Moruya is a town located on the far south coast of New South Wales, Australia, situated on the Moruya River. The Princes Highway runs through the town that is approximately 305 kilometres (190 mi) south of Sydney and 175 kilometres (109 mi) from Canberra. At the 2016 census, Moruya had a population of 3982. Its built up area had a population of 2,525. The town relies predominantly on agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism. Moruya is administered by the Eurobodalla Shire Council and the shire chambers are located in the town.
Rural areas around Moruya were affected by the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season.
The South Coast region of New South Wales is the traditional home of the Yuin People, with the area in and around Moruya home to the Bugelli-Manji clan.
The name Moruya is derived from an Aboriginal Tharawal word (Tharawal pronunciation [mherroyah]) believed to mean "home of the black swan", although this is not probable and not verifiable. Black swans can be seen in the lakes and rivers around Moruya, and the black swan is used locally as an emblem.
European settlement commenced in the 1820s following the extension of the limits of location in 1829, although the coast from Bateman's Bay to Moruya was surveyed the previous year by Surveyor Thomas Florance. The first European settler was Francis Flanagan, a tailor from Ireland who was granted title to four square miles on the north bank of the river at Shannon View in 1829. In 1830, the next settler, John Hawdon, set up a squat at Bergalia but being beyond the limits, could not gain title to the land. However, in 1831 he was granted land on the north bank of the river, upstream from Flanagan. He called the property Kiora and it also occupied four square miles. A village named after the property soon grew.
In 1835, across the river from Flanagan, William Morris, squatted a block he called Gundary. William Campbell took up as a manager there and eventually bought the place himself in 1845. The town centre was surveyed in 1850 by surveyor Parkinson and the town gazetted in 1851. It centred about the track opposite where the road from Broulee terminated at the river bank, the two being linked by a punt. As there was a blacksmith on that track, it was named Vulcan Street. Campbell Street owed its name to the squatter, Queen Street to patriotism and Church Street to the Catholic Church's presence there. Land sales commenced in 1852.
Moruya was proclaimed a municipality in 1891. Local industries were timber getting, gold mining, dairying and quarrying for granite. The first bridge across the Moruya River was erected in 1876 though frequent flooding saw new bridges erected in 1900 and 1945 and, most recently, in 1966.
During World War II Moruya aerodrome was used as an advanced operational base. The trawler Dureenbee was attacked offshore between Moruya and Batemans Bay by a Japanese submarine on 3 August 1942. On 25 December 1944 the US liberty ship was torpedoed off Moruya by the German submarine U-862, sinking the next day between Moruya and Bega. Casualties were 2 dead and 67 survivors.
Moruya has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Moruya and District Historical Society 85 Campbell Street: Abernethy and Co Stonemason's Lathe
- 13 Page Street: Moruya Mechanics' Institute
Moruya is known for its granite stone that was used to build significant Australian landmarks including the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The granite used in the Harbour Bridge pylons was quarried in the area. The proximity of the quarries to the water meant it could be easily transported to Sydney. Quarrying for granite commenced in the district in the late 1850s by the brothers Joseph and John Flett Louttit who were from the Orkney Islands. Their quarry on the south side of the river produced stone for many Sydney landmarks including the columns of the General Post Office in Martin Place, and the base of the Captain Cook statue in Hyde Park.
The Moruya Quarry, also known as the Government Quarry, opened in 1876 on the northern bank of the Moruya River. From 1925 to 1932, the Harbour Bridge works saw 250 stonemasons employed and relocated to Moruya by the contractor to produce 20,000 cu yd (15,000 m3) of dimension stone for the bridge pylons, 173,000 blocks, and 200,000 yards of crushed stone that was used as aggregate for concrete. Moruya granite was also used for the Sydney Cenotaph in Martin Place. During the seven years of this work, a small town of about 70 houses grew up near the quarry called Granitetown; little remains of the town today. The quarry had a tramway that closed in 1931. The Moruya Quarry is operated by the New South Wales Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources. There was a third quarry west of the Moruya Quarry operated by the Ziegler family.
Moruya has various retailers, banks and services located on the high street, whilst supermarkets are located on the side streets. Harris Scarfe has a store in the town, it being a former branch of Goulburn retailer Allen's. Moruya has two supermarkets, one is a 10-aisle Woolworths (opened in 2000) and an IGA (opened in 2013). The former 8-aisle Franklins, which opened on 28 June 2011, ceased trading in February 2013. Moruya is also home to the regional telecommunications company, Southern Phone. The Tuesday afternoon and Saturday markets and fruit and vegetable markets are popular with local people and visitors.
Moruya Airport (code MYA) is located on the north side of Moruya Heads. The strip adjoins the beachfront, and flights to Moruya offer a slow and picturesque descent along the coastline. Regional Express (REX) flies mostly Saab 340B aircraft from Moruya to Sydney and Moruya to Merimbula, with connecting flights to Melbourne.
- Sarah Andrews – former cricket player; represented Australia
- Mike Balzary aka. Flea – musician and lead singer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers; has a property in Congo, 8 km south-east of Moruya
- Josh Cunningham – musician with The Waifs
- Charles Harpur – poet; a former goldfields commissioner in the Eurobodalla area; a farmer at Eurobodalla
- Jarrad Kennedy – former rugby league football player
- Norm Ryan – politician; represented Labor
- Michael Weyman – former rugby league football player; played with the Kangaroos
- Richie Williams – former rugby league football player
- Bill Woods – television sports presenter
- Stevie Wright – lead vocalist with The Easybeats
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Moruya (state suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- "Kiora". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- "Kiora". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Moruya (urban centre/locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- Dixon, R. M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Cambridge University Press. pp. xxxiv–xxxv. ISBN 978-0-521-47378-1.
- "Thomas Florance - NSW South Coast Surveyor". stgeorgesbasin.info. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- "Moruya Historical Society Emmott House". www.mdhs.org.au. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- "Abernethy and Co Stonemason's Lathe". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00942. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Mechanics Institute". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H00485. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
- "Moruya Granite". Sydney Mail. XL (1042). New South Wales, Australia. 16 March 1932. p. 13. Retrieved 23 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Tramways of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Granite Quarry - Moruya Light Railways issue 133 July 1996 pages 3-9
- Coat hanger turns 80' Track & Signal issue 16/1 February 2012 page 61