Rose Bay, New South Wales

Rose Bay
Sydney, New South Wales

On the shore of Rose Bay
Population 9,401 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 2029
Location 7 km (4 mi) east of Sydney CBD
LGA(s) Waverley Council
State electorate(s) Vaucluse
Federal Division(s) Wentworth
Suburbs around Rose Bay:
Point Piper Port Jackson Vaucluse
Bellevue Hill Rose Bay Dover Heights
Bellevue Hill Bondi Beach North Bondi

Rose Bay is an affluent harbourside, eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Rose Bay is located seven kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government areas of Waverley Municipal Council (east of Old South Head Road) and Woollahra Council (on its western side towards the bay).

Rose Bay has views of both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge together. Lyne Park abuts Sydney Harbour on its west. Shark Island is located in Sydney Harbour, just north of Rose Bay.


Rose bay, circa 1900
Qantas Empire Airways seaplane flights arriving at Rose Bay (c.1939)

Rose Bay was named after the Right Honourable George Rose, who was joint Secretary to the British Treasury with Thomas Steele, after whom Steel(e) Point at Nielsen Park was named. The name Rose Bay was used as early as 1788 by Captain John Hunter.[2] HMAS Tingira, named after an Aboriginal word for 'open sea' was moored in Rose Bay from 1912 to 1927. It was used to train over 3,000 Australian sailors, many for service in World War I. There is a small park on the Rose Bay waterfront which commemorates Tingira.[3]

From 1938, seaplanes landed in Sydney Harbour on Rose Bay, making this Sydney's first international airport, and what is now Rose Bay Water Airport. On 14 September 1945, nine Catalina flying boats landed and moored at the Rose Bay wharf, repatriating Australian prisoner of war, survivors of Japanese camps. Sydneysiders looked on in silence, aghast at the emaciated state of the returning soldiers.[4] There is a nearby restaurant called Catalina, referencing the aircraft of the same name.

From the 1950s, Ansett Flying Boat Services operated regular scheduled flights to Lord Howe Island from a small seaplane terminal and jetty on the Rose Bay foreshore. Latterly the flights were operated by four-engined Short Sandringhams. The service was discontinued in 1974 when the island's new airport was completed. Currently three different seaplane carriers, two of which are operated as trading names of Krug Agencies Pty Ltd, offer scenic flights around Sydney Harbour and up to Palm Beach. Also popular are lunch packages to several water front restaurants on the Hawkesbury River.

The Wintergarden Cinema was a landmark building which housed the Sydney Film Festival from 1968 to 1973, but which was demolished to make way for exclusive apartments in the late 1980s.[5]

Rose Bay Cottage

Rose Bay Cottage (then called Rose Bay Lodge) circa 1855 when it was owned by Sir Daniel Cooper

Rose Bay Cottage, located in Salisbury Road, was built in 1834 by the important colonial architect, John Verge, for James Holt who, at the time, managed the 'Cooper Estate'. When built, it was the only house on the 'Estate', with the possible exception of Henrietta Villa, Captain Piper's previous home on Point Piper. The house was built as a single storey residence of about 225 m² with a veranda, over a similar sized stone cellar. Adjacent to it was an earlier structure (circa 1820s) which was apparently adopted as a kitchen. The house was significantly enlarged by sympathetic additions between 1837 and 1850 and the kitchen wing was joined to the main house forming a courtyard. By the end of this period the house had more than doubled in size. From 1861 until 1911, the house was usually known as Rose Bay Lodge; it has also been known as Salisbury Court. It was surrounded by extensive gardens embellished by five working fountains fed from a water source above on the slopes of Bellevue Hill which later fed 'Woollahra House', built in 1883 on Point Piper. One of the fountains still remains. Prominent occupiers of the house included Sir Daniel Cooper, Walter Lamb and John Hay - they were all noted businessmen and parliamentarians. In 1911, the property, then of 4 acres (1.6 ha), was sub-divided and surrounded by other houses. During the next fifty years the old house suffered extensive unsympathetic additions including a second storey over the original Verge cottage which converted the house to twelve flats. It has subsequently been restored according to strict conservation standards and the unsympathetic additions removed. The house is listed on the Heritage Register of New South Wales.[6]

Fernleigh Castle

Fernleigh Castle was built in 1892,[7] incorporating part of a sandstone cottage that dated back to 1874. Aptly named, it resembles a castle with its turrets, castellated towers and square Norman tower. Its sandstone structure contains thirty rooms and a number of stained-glass windows. Fernleigh Castle is on the Register of the National Estate.[7]

Rose Bay Police Station

This police station originally started life as the gatekeeper's lodge in the estate of Woollahra House, a nineteenth-century mansion that has long gone.[7] The surviving building was designed in a Victorian Classical Revival style which is attributed to 'Hilly and Mansfield' and which probably tells us what Woollahra House looked like. It was built in 1871 and features rendered walls punctuated with pilasters. Sympathetically restored, it is now on the Register of the National Estate.[7]

Educational facilities and history

Rose Bay is home to two independent schools: Kambala (1887), an Anglican, day and boarding school for girls from Pre-school to Year 12; and Kincoppal - Rose Bay (1882), a Catholic, day and boarding school with a co-educational primary school and girls-only high school. Kincoppal - Rose Bay was originally Rose Bay Convent but amalgamated with Kincoppal Elizabeth Bay in the late 1970s to become "Kincoppal - Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart". The prep school campus of Cranbrook School (1918) is also located in the suburb.[8] McAuley Primary School is a Catholic school for Kindergarten to Year 6. It was opened in 1967 on the site that had been a Christian Brothers High School from 1935 to 1966.[9]

Convent of the Sacred Heart (Kincoppal), c.1930s

Public schools in the suburb are Rose Bay Secondary College (2004) and Rose Bay Public School (1891). Rose Bay Secondary College was formed by the amalgamation of Vaucluse High School and Dover Heights High School. Originally these schools were known as Vaucluse Boys High, Dover Heights Boys High and Dover Heights Girls High. The cost of improving the public school facilities at Rose Bay was linked to the sale of the campus at Vaucluse. Despite a surge in enrolments and an unmet demand for public high school places in the area, the Vaucluse campus was sold in February 2007 by the Government of New South Wales for $30M to become a seniors community development site.[10]

Convent of the Sacred Heart

The Convent of the Sacred Heart overlooks the bay and can be seen from many vantage points around Sydney Harbour. The site was originally occupied by a house called Claremont, which was built in 1852. The convent incorporated this house when it was built in 1888. Designed by John Horbury Hunt, the new building was of five storeys in height and made of sandstone that was quarried at the site. It included a Gothic Revival Chapel and is regarded as one of Hunt's most successful creations. It now houses the Kincoppal-Rose Bay school for girls. The building has a Federal heritage listing.[11]


The Rose Bay ferry wharf provides access to the Eastern Suburbs ferry services. There are frequent State Transit buses to and from the centre of Sydney via Kings Cross as well as other points and out to Watsons Bay and the coast. Seaplane operators offer scenic flights over Sydney itself as well as a number of excursions along the coast as well as some scheduled services to Newcastle with aircraft operating out of the seaplane terminal near Rose Bay ferry terminal.

Sport and recreation

Sydney Harbour, from Rose Bay

Since 1908, Rose Bay has been represented in one of Australia's most popular sporting competitions, the National Rugby League, by the Sydney Roosters, officially known as the Eastern Suburbs District Rugby League Football Club.

There are two golf courses located in Rose Bay. Woollahra Golf Club is a public 9-hole course and Royal Sydney Golf Club is a private 27-hole championship course, not open to the public.

The 3rd Rose Bay Rovers group is an active Rovers group based in the Scouts Hall located in Vickery Avenue, opposite Woollahra Sailing Club.

Rose Bay is home to the Waverley Amateur Radio Society, Australia's longest continuously licensed amateur radio club. The club meets on a regular basis at the Scouts Hall located in Vickery Avenue.



According to the 2011 census, the population of Rose Bay was 9,401. 52.6% of people in Rose Bay are Australian-born, compared to 59.9% for the wider Sydney area.[12] Of the immigrants, most are from South Africa (9.2%), then England (5.7%), New Zealand (2.6%), Israel (1.8%) and Ireland (1.0%).

Of Rose Bay's population, 29.7% stated they were Jewish, 19.0% Catholic, and 16.7% said they had no religion. The median weekly household income was $1,908, compared to the Australian median of $1,234.[1]

Data released by Sensis[13] showed that in 2015 the Hebrew surname Cohen (i.e. Priest) was Rose Bay's top ranked surname, followed second by the Anglo surname Smith, and third the European (mostly Ashkenazi Jewish) surname Kaplan (i.e. Priest). The first and third top ranking surnames reflecting the Jewish population plurality of the suburb.


Rose Bay has been the centre of Sydney's Jewish community, including all over the Eastern Suburbs. It is still a strong centre for the Jewish population of Sydney, and has attracted a sizeable number of immigrants from Israel, South Africa and Russia.


According to the 2011 census, there are 2,453 flats in Rose Bay, or 66.3% of all dwellings, compared to an Australian average of 13.6%. There are also 885 separate houses (23.9%) and 347 semi/terraces (9.4%). Of these, 41.5% are rented, 30.5% are fully owned and 24.3% are being purchased.[1]

Notable residents


  1. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Rose Bay (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  2. Peter Roland: The Right Honourable George Rose. (1989). Woollahra History and Heritage Society Inc.
  3. "Tingira Memorial Park". 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  4. "Returning POWs". Peter Dunn. 2006. Retrieved 8 June 2008.
  5. The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Compiled by Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, Published in Australia ISBN 0-207-14495-8, page 225.
  6. Heritage Register Website:Retrieved 28 June 2009
  7. 1 2 3 4 The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/134
  8. "Woollahra and Surrounds Schools Directory" (PDF). Woollahra Municipal Council. 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  9. McAuley Primary School
  10. Wentworth Courier, 15 Feb 2007
  11. The Heritage of Australia, Manmillan Company, 1981, p.2/138
  12. Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Greater Sydney". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
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Coordinates: 33°52′31″S 151°15′20″E / 33.87521°S 151.25557°E / -33.87521; 151.25557

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