Future use of Tomaree Lodge Site

Tomaree Lodge, Port Stephens cottage accommodation

Consultation for Tomaree Lodge closed on Friday 6 January 2023. 

What's this about?

The NSW Government is committed to retaining the Tomaree Lodge site in public hands and is asking the local community to help decide the best use for it in the future.

Tomaree Lodge is located at 4 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay NSW 2315. 

Our commitment is that we retain the site for community and recreational opportunities such as the Tomaree Coastal Walk.

The community consultation process will help decide how Tomaree Lodge site (JPG, 127.2 KB) is best used for the benefit of the community. 


  • We are seeking ideas that will then be weighed and considered against parameters such as community benefit, cultural and heritage considerations.
  • The NSW Government has committed to keeping the site in public hands for community and recreational use only.
  • It cannot be sold, re-developed, used for residential purposes or loaned out to commercial interests.
  • The consultation period will remain open until 6 January 2023. 

Background information

Tomaree Lodge was a former Large Residential Centre (LRC) for people with disabilities. The decision to redevelop all LRCs was made by the NSW Government in 1998, predating the NDIS, and has had bipartisan support. The NSW Government closed the last of the large residential centres as they did not provide residents a quality of life, inclusion or opportunities for social participation available to other citizens.

The site was later subject to a land claim by the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council. In October 2022, the Land and Environment Court of NSW handed down its decision, dismissing the claim and determined the NSW Government will retain the site.

DCJ is working collaboratively with the Department of Planning and Environment and a range of internal and external stakeholders, including Shoal Bay residents, to ensure the success of the consultation process and future planning for this important site.

Latest update

To the community members, groups and stakeholders who provided a submission during the public consultation period,

Thank you for your responses and suggestions for the potential future use of the Tomaree Lodge site at Port Stephens.

We have received valuable input from local residents, community groups and stakeholders as part of the preliminary public consultation process.

The NSW Government acknowledges the strong interest in the future of this important site and reaffirms its commitment to retaining Tomaree Lodge for public and recreational use, in ways that celebrate its heritage significance, cultural importance and protect its unspoilt beauty and environmental value. 

DCJ is now collating and assessing more than 500 survey responses and submissions.

Last updated:

06 Feb 2023

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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