Brisbane Water originated as a river valley that joined the deep gorge of the Hawesbury River further south. Our beautiful coastal lakes and lagoons formed as the post-Ice Age sea levels stabilised, some 6,000 years ago. From that time the Brisbane Water area supported a significant indigenous population, mainly the Darkinjung and Kuringai people.
The Darkinjung and Kuringai led a hunter/gatherer existence that required a deep understanding of the environment. The waters of the bay teemed with fish, the rocks were covered in oysters, the bush abounded with kangaroos, wallabies, possums and birds and the banks were strewn with yams and wild fruits.
Governor Phillip visited Brisbane Water in 1788 with permanent white settlement established from 1823, with a catastrophic impact on the local population.
Boat building and building supplies were dominant trades along the banks of Brisbane Water – roof shingles from ironbarks, lime mortar made from oyster shell middens and building timber from spotted gum, blackbutt, Sydney blue gum, turpentine and rainforest softwoods all fed the Sydney building boom.
By 1842 a regular paddle steamer was plying the waters from a wharf on Brisbane Water down to Sydney twice a week. In 1884 a government act encouraged the purchase of small acreages in the area. The railway arrived in 1889, a catalyst for further growth in the area and also the start of the tourism boom on the Coast.
The Brisbane Water area in particular was within easy reach of Sydney and attractive guest houses lined the banks. Two of them still stand – Woy Woy Hotel (1897) and the Bay View (1907).
Today, Boathouse Bar + Dining evokes the history of those guesthouses, taking in 180 degree views of stunning Brisbane Water, across oyster leases, where ferries and other craft still ply their trade.
Brisbane Water is a 165 square kilometre estuary whose banks and mangroves are home to a range of animals, birds, fish, many of them vulnerable or endangered.
Make a booking and bask in the beauty and history of this important part of the world.