherine Hill Bay (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 October 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
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  2. ^ "Lake Macquarie Council". Lake Macquarie Council. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  3. ^ Jack Kenneth Loney Wrecks on the New South Wales Coast 1992 0646110810 p.49 "The schooner Catherine Hill, laden with 30,000 feet of pine and cedar, went ashore on June 21st between Bird Island Point and Lake Macquarie after battling a severe gale. The crew of four reached safety after she ran on to a sandy beach"
  4. ^ Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, February 1973, pp25-44
  5. ^ Moore, Matthew; Besser, Linton (1 September 2009). "ALP donor projects scuttled". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  6. ^ "WWII RAAF Radar Station 208 (former)". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment & Heritage. H01752. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Catherine Hill Bay Cultural Precinct". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment & Heritage. H01828. Retrieved 18 May 2018.

Coordinates: 33°09′29″S 151°37′41″E / 33.158°S 151.628°E / -33.158; 151.628