Wollongong, New South Wales
|Population||369 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||City of Wollongong|
Otford is a village in the Otford Valley just 60 km to the south of the Sydney metropolitan area and north of the Illawarra and Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia. Otford is within the local government area of Wollongong City Council.
Otford is situated in the Otford Valley, north of Undola Ridge, Stanwell Park and Stanwell Tops. To the east of the valley is the coastal ridge and small community of Bulgo, also the name of a hill in the area and the former name of Otford. To the west, on the plateau, is the township of Helensburgh. To the north is the locality of Lilyvale and the Royal National Park.
The town is on the southern tip of the Royal National Park and features many native plants in its bushland like the Dendrobium Lilly. The trees of the bushland are mostly of the dry Eucalypt variety but the valley slopes support tall open Eucalypt forest and rainforest along the creek and in gullies.
The landscape is mostly hillside, and the Hacking River runs through the valley to the north. The highest points around Otford reach over 250 metres above sea level, at Bulgo and Otford Hills. The Bulgo Range of coastal hill headland is the northern extension of the Illawarra escarpment as it gradually turns into coastal cliffs.
A local attraction is the Otford Valley riding farm, stables, horse agistment and equestrian centre. Otford's coastal ridge is home to the Otford Lookout on Lawrence Hargrave Drive which has similar views south over the Illawarra as does its southern neighbour Bald Hill.
Otford was first known as Bulgo. The name Bulgo was first marked on Robert Dixon's 'Map of the Colony of New South Wales' in 1842 and the name was in use for some time after. When the construction of the Illawarra (now officially South Coast Line) line was taking place a village formed in 1885, with four houses. The name was changed to Otford in May 1885. During that year the village grew and the first school was built, as well as a post office. In 1887 a hotel was present, along with a butchers store, bakers shop, tailor, jeweller and general store. Otford also had a billiard room and skittle alley. After construction of the railway had finished the village went into decline and the school was closed in 1893. Trains on the line stopped at Otford to take in water and a small railway and sawmill centre developed at the entrance to the tunnel.
A timber mill at Karingal, Lilyvale, in the north of the Otford valley was established by Thomas James and his three brothers in 1875. James Forster built a mill to the south in 1899. Lilyvale Mushrooms Pty. Ltd began in 1952 in a small tunnel at Lilyvale and in 1959 two tunnels were in operation.
The current railway tunnel between Otford and Stanwell Park was made in 1917 after annoyances in the old one such as buildup of smoke in the unventilated route and the steep descent.The railway achievements of the area are known as engineering feats, and the views are equally well known. The abandoned, original railway tunnel between Otford and Stanwell Park was used for a mushroom farm but is now disused.
The village shops and the post office all closed. A café, with limited trading hours, remains on Lady Wakehurst Drive where it serves the tourist trade.
Otford is part of the old Parish of Bulgo and was within the area of Bulli Shire Council which was incorporated into Wollongong City Council.
Otford has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
In the 2016 Census, there were 369 people in Otford. 79.8% of people were born in Australia and 83.3% of people spoke only English at home. The most common response for religion was No Religion at 51.1%.
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Otford has few remaining services but retains a public primary school, railway station on the NSW TrainLink South Coast Line, a volunteer Rural Fire Brigade and a pie shop that also serves as tax agent. Otford railway station, once had award-winning gardens and picturesque buildings but is now a stark concrete and brick commuter stop. The railway station is used by bushwalkers accessing the Royal National Park.
One of the current most important aspects of Otford is its Bushfire Brigade. All members are village based volunteers who protect the town and district from the severe bushfires that threaten the town. It is an integral aspect of the local community. The local school is the other community focus of this small family and community oriented Australian village. The school has been open again for many years.
Illawarra is a region in the Australian state of New South Wales. It is a coastal region situated immediately south of Sydney and north of the Shoalhaven or South Coast region. It encompasses the cities of Wollongong, Shellharbour and the town of Kiama.
Mount Keira is a suburb and mountain in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia.
Stanwell Park is a picturesque coastal village and northern suburb of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It is the northernmost point of the Illawarra coastal strip and lies south of Sydney's Royal National Park. It is situated in a small valley between Bald Hill to the north, Stanwell Tops to the west and Mount Mitchell to the south. It has two lagoons from the village's two creeks, Stanwell and Hargrave Creeks and a beach running between headlands. Like other towns in the region the village is known colloquially known as TFOE, this is an acronym for the postcode (2508).
The South Coast railway line is a commuter and goods railway line in New South Wales, Australia. Beginning at the Illawarra Junction, the line primarily services the Illawarra and South Coast regions of New South Wales, and connects Sydney and Bomaderry through Wollongong and Kiama.
Stanwell Park railway station is located on the South Coast railway line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the seaside village of Stanwell Park opening on 23 December 1901, relocating to its current location on 10 October 1920.
The South Coast Line is an intercity rail service operated by NSW TrainLink that services the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. The service runs from Central, and runs the entire length of the eponymous South Coast railway line to Bomaderry. The service also runs along the Eastern Suburbs railway line at peak hours and the Port Kembla railway line to Port Kembla. It is operated with NSW TrainLink H sets and Sydney Trains T sets, with Endeavour railcars operating the service on the non-electrified line between Kiama and Bomaderry.
The Hacking River is a watercourse that is located in the Southern Sydney region of New South Wales in Australia. For thousands of years traditional owners called the river Deeban, however the colonial invaders renamed the river after Henry Hacking, a British seaman who killed Pemulwuy and was a pilot at Port Jackson in colonial New South Wales.
Bald Hill is a hill on the Illawarra Range, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. With an elevation of approximately 300 metres (980 ft) AMSL, Bald Hill is one of the best known and most popular lookouts in the Illawarra region providing panoramic vistas across the Illawarra escarpment and over the Illawarra plain and the Tasman Sea of the South Pacific Ocean.
Helensburgh railway station is a heritage-listed railway station located on the South Coast railway line in New South Wales, Australia. It serves the town of Helensburgh. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
The Illawarra escarpment, or officially the Illawarra Range, is the fold-created cliffs and plateau-eroded outcrop mountain range west of the Illawarra coastal plain south of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The range encloses the Illawarra region which stretches from Stanwell Park in the north to Kiama, Gerringong and the Shoalhaven River in the south.
Coalcliff is a town on the coast of New South Wales, Australia, between Sydney and Wollongong. Together with Stanwell Park it belongs to the Little Bulli indentation of the northern Illawarra coast strip.
Helensburgh is a small town in New South Wales, Australia. Helensburgh is located 45 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district and 34 kilometres (21 mi) north of Wollongong. Helensburgh is in the local government area of Wollongong City Council and marks the northern end of the Illawarra region. It is approximately halfway between Sydney and Wollongong, at the southern end of the Royal National Park.
Lilyvale railway station is a former railway station on the Illawarra railway line in New South Wales, Australia.
Stanwell Tops is an exurban locality between the cities of Sydney and Wollongong on the New South Wales, Australia coastline. It lies northwest of Stanwell Park and southwest of Otford.
Lilyvale is a locality most of whose area is within the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Helensburgh railway station was within the southern populated part of the locality. A Lilyvale railway station was open from 1890 until 1983.
The Otford railway tunnel is a heritage-listed former railway tunnel on the Illawarra railway line at Otford, City of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by the New South Wales Government Railways, and built by W. Rowe and W. Smith (tunnel) and Mr. McDonald. The property was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
Lilyvale railway tunnels are heritage-listed railway tunnels on the Illawarra railway line at Lilyvale, City of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed and built by the then-New South Wales Government Railways. The property is owned by RailCorp, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
The Stanwell Creek railway viaduct is a heritage-listed railway bridge on the Illawarra railway line at Stanwell Park, City of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by the New South Wales Government Railways and built in 1920 by day labour. The property is owned by RailCorp, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
The Helensburgh Glow Worm tunnel is a disused rail tunnel in Helensburgh, New South Wales that has become a popular tourist attraction due to its haunted history, and most notably, its glow worm population. It is owned by Crown Lands and managed by a community group Helensburgh Landcare who, in early 2019, restricted access to the tunnel for the conservation of the glow worm colony. As of 9 February 2020, the tunnel was closed for an indefinite period due to excessive flooding and to help the glow worm population recover.