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Nowra, New South Wales facts for kids

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New South Wales
City Administration Centre in Nowra (3).jpg
Nowra City Administration centre
Nowra is located in New South Wales
Location in New South Wales
Population 20,039 (2016)
 • Density 212.6/km2 (551/sq mi)
Established 1852
Postcode(s) 2541
Elevation 9 m (30 ft)
Area 202.4 km2 (78.1 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
LGA(s) City of Shoalhaven
State electorate(s) South Coast
Federal Division(s) Gilmore
Localities around Nowra:
North Nowra Bomaderry Bolong
West Nowra Nowra Terara
Mundamia South Nowra Worrigee

Nowra is a city in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 160 kilometres (99 mi) south-southwest of the state capital of Sydney (about 120 kilometres (75 mi) as the crow flies). As of the 2016 census, Nowra has an estimated population of 20,039. Situated in the southern reaches of the Sydney basin, Nowra is the seat and commercial centre of the City of Shoalhaven.

The region around Nowra is a farming community with a thriving dairy industry and a significant amount of state-owned forest land. It is also an increasingly popular retirement and leisure area for people from Canberra and Sydney. The naval air station HMAS Albatross is located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south-west of Nowra. The name Nowra, originally written by Europeans as 'nou-woo-ro' (pronounced Nowa Nowa by the Indigenous Australians of the area), is an Aboriginal word for the black cockatoo.


The Nowra region, south of Bomaderry Creek was inhabited by the Wodi-Wodi tribe of the Yuin nation while north of Bomaderry Creek was inhabited by the Dharawal Aboriginal people prior to European arrival. Around 1824, ex-convict Mary Reibey applied for a land grant in the Burrier area, on the southern side of the Shoalhaven River. The Nowra township was officially recognised in 1852. Less than ten years later, in 1861, a postal service was established. Also in that year, the racehorse 'Archer', trained in Nowra by Etienne de Mestre, won the first Melbourne Cup. By 1885, Nowra was declared a town.

A major landmark in the area is the house Bundanon, which began as a single-storey weatherboard structure built about 1840. In 1866, a two-storey sandstone house, made of locally quarried stone, was built immediately in front of the weatherboard house. The sandstone house features timber verandahs and is now listed on the Register of the National Estate.


Nowra is on the Shoalhaven River, which formerly hosted the Australian National wakeboarding championships, it is also a popular fishing location. The river divides Nowra from Bomaderry and North Nowra, and is bridged by the historic Nowra Bridge. The Shoalhaven river is a salt water river, although the river itself does not flow into the sea. The Shoalhaven River meets the sea through the canal that joins the Shoalhaven and Crookhaven Rivers, which was dug by convicts under direction of local entrepreneur and pioneer Alexander Berry.

It is also located near Berry, Jervis Bay, Kangaroo Valley, Culburra Beach, Greenwell Point, Huskisson, Shoalhaven Heads and Cambewarra.


With the warmest month's mean being just 22°C (71.6°F), Nowra has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) under the Köppen climate classification, making it the southernmost city on the coastal strip to be within this climate zone, albeit an isolated one — Nearby coastal cities to the north, such as Wollongong and Kiama, have an oceanic climate (Cfb) as their warmest month's mean doesn't reach the 22°C threshold.

Climate data for Nowra
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.1
Average high °C (°F) 27.4
Average low °C (°F) 16.4
Record low °C (°F) 8.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 65.8
Average rainy days 10.8 11.8 12.4 12.1 9.2 11.9 10.0 8.1 8.9 9.7 12.1 10.5 127.5
Average relative humidity (%) 57 63 59 57 55 56 53 46 47 52 56 55 55
Source: Bureau of Meteorology
Nowra park
Marriott Park
Nowra Bridge
Nowra Bridge
Shoalhaven River at sunset
Nowra Creek
Nowra area from Cambewarra Lookout
Nowra shops
Nowra shops (Junction Street)


According to the 2016 census, Nowra has a population of 20,039. This covers suburbs only south of the Shoalhaven. The population is slightly younger than the state and country as a whole, with an average age of 37 compared to 38 for both Australia and New South Wales. However, the population is bimodally distributed, with a larger percentage of children and the elderly than the state and national averages. 79.8% of the population were born in Australia and 83.9% speak only English at home, both above the state and national averages.

Nowra has a significantly lower level of education than typical for the state and nation. Only 8.6% of the population of Nowra hold a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 22% of Australia and 23.4% of New South Wales. The proportion who left high school before finishing year 12 is also above average.

The top five reported ancestries in Nowra at the 2016 census were Australian (32.1%), English (29.4%), Irish (7.9%), Scottish (6.3%), and German (2.9%). Most (63.8%) people had both parents born in Australia, higher than the state and national averages; overseas birthplaces more represented in Nowra than the state average included England and the Netherlands.

The population of the suburb of Nowra (central Nowra) at the 2016 census was 9,193. The Australian Bureau of statistics also recognises a larger built-up area including suburbs north of the Shoalhaven, Nowra-Bomaderry, which had a population of 30,853 at the 2016 census.


Nowra Town Hall was built in 1948 and is in the Central Business District. This district contains many services, including banks, health services and a library.

Nowra has a growing tourist industry, especially in the summer months, when visitors (mostly from Sydney and Canberra) flock to the beaches to enjoy swimming, surfing, fishing, shopping, and relaxing in the restaurants and cafés.

Nowra sits in the Shoalhaven region, where there are several vineyards producing award-winning wines.


The four major codes of football in Australia are all popular in the Nowra area. Rugby union is represented by the Shoalhaven Rugby Club, who play out of Rugby Park in South Nowra. The club won the 2008 premiership in the Illawarra district competition, and has produced international and provincial players such as Andrew Walker and Alex Kanaar. Australian rules football is played by three clubs from the Shoalhaven area, with the Nowra Albatross Vikings playing at West Street Oval and the Bomaderry Tigers at Artie Smith Oval. Further south, the Bay and Basin Bombers play at the Leisure Centre at Vincentia. These four clubs are all members of the South Coast AFL, fielding junior and senior teams. Rugby league was traditionally represented by the Nowra Warriors and Bomaderry Swamprats. However, at the end of 2007 these teams merged to form the Shoalhaven Jets Rugby League Football Club.

The Shoalhaven Mariners were established in 2006 and represent the area in the sport of baseball. The team plays home matches out of Fred Finch Park in Berkeley, Wollongong. Baseball has a new venue at the South Nowra Soccer Complex. The Shoalhaven Tigers represent the area in the New South Wales State Basketball League and have won several championships from 1988 until 2007.

Archer was an Australian thoroughbred racehorse trained in the Nowra area who won the first and the second Melbourne Cups in 1861 and 1862. He won both Cups by a significant margin. Archer is one of only five horses to have won the Melbourne Cup on two or more occasions, and one of only four horses to have won two successive Cups.


Nowra has three public high schools: Nowra High School, Shoalhaven High School and Bomaderry High School. There are also several non-government schools, all of which are religiously affiliated:

  • Nowra Christian School: a K-12 Christian-based school located in South Nowra
  • Nowra Anglican College: a K-12 Anglican college in Bomaderry
  • St John the Evangelist Catholic High School: a Catholic systemic high school on the outskirts of Nowra, affiliated with St Michael's Catholic Primary School in Nowra

There are seven public primary schools in the Nowra area: East Nowra Public School, Nowra Public School, Bomaderry Public School, Illaroo Road Public School, North Nowra Public School, Nowra Hill Public School, and Terara Public School.

The University of Wollongong has a campus in Nowra, and there is a campus of TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute in Bomaderry.

Public transport

Nowra Coaches operates services from Nowra to Bomaderry, Huskisson, Vincentia and Jervis Bay. Shoal Bus operates services from Nowra to Berry, Gerringong and Sussex Inlet. Premier Motor Service operates express services along the Princes Highway from Sydney to Eden that call at Nowra.

Nowra has no direct rail connection, but the Illawarra railway line terminates at nearby Bomaderry railway station with NSW TrainLink operating services to Kiama and Sydney.

Notable people

  • Arthur Boyd, artist
  • Tony Branson, Australian rugby league international
  • Deborah Cheetham, Indigenous Australian opera singer.
  • Ian Davis, Australian cricket international
  • Jeff Dowdell, basketball (Cairns Taipans) player
  • Adam Federici, football (soccer) player
  • Christie Hayes, actress
  • Blake Horton, football (soccer) player
  • William Kamm, also known as 'Little Pebble', disgraced religious leader
  • Nic Maddinson, cricketer
  • Bruce McGuire, Australian rugby league international & NSW State of Origin player
  • Frank Moorhouse, writer
  • Michael O'Connor, dual international rugby league & union player
  • Ashley Paske, actor. Appeared in Neighbours (1989–1991).
  • Karen Phillips, swimmer
  • Rodney Rude, comedian
  • Arron Spiessberger-Parker, 1500m runner
  • Jim Stanbury, World Professional Sculling Champion 1891–1896 and 1905–1906.
  • Rohan Taylor, national swimming coach
  • Corey Tutt, founder of DeadlyScience
  • Andrew Walker, dual international rugby league & union player

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