Sylvania Water’s name hints at its early history. The word ‘sylvan’ means ‘inhabiting the woodland’ and the area the suburb now occupies was once heavily forested. Many of southern Sydney’s early settlers were drawn to the region so they could participate in the logging industry, and Sylvania Waters was no exception. However, Sylvania Water’s later history has been highly unusual. In the 1960s the suburb’s location on Gwawley Bay caught the eye of James Goyen, a property developer who wanted to provide home sites with unsurpassed access to the water. Drawing on the example of the canal-side developments in Florida Keys, Goyen embarked on a project to reclaim land from Gwawley Bay. This task involved some major feats of engineering, including the construction of an eight kilometre retaining wall to hold back the sea. Three artificial islands were also made: Murray, Barcoo and James Cook. Sydneysiders were quick to purchase homes in this unique part of Sydney when the development was finalised. Today, homes in Sylvania Waters continue to be highly sought after, with properties offering uninterrupted views of the bay and unrivalled boat access.
Real Estate and Design
Sylvania Waters began life as a prestige residential development and properties in the suburb reflect this. Most homes are substantial brick dwellings on large level blocks, offering three or four bedrooms and spacious living areas. Residents have been keen to capitalise on their proximity to Gwawley Bay and many homes have been enlarged and upgraded to maximise their views of the locality or the water. Sylvania Waters is a boating enthusiasts’ paradise, with deep water frontages in abundance.
Restaurants and Cafés
Sylvania Waters was developed with the intention of providing home sites that people never want to leave. Accordingly, most of the local restaurants focus on providing quality take-away food. For those occasions when event dining is called for, Sylvania Water’s Doltone House offers lavish décor and an ambitious menu. Neighbouring Sylvania offers a range of cafés and restaurants. Nearby, Sans Souci and Cronulla are both big dining destinations, offering Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Lebanese, Greek, French and modern Australian cuisine
Schools, Education and Institutions
Children of all ages are well served by the childcare and educational centres within the locality. A long-day care centre caters to children from nought to five, and a pre-school offering a ‘school readiness’ program is also located in Sylvania Waters. Neighbouring Sylvania Heights Public School enjoys an excellent reputation and provides an education for children from kindergarten to grade six. The suburb is also fortunate to have a high school within easy reach of parents and students: Sylvania High School offers a full secondary curriculum. Numerous independent primary and secondary schools serving local children are situated in neighbouring suburbs. The St George Institute of TAFE is located in nearby Kogarah and the Sydney Institute of TAFE Sutherland, has two readily accessible campuses at Gymea and Loftus.
Sydneysiders are not alone in appreciating the artificial islands situated in Sylvania Waters. Recently, James Cook Island was used as a location for scenes in the Hollywood film Superman Returns.
Three compact shopping precincts give residents of Sylvania Waters ready access to newsagencies, pharmacies, grocery stores, video stores, supermarkets, butchers and bakeries. Sylvania Waters Shopping Village is located near Murrumbidgee Avenue; Sylvania Shopping Centre is near Box Road and the Richmond Centre is near Richmond Avenue. The Southgate Shopping Centre is located in neighbouring Sylvania and houses two large supermarkets, a department store along with a range of specialty stores and boutiques. A number of large retail centres are located nearby, including Westfield Miranda, the Parkside Plaza Miranda and Caringbah Marketplace.
Sports, Fitness and Recreation
As you’d expect, many of the recreational activities in Sylvania Waters centre on the local waterways. There are exceptional opportunities for fishing, sailing, canoeing and kayaking, and open-ocean swimmers are close to the beaches of Cronulla and Sans Souci. Back on land, both Gwawley Park and Hawkesbury Reserve provide relaxed spaces for those who want to walk, run or cycle. A number of excellent sporting facilities have been built in Sylvania Waters. The Sylvania Waters Athletics Track is a state-of-the-art facility and many local and state track and field events are held there. The Sylvania Waters Tennis Court Complex is located next door and courts can be readily hired. A wide range of local sporting clubs and competitions are also run within Sutherland Shire, including netball, basketball, tennis, soccer, AFL, rugby, rugby league, baseball and water polo.
Distance from CBD and Transport
Sylvania Waters is 21km south of the Sydney central business district. The journey by road follows the Eastern Distributor and Princes Highway and takes about 40 minutes. Kingsford Smith airport is only a 20 minute drive away. Residents of Sylvania Waters are close to a number of stations on the Eastern Suburbs-Illawarra rail line - Carlton Station is approximately 15 minutes drive away. Veolia private bus company provides a local link between Sylvania Waters and neighbouring suburbs.