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Sutherland Shire is located in the outer southern fringe of Sydney, about 26 kilometres from the Sydney CBD. The Shire includes established residential areas between the Georges River and Port Hacking and the Royal National Park in the south. The Shire was historically occupied by the Gweagal people of the Dharawal clan. The Gweagal people inhabited the saltwater bays and estuaries of Port Hacking, the Kurnell Peninsula and the upper Hacking and Woronora Rivers.
The Shire was the landing place of Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook who anchored his ship the Endeavour in Botany Bay in 1770. It was this voyage the provided the impetus for the British settlement of Australia in 1788. While there was some farming settlement in the Shire from the 1820s, it wasn’t until the 1850s that Crown land sales commenced and encouraged settlement. Significant settlement of the Shire did not commence until the coming of the main southern railway in the 1880s. A station was established at Sutherland in 1885 and soon vehicles were providing access from the station to the beaches at Cronulla.
At the time the Shire was proclaimed in 1906, there were 1,600 ratepayers. A steam tram service from Sutherland to Cronulla began in 1911 encouraging development in the central area of the Shire. Between 1911 and 1931, the Shire’s population increased from 2,900 to over 12,000. The opening of the railway to Cronulla inspired enormous growth in the immediate post war period, with the Shire’s population increasing from around 29,000 in 1947 to 112,000 in 1961. Growth has continued at a steady rate in the Shire as new dwellings have been added, many of them higher density forms of development.
Historically, the Shire has provided home owning opportunities for residents of the southern suburbs of Sydney. In the 2006-2011 period, the Shire attracted large numbers of persons from overseas as well as neighbouring areas closer to central Sydney across the Georges River in the St George area as well as the Bankstown area. The Shire experienced a net loss of persons to neighbouring Wollongong City and like many areas of Sydney, it loses people in net terms to south east Queensland..
The Shire also produces significant numbers of new households from within its own population, many of whom are looking for housing opportunities within the local area. Many of the 1980s and 1990s areas in the west of the Shire, have older children leaving home and looking to establish new households.
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.
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