History & Heritage

In 2009 our city celebrated the 150th anniversary of Shellharbour’s declaration as a local government area. 

The Municipalities Act of 1858 enabled the opportunity for establishment of local government and some 200 people of Shellharbour willingly signed a petition to form a Municipality. The Municipality of Shellharbour was proclaimed on June 4, 1859. Shellharbour was included in the second list of Municipalities to be proclaimed in New South Wales.

At the Shellharbour Schoolroom in Addison Street, the first meeting of council was held on Friday, 22nd July 1859 with elected Councillors, Robert Wilson, Andrew McGill, Patrick Collins, Ebenezer Russell, William Wilson (Chairman), Robert Martin, William James, William Moles and Joseph Dunster. 

Mr. Edward Graham, storekeeper, provided a room for rental at his Peterborough Store on the north west corner of Mary Street and Addison Streets Shellharbour, where meetings were conducted until the first Council Chamber was built adjacent in 1865 in Addison Street. Stonemason Matthew Dinning, from local basalt, constructed the building. 

If you would like to learn more, visit Tongarra Museum at Albion Park.

The local studies collection located at Warilla Library may also assist you with your local history research.

Read more about Our History.


Heritage Trails

Experience the history of Shellharbour City with a walking tour of the many heritage sites in Albion Park and Shellharbour Village. See our Heritage Trail brochures in the Downloadable Resources section at the bottom of this page.


The Tongarra Heritage Society Inc.

The Tongarra Heritage Society Inc. (THSI) Aims and Objectives to identify, preserve, protect, record and promote our local heritage, to liaise with Shellharbour City Council, libraries and special interest groups.

The THSI has to date 60+ members dedicated to the preservation of our history. Meetings and records are held at Tongarra Museum, Russell Street, Albion Park.

The THSI records include;

Places and Events
Family Histories
Publications and Studies

For more information contact the Museum on (02) 4256 6698.


Downloadable Resources:

Albion Park Heritage Trail
Shellharbour Village Heritage Trail