The Tilligerry Peninsula on the northern shores of Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia, contains the towns of Tanilba Bay, Mallabula and Lemon Tree Passage.

I extracted this information from my map "Discover Tilligerry Peninsula", 1997.

TILLIGERRY PENINSULA. Tilligerry is said to mean 'pelican'. In the words of Henry Halloran the Tilligerry Peninsula is 'almost an island'. It is surrounded by the waters of Port Stephens and Tilligerry Creek and by Moffats Swamp on the west. The five hamlets have a unique history, flora and fauna. As a quiet family holiday destination, it provides facilities for many sports, fishing, safe swimming, boating and bushwalking in a varied bushland setting with a colony of wild koalas.


Meaning "three swamps", Mallabula was a collection of fishing huts on the foreshore and near the jetty until the 1960s. Then the flat was cleared for sandmining and trees were not replanted so that a housing estate could be developed. The barge used in the sandmining was floated out along a channel cut through the beach near Caswell Reserve, around Tanilba Point, and into another channel cut in the sea wall on Big Swan Bay, to commence sandmining operations there.


Originally called 'Kooindah' or 'clear water' (now the name of one of the shopping centres in Tanilba Bay), Lemon Tree Passage was renamed because of the lemon groves, (or perhaps a native plant similar to the lemon tree called cheesebush), found by early visitors to the area. The word 'passage' in the name refers to the use of the water ways for travel north of Salt Ash. The first houses in Lemon Tree Passage were the fishermen's huts along the foreshore and in the area known as The Gibbers along the banks of Tilligerry Creek where all roads began. Many small subdivisions developed Lemon Tree Passage, like the Tilligerry Estate dated 1920 that planned John Parade and Beach Road.

Lemon Tree Passage has an enclosed tidal pool, new boat ramp, boat hire, marina, police station, restaurant, bowling club, motel, parks, post office, Tilligerry Community Centre, real estate agents and takeaway food outlets.


Tanilba means 'place of white flowers' - assumed to be flannel flowers that used to thrive everywhere. The land was extensively cleared for mixed farming for the Caswell land grant of 50 acres and used to pasture cattle and grow wine grapes.

Henry Halloran, a surveyor and real estate agent, bought the land in 1920 and planned a subdivision that would repeat elements of Walter Burley Griffin's plan for Canberra based on a central Avenue of the Allies. To appeal to patriotism, street names were chosen to capture attention by their alliteration and to remind buyers of the heroes of the World War I, like Navy Nook, Army Avenue and Diggers Drive.

Both the gates, the Water Gate with the bollards from H.M.A.S Sydney, which was briefly in Port Stephens on its way to being scrapped after World War I, and the Entrance Gates near Lemon Tree Passage Road, were built to commemorate the centenary in 1931 of the land grant to the Caswells, using unemployed workers during the Depression.

THE TILLIGERRY PENINSULA is a great place to-go for a bushwalk, spot a koala, catch a fish, hire a boat, admire a dolphin, feed a pelican, stroll amongst the flora, listen to the birds, enjoy a picnic, swim, shop, meet the locals, eat out at a club, play golf/bowls/tennis, ride a bike, find the ghost at Tanilba House, watch the sunset, eat on the foreshore, visit a craft shop, follow a heritage trail, follow an ecotourist trail, stay for a week.


SALT ASH is a scattered rural community and was once the centre for the Tilligerry Peninsula with a timber mill, post office, school (1883) and wharf. Early travel to all parts of Port Stephens was by coach to Salt Ash, then by ferry from Salt Ash Wharf to other parts of the waterway. The Pelican Walk shown on the Tilligerry map begins at Salt Ash and wanders for 600m across salt marsh to the mangroves with views of Tilligerry Creek, water birds and Bobs Farm opposite. Oakvale Farm is a popular day trip.


OYSTER COVE. Once the site of the largest oyster farm in the Southern Hemisphere, Oyster Cove's response to the massive changes in the oyster industry is to diversify into the largest marine service centre in Port Stephens. Oyster Farming is being re-established and further tourism developments are underway. A pleasant walk (marked on the Tilligerry map) along the foreshore east of Oyster Cove follows a disused private road through a forest of swamp mahogany, with views over the waters of Big Swan Bay.


ACCOMMODATION - is available at Koala Shores and Lemon Tree Passage Motel. Senior Citizen's units. Bed & Breakfasts. Rental houses are available from real estate agents.

Entertainment - Tanilba House. RSL/Sports Club. Bowling Club and Golf Club offer dining and other facilities.

Pelican Feeding - 1pm daily at Lemon Tree Passage Marina.

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