Woolloomooloo, New South Wales

Woolloomooloo, New South Wales

Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb
name = Woolloomooloo
city = Sydney
state = nsw

caption = Woolloomooloo Bay and Finger Wharf
lga = City of Sydney
postcode = 2011
est =
pop = 3,038
area = 0.5
propval = [http://www.domain.com.au/public/SuburbProfile.aspx?searchTerm=Woolloomooloo $592,000] (2007)
stategov = Sydney
fedgov = Wentworth
near-nw = Sydney CBD
near-n = "Port Jackson"
near-ne = Potts Point
near-w = Sydney CBD
near-e = Potts Point
near-sw = East Sydney
near-s = Darlinghurst
near-se = Kings Cross
dist1 = 1.5
dir1 = east
location1= Sydney CBD

Woolloomooloo is a harbourside, inner-city eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Woolloomooloo is located 1.5 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Sydney.

The suburb is located in a low-lying, former docklands area at the head of Woolloomooloo Bay, on Sydney Harbour. The Domain sits to the west, the locality of East Sydney is near the south-west corner of the suburb and the locality of Kings Cross is near the south-east corner.

The suburb has historically been a poorer working class district of Sydney. This has changed only recently with recent gentrification of the inner city areas of Sydney. The redevelopment of the waterfront, particularly the construction of the housing development on the Finger Wharf, has caused major change. Areas of public housing (housing commission) still exist in the suburb.


Aboriginal Culture

The current spelling of Woolloomooloo is derived from the name of the first homestead in area, Wolloomooloo House, built by the first landowner John Palmer. There is debate as to how Palmer came up with the name with different Aboriginal words being suggested. Anthropologist J.D. McCarthy wrote in 'NSW Aboriginal Places Names', in 1946, that Woolloomooloo could be derived from either "Wallamullah", meaning "place of plenty" or "Wallabahmullah", meaning a "young black kangaroo".cite book |last=Farwell |first=George |year=1971 |title=Requiem for Woolloomooloo |publisher=Hodder and Stoughton |isbn=0340157771]

In 1852, the traveller Col. G.C. Mundy wrote that the name came from "Wala-mala", meaning an Aboriginal burial ground. It has also been suggested that the name means "field of blood", due to the alleged Aboriginal tribal fights that took place in the area, or that it is from the pronunciation by Aborigines of "windmill", from the one that existed on Darlinghurst ridge until the 1850s.

European Settlement

After the First Fleet's arrival in Sydney, the area was initially called Garden Cove or Garden Island Cove after the nearby small wooded Garden Island, off the shore. The first land grant was given to John Palmer in 1793 to allow him to run cattle for the fledgling colony.

In the 1840s the farm land was subdivided into what is now Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and parts of Surry Hills. Originally the area saw affluent residents building grand houses, many with spectacular gardens, attracted by the bay and close proximity to the city and Government House.cite web |url=http://www.warrenfahey.com/articles/woolloomooloo.html |title=Australian Folklore Unit |accessdate=2006-12-31 |last=Fahey |first=Warren]

The area slowly started to change after expensive houses were built in Elizabeth Bay and further east and a road was needed from Sydney. It was for this reason that William Street was built, dividing the land for the first time.


Woolloomooloo is home to the Finger Wharf building is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest wooden structure in the world. It is Convert|400|m|ft|-1 long and Convert|63|m|ft|-1|abbr=on|abbr=on wide and stands on 3,600 piles.

The Sydney Harbour Trust built the Finger Wharf, or Woolloomooloo Wharf, between 1911 and 1915 with the charter to bring order to Sydney Harbour's foreshore facilities. The wharf became the largest wooden structure in the world. The areas commerce was dominated by shipping at the wharf and by the regular influx of sailors from the Garden Island base of the Royal Australian Navy.

The wharf's influence diminished for Woolloomooloo during the 1970s when other more modern wharves were preferred. By the 1980s the wharf lay derelict and empty and in 1987, the state government decided to demolish the Wharf.Cite web |title=The Finger Wharf History |publisher=Maju Sequence |url=http://www.maju.com.au/wharf_history.cfm |accessdate=2007-02-11] A new complex was approved to replace the wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay, but when demolition work was due to begin in January 1991, locals blocked entrance to the site.Cite news |title=Live and let lie policy for wharf |first=Anne |last=Susskind |publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=1991-01-15 |page=2 |id=ISSN 0312-6315] Unions imposed a Green ban which stopped demolition crews from undertaking work.

In the mid 1990s the wharf was renovated into a hotel, restaurant and apartment complex. The actor, Russell Crowe, lives in a $14 million penthouse in the wharf. [cite news |first=Christine |last=Sams |title=On the move with Russell and Danielle |url=http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/05/31/1054177765250.html |work=Sun-Herald |date=2003-06-01 |accessdate=2006-10-22 ]

Located near the wharf is Harry's Cafe de Wheels, a popular fast-food stall and now tourist destination. The Andrew "Boy" Charlton Pool, sits on the western side of Woolloomooloo Bay, amongst the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Popular Culture

* The Tommy Leonetti song "My City Of Sydney", later covered by the post-punk band XL Capris, mentions "That little church steeple in Woolloomooloo."
* The Bruces sketch by Monty Python is set in the fictitious university of Woolloomooloo, mainly due to its typical Australian name.
* The album Zoolook by Jean Michel Jarre has a track titled "Wooloomooloo" [sic] .
* In 1970, Australian educator, journalist and politician Irina Dunn created the paraphrase "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle," scribbling the phrase on two bathroom doors: one at Sydney University where she was then a student, and the other at Soren's Wine Bar in Woolloomooloo. The quip is often incorrectly attributed to American feminist Gloria Steinem. [Cite web |url=http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/3255/herstory.htm |work=A Bit of Herstory
title=The Definitive Word on the Origin |publisher=The Fish and Bicycle Page |last=Allen |first=John S |quote=I scribbled the phrase on the backs of two toilet doors, would you believe, one at Sydney University where I was a student, and the other at Soren's Wine Bar at Woolloomooloo, a seedy suburb in south Sydney.

Notable residents

* Actor Russell Crowe
* Radio presenter John Laws
* Singer Delta Goodrem


External links

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