Heathcote - Waterfall comprises the rural balance of Sutherland Shire, with township areas in Heathcote and Waterfall, and some urban and military areas. The bulk of the area is preserved as Royal National Park. Heathcote - Waterfall is bounded by Heathcote Road, the Woronora River, Heathcote Road, Railway Parade, Princes Highway, Savilles Creek, Greenhaven Road, the Hacking River and Port Hacking in the north, the South Pacific Ocean in the east, Wollongong City in the south and Campbelltown and Liverpool Cities in the west. Heathcote - Waterfall includes the localities of Heathcote, Royal National Park and Waterfall, and parts of the localities of Holsworthy and Woronora Dam. Heathcote is thought to be named after an officer who served with Surveyor General Mitchell in the Peninsular Wars. Waterfall is named for the waterfalls near the railway station.

Settlement of the area dates from the 1840s when Heathcote was established, being one of the first settlements in Sutherland Shire. Royal National Park was founded in 1879 when 18,000 acres were set aside as a public reserve. The park increased to 33,000 acres in 1880 and is currently nearly 40,000 acres. Waterfall was a major railway depot from the time of the opening of the Sutherland-Waterfall railway in 1886, with most of the residents employed by the railway. The most significant development occurred during the post-war years. The population has declined marginally since the early 1990s, a result of little change in dwelling stock and a decline in the average number of persons living in each dwelling.

Major features of the area include Royal National Park, Heathcote National Park, Woronora Dam, Holsworthy Military Reserve, St George Area Scouts & Training Centre, Warumbul Picnic Area, Heathcote Oval, Waterfall Oval and a number of schools.

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