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Darkes Forest is a semi rural area on top of the Illawarra Escarpment. Traditionally the land was used for farming, grazing and shale mining and growth was minimal until the 1880s and 1890s. Coal Mining was established in 1911, with townships growing up around the coalmines. Major features of the area include Boomerang Public Golf Course, Illawarra Golf Course, Glenbernie Apple Shack Farm Shop, Dharawal Nature Reserve and Darkes Forest Riding Ranch.