If there’s a suburb that typifies the beachside village lifestyle that draws people to the Northern Illawarra, it’s probably Thirroul.
- Population: 6,552
- Highlight: 38% of households are made up of couples with children
- Housing: 75% of households own their home
From Sandon Point just to the south, and north to Austinmer, Thirroul has a number of sandy beaches that will delight anyone keen on the surf, swimming, and morning walks on the beach. Thirroul’s village-like hub features a number of cafe and dining options, while it’s escarpment backdrop and leafy streets make it a desirable place to live.
Before European settlement, Aboriginal people belonging to the “Thurrural” tribe roamed this area. There were many different ways of spelling the name, which translates to “the place or valley of the cabbage tree palms”. In the 1870s when settlement of the region began, all the area north of Wollongong was known as Bulli, and Thirroul was called North Bulli. Thirroul was mostly farmland, and in 1906 the first land parcels were advertised for auction. The town was known as Robbinsville, until a petition by the Department of Railways succeeded in having it changed to Thirroul in 1891. For a full history, see Wollongong City Council’s website.
Thirroul is an easy 10-minute drive from Wollongong and located next to Bulli Pass, providing convenient access for people commuting to Sydney. The heritage-listed Thirroul Station is a stop for local and express trains, making it a popular commuter hub for people taking the journey to Sydney. Thirroul is connected to the Grand Pacific Walk, a coastal walking and cycle path that, with further stages of work, will enable people to ride or walk from Lake Illawarra to the Royal National Park.
Things to do
Thirroul has no shortage of lifestyle options, particularly when it comes to eating and drinking. Two lively pubs, numerous cafes and restaurants, and an RSL club provide plenty of dining options, while the historic Anita’s Theatre has become a mainstay for live entertainment. The area is home to several surf breaks, the Thirroul pool is popular among swimmers as well as diners, and sits next to a park with play equipment for kids and grassy spaces for picnics. For outdoor lovers, the steep walk to Sublime Point tests even the fittest but rewards all who make it to the top with sweeping views of the coastline. Sports feature heavily in Thirroul, with clubs from surf lifesaving to cricket, netball, rugby league, soccer and more well served in the area.
Shopping and services
Thirroul’s main street features all the essentials for groceries as well as a number of homewares, fashion, lifestyle, medical, and real estate options. Thirroul also hosts a branch of the Wollongong City library and a branch of Fire and Rescue NSW. Thirroul Beach is patrolled by Wollongong City Lifeguards and Thirroul Surf Lifesaving Club lifesavers.
Several schooling options exist for families in the area.
- Thirroul Public School, K-6
- St Michael’s Primary School, K-6
- Bulli High School, 7-12 (nearest school)
Use the NSW Government’s School Finder to see which school catchment you might be in.