|Shoalhaven Heads is located 2 hrs drive South of Sydney, at the mouth of the Shoalhaven River. From 1830, this area was known as Jerry Bailey, although the origin of the name is unknown it is said to be that of a sailor who lost his life when his ship ran aground whilst navigating the shallow river mouth.
After debate lasting for some years, the township's name was changed in 1955 to Shoalhaven Heads, the original word 'Shoals Haven' having been coined by explorer George Bass in 1797.
In the earliest years of white settlement, the nearby Coolangatta Estate had a cemetery at Shoalhaven Heads which was in use by 1829. There was little development for a long period, apart from fishing shacks built by people from Berry, and it was not until the depression years that people came to live permanently in the village.
During the 1920s, various illegal buildings were constructed on the flats now occupied by the Council caravan park. Their owners were given the opportunity to lease Crown Land blocks, which they could later purchase.
The first store was established by Billy Bolt, who had previously conducted a cordial factory at Berry. It was taken over by Alex Tetley, who opened the first Post Office in May 1937.
George Hutchinson, who conducted a caravan park for many years, moved a house to the corner of Bolt Street and River Road in 1955, and there built a shop to be conducted by his daughter Jan, which was known as Jan's Store.
One short-lived venture was a condensed milk factory started by John Fell on the site of the present Mountain View Caravan Park. In order to transport milk to the steamers, a bridge was built over the creek and a track made to a wharf in Hay Avenue, about where the boat ramp is now located.
With local children attending Coolangatta Public School, there was a move in 1940 to have its name changed to Shoalhaven Heads. It took until 1958 when 16 of the 19 pupils lived at the Heads that the change occurred, and a new public school building constructed at Shoalhaven Heads was officially opened in June 1959.
Another link with Coolangatta is through the estate's library building which was moved in 1961 to become St. Peter's Church of England at Shoalhaven Heads. This is the only denomination to have its own premises at the Heads, although some others regularly conduct worship services in the town. A Shoalhaven Heads Community Centre, built by voluntary labour, was completed in 1955. That building has now become a preschool, while a new community centre in Shoalhaven Heads Road opened on June 1, 1985, serves the locals in a variety of ways.
The first surf club was formed at Seven Mile Beach in the late 1920s, and it was followed by the very active Shoalhaven Heads Life Saving Club in 1955, and the swimming pool in 1962. Sporting ovals, as well as bowling and tennis facilities are now available locally, while Shoalhaven Heads combines with Berry in the cricket and rugby league clubs.
Shoalhaven Heads has become a popular residential as well as holiday town, with a host of water sports available. There are ample caravan parks and motels to cater for those seeking a vacation by the sea, and there are plenty of other attractions in close proximity