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The coastal town of Gerringong on the state's south coast is part of the traditional lands of the Wodi Wodi Aboriginal people and Gerringong takes its name from a Wodi Wodi word which translates to mean 'fearful place'. Surrounded by forested areas, Gerringong was first settled by cedar cutters and dairy farmers who were attracted to the area's fertile valleys with the first land grants in Gerringong made in 1817. Local pastoral successes saw a town gazetted for the farming community in 1829 yet the Village of Jerringong would not be proclaimed until the 1850s.
With churches and schools built in the town along with local businesses opening up along the town's new streets the village would be officially named Gerringong, amending the earlier spelling when a post office was added to the town in 1857. Despite not having the working port harbour which made nearby Kiama the trading centre of the region at the time, Gerringong's Boat Harbour was accessible by smaller steam boats. To improve trading prospects for the district's dairy farming community, a group of farmers banded together in the 1870s and purchased a number of small steam ships which they would load with their local diary produce which would then be transferred onto the larger trading ships further out to sea.
As the local dairy industry continued to prosper the need for a more efficient trading process was recognised by the State Government who helped fund the construction of the Gerringong Jetty in 1885. Despite a storm destroying the jetty in 1891, the extension of the Illawarra railway line through the town two years later allowed trade to continue along the then preferred rail routes. Dairy farming had long been the staple industry of the Gerringong area and in 1888 the Gerringong Co­operative Factory was established to allow for better trade practices in the region and is the purportedly the longest running co-operative of its kind in Australia. Although no longer accountable for the majority of employment in the town, Gerringong continues to be one of the richest dairy producing areas of New South Wales today.
The picturesque hillside town located not far from major business centres including Wollongong and Sydney, has most recently seen its location attract a growing population of professionals who choose to commute out of the town for employment. With an abundance of coastal attractions including Seven Mile Beach National Park and Werri Beach coupled with agricultural attractions such as wineries, Gerringong has quickly become a favoured spot for holiday makers. Gerringong's renowned surf beach Werri Beach hosts the Bob Churton Memorial Surf Spectacular Carnival every year in honour of one of the areas longest serving life savers.