Commanding some of the finest views the Illawarra has to offer, Mount Kembla comprises an area of approximately 5.8 sq km with surrounding suburbs including Kembla Heights, Cordeaux Heights and Farmborough Heights. Spectacular scenery, peace and tranquillity are the highlights of this historic suburb, a semi-rural paradise with close proximity to Wollongong’s CBD, University and excellent local schools and shopping.
Four areas combine to make up the Mount Kembla suburbs, they are Kembla Heights, Windy Gully, Cordeaux Valley and Kembla Village (previously named American Creek and Violet Hill, respectively). Kembla Village is considered the principal village and it includes the local primary school, church and graveyard. It also houses the Mount Kembla Hotel C1896, craft galleries and many historic buildings including early miner’s cottages. The restaurant at the Mount Kembla Village Hotel was awarded ‘Best Pub’ in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2011.
The township was established around 1883 when the Mount Kembla Colliery opened. The mine closed in 1970 and BHP Biliton, a mining/steel export company, is currently mining half a kilometre west of the village at Dendrobium. Mount Kembla also features the Heritage Centre which exhibits local history and in particular the mining disaster of 1902 when an explosion claimed the lives of 96 men and boys. An annual festival, The 96 Candles Ceremony, commemorates the victims of this disaster – Australia’s largest until the Black Saturday Victorian bushfires of 2009. Mount Kembla is joined to the west by the Illawarra Escarpment and a two lower summits, Kembla West at 512metres and Mount Burelli at 531 metres. The mountain forms a prominent peak and local landmark with an easterly orientation.
In 2006 the population of Mount Kembla was 1,400 people with the predominant age range being in the 40-49 year old group. The majority of the population are employed full time, and those in employment are professionals with most driving to work by car. There are approximately 401 dwellings, 99% being houses of which 45.1% are fully owned, 42.9% being financed and 89% are owner occupied. 88% of the population are married couples and local amenities include 4 parks, a Primary School, Child Care Centre, Post Office and church. Access to the village from Wollongong is via the residential/bushland Cordeaux Road, its name coming from early settlers, and over from Mount Keira down Harry Graham Drive.
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