Local historical events after European settlement

17 January 1788

  • Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Yarra Bay.

26 January 1788

  • La Perouse, a French explorer, set up camp at Yarra Bay in the area now bearing his name.


  • First horse racing held at Randwick Racecourse.

1 August 1838

  • Coogee recognised as a township.


  • New village of Long Bay notified in the Government Gazette.


  • Destitute Children's Asylum established at Randwick, housing at times up to 800 children until 1915.

22 February 1859

  • Randwick officially became the first municipality in NSW.

29 March 1859

  • First Council elections which appointed the first Aldermen: S. Pearce, J. Thompson, S. Hebblewhite, C. Kidman, W. Hanson and W. Ellis.

1 April 1859

  • First Council Meeting, Simeon Pearce elected Mayor. Council meetings held in the rented rooms at the Destitute Children's Asylum until 1861.

August 1859

  • Council's first major works completed - the construction of Coogee Bay Road between Carrington Road and Coogee Beach.


  • Bells at St Jude's Church at Randwick installed. The bells are later restored for the Centenary of Federation.


  • Randwick Tramway Workshop established as Randwick's first heavy industry.


  • Fort built on Bare Island.
  • Coast Hospital established at Little Bay, with the site chosen due to the isolation of the area. The hospital is established to treat infectious and contagious diseases.


  • Randwick District Rugby Union Football Club established.

23 December 1887

  • Coogee Aquarium and Swimming Baths opens.

26 January 1888

  • Centennial Park hosts Australia's centenary celebrations.

5 May 1898

  • The Hereward is shipwrecked at Maroubra Beach.

16 May 1899

  • The Tekapo is shipwrecked at Maroubra Beach.

1 January 1901

  • The Commonwealth of Australia is declared at Centennial Park.

23 January 1901

  • Brigidine College Randwick opens its doors.


  • Clovelly and Maroubra Surf Life Saving Clubs established.

12 December 1907

  • Wylie's Baths opened.


  • Coogee Lifesaving Club established.


  • Bare Island established as home for war veterans.


  • Little Coogee renamed Clovelly when tramline extends along the peninsula.

5 December 1925

  • Official opening of Maroubra Speedway.

30 December 1925

  • The Olympia Motor Speedway at Maroubra (known as the Maroubra Speedway) claims its first victims when Leo Salmon and his riding passenger/mechanic Harry Vaughan are killed at practice. The Maroubra Speedway was labelled 'the killer track'.

24 July 1928

  • Opening of Coogee Pier (English style amusement pier), extending 183 metres into the ocean.


  • The Messenger newspaper started in early 1932 by Mr FC Biggers, and was originally called the Maroubra News.


  • Village of Brand renamed Malabar.


  • Coogee Pier demolished due to its deteriorating condition.


  • The Coast Hospital renamed Prince Henry General Hospital.


  • Shark arm murder case: a shark caught and held in Coogee Baths regurgitated a tattooed human arm, later identified as belonging to the missing launch captain James Smith.


  • The Coogee sewage outfall is diverted to Malabar.

13 May 1937

  • The steamship Minmi beached at Cape Banks.


  • Second World War: training of armed forces at Long Bay.

16 January 1939

  • The Belbowrie stranded on rocks at Maroubra Beach.

1 July 1949

  • Proclamation of University of New South Wales, on the grounds of the old Kensington Racecourse.

3 December 1952

  • 25.5 acres of land at Kensington transferred to new university campus.
  • The first public library service was opened by Mayor of Randwick Lionel Frost Bowen.


  • Maroubra Beach is polluted by sewage from the Malabar outfall.

24 September 1953

  • Randwick Council's approaches to the Royal Australian Navy to remove hazardous pieces of the Hereward wreck from Maroubra Beach were unsuccessful. Council Engineer Mr J. Harrison, using three small charges of gelignite, blew out the dangerous pieces and they were removed from the beach.

31 October 1953

  • A ceremony was held in Avoca Street, Randwick, to mark the commissioning of a bookmobile for the Randwick Municipal Library Service. The bookmobile cost 5,000 pounds.


  • There was outcry in the community at Randwick Council's plans for a Community Hotel and centre at Maroubra Junction.
  • Preparations made for the Royal Visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Randwick Council contributed 3,000 pounds to decorate key points on her route.

29 May 1955

  • The Goolgwai was grounded on the northern point of Malabar.


  • Council decides not to proceed with the Community Hotel at Maroubra Junction.
  • Rutile mining at Maroubra Beach is proposed.

1 October 1957

  • At the Macquarie Watchtower La Perouse, Mary Agnes Donnelly, aged 47, was killed when fire swept the building. The Watchtower had no electricity and was lit by candles and kerosene lamps.

November 1957

  • Alderman WH Lucas became the first Randwick mayor to wear a robe of office at a Council meeting. The robe, costing almost 100 pounds, was made in England by Ede and Ravenscroft of London.

February 1958

  • Heavy rain causes severe damage in the Randwick, Coogee and Maroubra areas.


  • South Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club formed.

October 1959

  • Randwick Council decides to call for tenders for the construction of an Olympic swimming pool in Heffron Park. Estimated cost was £56,000 including landscaping and fencing.[Source: messenger 29/10/1959].
  • Rain and flooding created chaos throughout Sydney and a tram was derailed at the corner of Darley and Addison Roads Randwick by a rush of water. The Coogee tramline was blocked by a landslide at Havelock Avenue and tram tracks collapsed at Mulwarree Avenue, Randwick.

November 1959

  • The State Government planned to resume Randwick Golf Course (adjacent to University of New South Wales in High Street) to build a new medical school for the University of New South Wales, creating uproar among Randwick Council and local residents. The course was established in 1932.
  • Randwick Council's new mobile library commenced operations. The library operated in Todman Avenue Kensington from 1pm to 7pm. (23 November 1959).

December 1959

  • Randwick Council approves plans for a 100-bed motel to be built on the site of the old Boomerang Theatre (built in 1917) at the corner of Carr St and Kurrawa Ave Coogee. [Source: Weekly Courier 16 December 1959]
  • Randwick Council spent 5,026 on new library books in the previous 12 months.
  • Randwick's population in 1959 is 101,410. 1960 142.5 hectares of rifle range sold to Randwick Council.

February 1960

  • Randwick Council bans surfboard riding at Clovelly Beach, and imposed restrictions at Coogee and Maroubra Beaches
  • A Randwick woman, Mrs Jemima Redford of the Little Sisters St Joseph home, celebrated her 100th birthday.

April 1960

  • The Salvation Army applies to Randwick Council to convert a home in Boyce Road, Maroubra, into a citadel and residence. Residents in the area oppose the application.

June 1960

  • Three sisters injured after a Ferris wheel collapsed at the Coogee Mardi Gras in January 1959 were awarded £1200 in damages.

July 1960

  • Former Randwick Mayor Mr W.J. Heffernan aged 52 of Carramar Crescent Miranda died in Concord Repatriation Hospital at the weekend.
  • Staff of the Randwick Municipal Library organised their first Book Week competition for local primary school children, and 650 entries were received. The competition is to be judged by Susan Wright, a young Sydney artist who won the John Sulman Prize for painting in 1960.
  • The Mayor of Randwick Alderman A.C. Molloy opened the new Randwick Rugby Club in Brook St Coogee.

August 1960

  • The Minister for Local Government Mr PD Hills denies any current move to amalgamate councils.
  • Approximately 1 000 dwellings out of a total of 1 299 have been completed on the Maroubra Housing Estate on the site of the former speedway. Several streets in the estate have been named after American naval vessels that took part in the Coral Sea Battle.
  • Randwick Rugby Club has made a further request to Council for lease of a portion of Dunningham Reserve Coogee for the establishment of club premises and other facilities.

October 1960

  • After a long running battle the Privy Council (London) upheld Randwick Council's request to levy rates on Randwick Racecourse.
  • Council advertises notice of approval of proposal to name and define the suburbs of Phillip Bay, Little Bay and Chifley.
  • Homes in Hastings Avenue, Little Bay, were flooded when Sydney was swamped by 52 inches of rain. Locals blamed the construction of playing fields opposite the home for the flooding, when an underground drain was put in to replace a small creek in the area.
  • Police were called on to guard the last trams on the Coogee and Botany runs.
  • Aboriginal residents at La Perouse move to have white men stopped from selling boomerangs at La Perouse. Mr Joe Timbery said the non-Aboriginal traders were forcing the local Aborigines out.

November 1960

  • Shop owners in Havelock Ave Coogee say the area is dying since the trams stopped running.

December 1960

  • Horses using Coogee as part of their racing training are upsetting local residents.
  • A group of 47 British migrant families put the finishing touches to their "co-operative village" at Little Bay. The group was formerly resident at the Bunnerong Hostel for Migrants, and bought 10 acres of scrubland for £5000. Members of the British Migrants Housing Cooperative worked on the homes for seven years.
  • 1961 Last trams run along Anzac Parade.

 February 1961

  • Council accepted a tender to level 57 acres of an old part of Long Bay Rifle Range fronting Malabar Road. The tenderer will lift sand off the site over the next five years, and the levelled land will be cut into 280 building blocks.


  • Bare Island declared a historic site.


  • Rifle range at Malabar renamed Anzac Rifle Range.


  • Randwick Council set its general rate at 1.9 cents in the dollar, with a minimum general rate of $65. This rate was a massive increase over the previous year and led to some groups to call for the Council to be sacked.


  • Private contractors take over the collection of garbage and trade waste within Randwick Municipality from June 5 1972 after a series of strikes disrupts garbage services for several months.


  • Approval given for the building of the Castellorizian Club Ltd at 440-446 Anzac Pde Kingsford on the site of the old Odeon Theatre. A foundation stone, imported from Castellorizo was set on Sunday 22 October 1972 by the club President Mr P. Kailis.

16-18 October 1972

  • Randwick's Municipal Library at Maroubra Junction was closed by flooding after water overflowed from a blocked downpipe during a heavy rainstorm. The adult and reference sections of the library were damaged.

November 1972

  • A hooded bandit snatched a $7,000 payroll from Council's Storey St depot. The money was wages for Council's approximately 100 outdoor staff.

December 1972

  • Mr Richard T. (Dick) Latham died at his Clovelly home aged 75 years. Mr Latham was Randwick Town Clerk from 1938-1963.


  • Kensington Public School named its new library the FS Maher Memorial Library, after their principal Frank Maher OBE, RA, who died in 1971. Maher served as school principal from 1964 to 1969.


  • Randwick Council was dismissed and an administrator appointed.


  • Pat O'Shane becomes the first Australian Aboriginal to graduate at law after studying at the University of New South Wales.

1 August 1982

  • National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) Kensington approved by federal government.


  • Coogee Aquarium renamed Coogee Palace.

1 July 1990

  • Randwick proclaimed a City.


  • Queen Elizabeth grants Randwick Racecourse the right to be called 'Royal' Randwick Racecourse.

20 April 1993

  • 100,000th UNSW Degree awarded to Paul Gompels BComm.

14 April 1999

  • Hail storm devastates most of the area. Kensington area bears the brunt of the damage.

30 December 1999

  • "King of the Channel", Maroubra resident Des Renford, dies aged 72.

14 September 2000

  • The Olympic Torch travels through the suburbs of Randwick City. Focus of celebrations is the lunch at La Perouse.

April 2001

  • Submission of Report into Local Government Boundaries in Inner Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs by the Sproats Inquiry causes much debate.

14 June 2001

  • As part of the State Government's Building the future plan, Minister for Education and Training, John Aquilina, announced:
    • the closure of Maroubra High
    • the transition of Matraville High to a Specialist Sport School
    • Randwick Boys' and Girls' highs to expand student numbers to 1,050.

9 September 2001

  • Bowen Library turns 10 years old.

11 September 2001

  • Former Randwick resident Craig Gibson, 37, dies in World Trade Centre attack.

23 September 2001

  • 100th birthday for Brigidine College, Randwick. From a beginning of eight pupils in a three-storey semi detached house in Avoca Street, today catering to more than 900 students.

26 October 2001

  • NIDA new facilities officially opened by John Howard at a cost of $32m including donations from Mel Gibson and Lady (Mary) Fairfax.

3 December 2002

  • Sproats Report into Inner Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs boundaries tabled into the NSW Parliament.

12 October 2002

  • Bombs explode in Bali killing 202 people. Of the 88 Australians killed, 20 were residents of the Eastern Suburbs.

August 2003

  • Orica reveals that toxic water has spread from the Orica chemical plant and under local homes. Residents have been advised to stay away from bore water.

December 2003

  • The last patients left Prince Henry Hospital at Little Bay to make way for housing development.

September 2004

  • Orica withdraws its plan to dispose of 60,000 tonnes of toxic chemicals on its site at Botany.

July 2008

  • World Youth Day at Randwick Racecourse, presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. Approximately 250,000 pilgrims slept overnight at Randwick, and about 300,000 to 400,000 participants attended the Final Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 20 July.


  • 150 years of local government celebrated in Randwick City with a year long program of events culminating in the publication of the award winning history book, Randwick by Pauline Curby (download Chapter 1 PDF, 3667.07 KB)


  • EIS for extension of Light Rail to Randwick, UNSW and Randwick Racecourse goes on public display.
Last Updated: 25 October 2022
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