There is clear evidence, particularly in the form of significant Aboriginal rock carvings, that Aboriginal people occupied sites in the area now known as Waverley, in the period before European settlement. An important type of tool was first found in the region and is still known as the Bondi point.
The indigenous people of the area at the time of European settlement have generally been referred to as the Sydney people or the Eora, meaning ‘the people’. There is no clear evidence for the name or names of the particular band(s) of the Eora that roamed the Waverley area. Most sources agree on the Cadigal but there are sources which name the Biddigal and Birrabirragal bands as well. A number of place names within Waverley – most famously Bondi – have been based on words derived from Aboriginal languages of the Sydney region.
Waverley was the second Sydney suburb to become a municipality. This happened onJune 13, 1859, when Sir William Denison, who was the Governor-General and also the Governor-in-Chief of the Colony of New South Wales, proclaimed the establishment of The Municipality of Waverley. The first land grant in Waverley was made 50 years before it was made a Municipality when General Bligh gave 81 hectares to a Mr. William Roberts. That piece of land covered what is now most of the business and residential area of Bondi Beach.
Waverley is a wonderful blend of old and new. It features magnificent semi-detached cottages, beautifully renovated Federation terraces, contemporary apartments and art deco apartments. The unique Waverley topography means many houses have spectacular views over the city and ocean.
The Bondi Junction shopping hub is just minutes away from Waverley. It includes Eastgardens and Westfield Shopping Centre, featuring major department stores, supermarkets and specialty stores. The suburb also features many neighbourhood stores including grocery stores, newsagents, chemists and liquor stores. Nearby Charing Cross has undergone a major upgrade and now ‘houses’ accountants, solicitors, a drycleaner and the Yoga Warehouse.
Waverley is close to the magnificent Eastern suburbs beaches, including Bronte, Tamarama, Clovelly and Bondi. Popular is the Coastal Walk, which hugs the coast along the cliff faces and beaches. Local parks include MacPherson Park, Marlborough Reserve, Simpson Park and Varra Park, which feature picnic and/or barbecue facilities. The suburb is also close to Centennial Park, which boasts walking/jogging and cycle tracks, horse-riding, picnic facilities, rollerblade tracks, barbecue facilites, and vast areas for football, soccer and just relaxing. It is also just a short drive to Royal Sydney Golf Course, Randwick Racecourse and Moore Park.
Waverley is less than 7km from the Sydney city centre and is accessed by public buses including numbers 360, 378 and 380. It is also a short distance from Bondi Junction Railway Station.
There are a range of landmarks in the Waverley area including the Waverley Cemetery, where many well known Australian are buried, including Henry Kendall and Henry Lawson; Waverley Toll Gates; St Mary’s Anglican Church; Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Church; and the Waverley Reservoirs.
Waverley and the surrounding beachside suburbs boast an enormous and exciting array of cafes and restaurants. In the suburb itself is the Charing Cross Pizza Bar & Restaurant, Cumquat Café, Iku Organic Wholefood, Istvan’s Cuisine, Yum Yum Restaurant and Sius Village Chinese. The cafes of Bronte are particularly popular on the weekends.
Local preschools include Waterford Preschool, the Wee Care Kindergarten, Iluka Childcare Centre, Montessori Eastern Suburbs and Brontesaurus Preschool Kindergarten in Bronte. Schools include St Catherine’s Anglican Girls’ School, St Charles Primary School, St Clares College and Waverley College. There are also a range of public and private schools in nearby Randwick, Bondi and Rose Bay.