Lake Macquarie History

Carey Bay

Named after William Cary, a director and shareholder of the Excelsior Land, Investment and Building Co and Bank Ltd. Excelsior was a common trade-mark used during the 19th century. Cary was born in England in 1831 and immigrated to the colony in 1854. He founded a successful plastering and building supply business in Sydney and served several terms as an Alderman on Glebe Council, with three terms as Mayor. Cary Streets in Toronto and Leichhardt in Sydney are named after him. Carey Bay is part of what was Reverend Threlkeld's land grant. The first subdivision was held by the Excelsior Co in 1891.

The era of weekenders and holiday living has gone and the area has become closely settled. When the post office was established in 1921 it was given the official spelling of 'Cary Bay', however the "common usage spelling" remained Carey Bay. (Source: NMH 3 April 1965).

The zoo in Carey Bay had its beginnings in the 1940s when Tom Brown, who bought the land to grow tomatoes, decided to extend his aviary. This extension grew to include a collection of Australian fauna and a small museum which exhibited stuffed animals, butterflies and rocks and fossils. His aviary was the centrepiece of the zoo and was given the name Bimbimbie, an Aboriginal word meaning "place of many birds" (Source: "Australian Aboriginal Words" by HM Cooper).

After Mr Brown's death in 1951 Reg and Angela Ward purchased the zoo and in the next few years introduced animals from other parts of the world. All imported animals then had to be quarantined at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney. Even though it was named the Toronto Zoo it was generally referred to as the Carey Bay Zoo. Some of the biggest attractions were Nero the lion and Jimmy the monkey. Retirements from a circus added to the monkey population at the zoo. There was also "Big Boy" the cockatoo, believed to be more than 90 years old. The zoo catered for large picnic parties and day train and bus tours and was built to seat more than 600 people undercover. A regular ferry service brought people from Toronto and the eastern side of the lake.

In 1958 the zoo closed, partly due to long working hours and rising costs. Many of the animals were sold to private zoos, but regulations prevented the selling of most Australian fauna. A caravan park was built on the site of the zoo. It was the first of its kind on the western side of the lake (Source: NMH 12 March 1977).

The place name of Carey Bay was assigned the status of suburb on 31 May 1991, the previous name, Cary Bay, was gazetted in 1973. Council confirmed that they wished to keep signage and name as gazetted in 1991, Carey Bay, for the suburb. (GNB of NSW).

Streets in Carey Bay