Toukley - Culture and History

Toukley is an expanding residential and holiday resort area of the Central Coast. The name is of indigenous origin but the original meaning is now uncertain. Two very different theories are that 'toukley' means 'many brambles', or that 'toukley ouckley' means 'rough on one side, smooth on the other', interpreted as referring to Tuggerah Lake and Budgewoi Lake. The last Aborigine to frequent Tuggerah Lake on his bark canoe was Billy Fawkner who died in 1875. He was known as 'the last of the Brisbane Water blackfellows', the remainder of his tribe killed by disease and dispossessed of their land by force.

Tuggerah Lake is the principal coastal lagoon of an interconnected 80 sq km lake system which includes Lake Munmorah and Budgewoi Lake. The three lagoons are separated from the Pacific Ocean by large sand peninsulas but share common access to the ocean at The Entrance. Less than 2 m deep on average, shark-free and fed by small streams such as Wyong Creek they are ideal for waterskiing, canoeing, sailing, rowing and sailboarding. The lakes and foreshores were cleaned up and restored in the late 1980s.

Tuggerah Lake is also ideal for anglers. Blackfish, whiting, mullet, snapper, bream, flounder, tailor, flathead, jewfish, tarwhine and crabs can all be caught from the foreshores. Prawns are usually plentiful in mid-summer and can be snared at night with a lamp and net by wading into the shallows. Lake Budgewoi is particularly good for bream.

The first Europeans to discover the lakes were a search party looking for some shipwrecked fisherman who landed on the coast in 1796. With the construction of the Sydney-Newcastle railway in the 1880s and a new emphasis on health and leisure in the culture urbanites began to travel by boat, train and horse-drawn vehicle to the fishing, bathing and walking opportunities afforded by the lakes and it was in the wake of the railway that Toukley emerged.