North Cronulla is an almost anonymously typical Sydney surf beach. There’s really nothing special about it and yet it is lovely and a pleasure to visit.
The order of my beaches has become a bit mixed up this season. I planned to visit North Cronulla around my attendance at a 1st birthday party in a nearby suburb. So, I had skipped ahead to North Curl Curl, but then I didn’t go to North Cronulla after the party and then I went to Queens for my birthday. What a mess
But, finally, here I am at beach number 55, North Cronulla.
My first stop is Blackwood Pantry for a delicious roasted pumpkin salad and skim flat white. Fortified, I move on to the beach.
North Cronulla is busy but not crowded. It’s a warm early autumn’s day. People are out taking advantage, knowing a turn toward cooler, less beachy, weather is imminent.
The irony of visiting beaches in the autumn is the water is finally a perfect temperature. I usually tiptoe in, letting one bit of my body after another get used to the temperature before plunging in. Not necessary today – the water is perfect.
I swim for a while – which is to say I bob while keeping an eye out for kids on boogie boards. Then I sit in the sun watching the scene. I dress and wander about taking a few photos before heading home.
A bit about North Cronulla
Cronulla is derived from an Aboriginal word kurranulla meaning ‘place of pink seashells’ (Wikipedia). North Cronulla beach is on the land of the Gweagal people of the Dharawal nation.
North Cronulla isn’t its own suburb – just the name of the beach, within the suburb of Cronulla.
In the 1920s the local council had declared North Cronulla Beach unsafe for swimming, but that didn’t stop the locals did it? So, in 1924 local residents met up and formed the North Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club. They ran their first patrol on 19 December 1925 – and in the first season they performed 24 rescues, and no lives were lost at North Cronulla that year.
CRONULLA BY THE NUMBERS
The 2016 census counted 18,070 people in Cronulla, of these 181 (1%) identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage (compared with 2.9% of NSW and 2.8% of Australia).
Seventy-five per cent of Cronullians were born in Australia, with only 22% having both parents born overseas (compared with 37% in NSW and 34% in Australia).
Eighty-two per cent only spoke English at home – which must be one of the highest percentages for an urban community in the country. No other language clears the 1% mark and the top five are all European: Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and German.
In the 2017 Same-Sex Marriage Postal Survey 82% of voters in Cook returned their ballots with 55% of them voting Yes and 45% voting No. Across NSW it was 58% Yes, 42% No; and nationwide it was 62% Yes and 42% No.
North Cronulla Beach is 23.1 kilometres (14.4 miles) from my home.
To get there, I walked to Redfern Station and caught the train to Cronulla. It took about 90 minutes to make the journey (including half an hour of walking) and cost $2.70 total – because it was Sunday, normally it’s $3.60 each way.