Catherine Hill Bay is unique in New South Wales. A coastal village of about 100 houses it is located approximately 100km north of Sydney on the Wallarah Peninsula, which lies between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean.
Almost 100 years ago it was described as "favoured by its excellent situation (and) for those in need of change and rest, or in search of health, a more ideal spot would be hard to find."
The village - two tiny settlements about 1km apart - consists mostly of modest timber miners' cottages, some dating from the 19th Century and remnant infrastructure from almost 140 years of underground coal mining, set in a dramatic natural landscape of bush and heath beside the Pacific Ocean.
A Special Place
For more than a century people have been visiting Catherine Hill Bay
and writing it about it in terms of magnificent views, picturesque locations, interesting pub, a great surfing beach and healthy air invigorated by sea breezes.
Even the residents find it hard to pin down what this special flavour is: for some it is coming home to the "best cuppa tea in the world" made with rain water (for there is no articulated water or sewerage), for some it is the bush and the wild flowers or the beach, or the security of neighbours long known. Sometimes the question is resolved with a shrug and the phrase "It's a special place".
Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association has polled the community every four years since 1994 to understand what the community thinks and to understand if views are changing.
Even though the community is changing with time the survey results show a strong lasting commitment to the protection of this "special place".
A Historic Mining Village
Catherine Hill Bay heritage village and its bush and heathland location beside a 2km long beach were protected by Lake Macquarie City Council in 2004 as a Heritage Conservation Area (HCA).
The village comprises the oldest group of buildings in Lake Macquarie City and its natural environment is largely unchanged since before Captain Cook sailed past.
The Catherine Hill Bay Heritage Conservation Area is located east of the Pacific Highway on the South Wallarah Peninsula , between the Wallarah National Park in the north and Munmorah State Conservation Area in the south.
This area has long been identified by the State Government as the coastal "book-end" of an intercity Environmental Zone between the Central Coast and Hunter Valley urban areas.