LOCATED AT the southern end of the Northern Illawarra’s coastal strip, Thirroul has become a lively and eclectic shopping hub with everything from lingerie shops to fashion boutiques, a surfshop to exclusive gift and homeware stores. There are also a growing number of delis and cafés catering for locals and visitors keen for refreshment after a long day at the beach.
Thirroul’s shopping precincts are separated by a bridge over the railway line. The northern end has two major supermarkets, delis, restaurants, fruit stalls, cafés, kid’s stores, homewares stores and fashion boutiques, amongst other things.
The southern shopping precinct has its own deli, bakery, cafés, homewares store, second-hand fashion store, and Ryan’s pub, which has two of the north’s most popular restaurants as well as a beer garden and bottle shop.
In the centre of the strip (Lawrence Hargrave Drive) is The Beaches Hotel, which acts as a meeting place for locals and visitors and regularly hosts bands on its sunny outdoor patio.
Another major landmark, the historic King’s Theatre, is currently being restored to offer additional shopping and banking facilities, while also retaining a large theatre upstairs.
Thirroul has a strong arts community, and can trace its artistic heritage dates back to the days when D.H. Lawrence lived in the village and wrote his renowned novel, Kangaroo (circa 1922). Thhome overlooks the ocean and remains an early example of an Australian bungalow.
Today, local artists regularly open their studios to visitors, while the hugely popular Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival exposes their work to the broader community.
With so much to see, people sometimes forget that Thirroul also has a long, lovely beach and an Olympic-sized swimming pool that offers refuge from the surf.
Thirroul’s annual Seaside & Arts Festival
Held in early April, Thirroul’s annual, community-based Seaside & Arts Festival is subtitled “The Family Festival of Visual and Performing Arts”.
The festival not only celebrates the talents of local artists, but aims to bring the community together with a range of family focused events.
In 2005, the festival attracted 300 artists - working in a variety of mediums from traditional painting to contemporary woodwork - and 700 performers.
Key features include a free Artist’s Trail, which takes visitors into the homes and studios of local artists. Other key events include the Exhibition Walk, Art-in-the- Shops and Sculpture-on-the-Shore.
The festival also attracts a wide range of stall-holders and has a fairground atmosphere.