SOUTH WEST ROCKS
South West Rocks is a destination holiday resort town, and growing fast. South West Rocks owes its early existence to the setting up of a Gaol to work the convicts to build a breakwater. Now the place is a humming community. Given most growth has occurred post WW2 there are few heritage factors.
Whilst Arakoon was originally established as the township on Trial Bay in 1866, by 1889 South West Rocks had established itself as a popular bathing resort with people of the Macleay Valley. South West Rocks got its name most likely from the captains of passing ships, who claimed it was safest to moor vessels near the rocks, south west of Laggers Point (the point on which Trial Bay Gaol is built). Another theory is that their moorings would be safe if they kept the rocks to their south west. Trial Bay was named after a brig, The Trial, which was stolen and wrecked by convicts in 1816 in the bay that now bears its name.
The tourist population of South West Rocks increases markedly during the holiday season. Beautiful scenery, numerous beaches, and man-made attractions such as Trial Bay Gaol and Smoky Cape Lighthouse are published as local tourist attractions.
On 13 May 1770, Captain James Cook observed smoke from a fire on a mountain which he named Smoky Cape. The headland in front of the mountain is now the location of Smoky Cape Lighthouse.
Outside of the Gaol there are no heritage factors in the town. That said a visit to the Gaol will be well worth the effort. This is quite an amazing construction and exhibit and given the era doubly so. The short diversion and potential stopover determines South West Rocks is a must visit.