English navigators George Bass and Matthew Flinders first landed in Lake Illawarra in 1796. They were the first Europeans in an area originally inhabited by the Dharwal Aborigines.
By the early nineteenth century, more European settlers entered the region for the purposes of cedar-cutting. Graziers arrived and in 1815 Charles Throsby established a stockman's hut. Land grants followed shortly and as more settlers came into the area, a town was planned in 1834.
Convict labour was utilised to carve a road down the Escarpment and through Bulli Pass and by 1856,Wollongong boasted a population of 864. The railway soon followed. The city was incorporated in 1942.