A Brief History of Caves Beach

Name Origin

Originally known as “The Plains,” then “The Plains Beach,” and “Caves Beach.” In 1960 it was named “Mawson,” after Art Mawson, but residents objected to this and in 1965 the name reverted to Caves Beach. Mr. Art Mawson, a Swansea hotel-keeper and businessman gave impetus to the development of Caves Beach. He first became interested in the area in 1945 when he took over the small Normaine Colliery.

He also involved a Japanese consortium in a mining venture called Silver Valley Minerals, however it failed to develop. The breakwater at “Spoon Rocks,” which was constructed to load coal into ships stands as a reminder of this venture. One of the main features of the area is the large caves situated on the beach.

Aboriginal Occupation

The Plains were covered with grass trees and aborigines would go there to collect resin, which they then used in spear-making. They had campsites at Ham’s beach because of the good fishing and availability of a fine grained quarzite which was used for making stone implements.

In the early 1900’s a number of part-aborigines lived between Swansea and Caves Beach along the old rail line which was established during the construction of the Swansea Breakwall.

First School

The Public School was opened in January 1968. Swansea High School was built at Caves Beach and opened in January 1964.

Early Subdivisions

“Parbury Estate,” April 1935. The Union Trustee Company was the vendor for this subdivision which formed either side of Caves Beach Road.


Swansea-Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club was founded in 1929.


In 1981 the Newcastle-Wallsend Coal Co. proposed to open a new colliery called Wallamaine, with both underground and open cut workings, south of the town but failed to gain government approval.

Water Supply


Swansea Chamber Map Pelican Catherine Hill Bay Blacksmiths Swansea Heads Swansea Caves Beach Murrays Beach Cams Wharf Nords Wharf