Shoalhaven History Fair
26 - 27 June 2015
Friday & Saturday
Nowra School of Arts
Berry St Nowra



Shoalhaven Map



Latest News

Potted History of Berry

Local History Gallery
Jervis Bay

Shouthern Shoalhaven
Place Names


Contact Us

Shoalhaven History Fair

 Shoalhaven History Fair












Shoalhaven History Fair
26 - 27 June 2015
Friday & Saturday
Nowra School of Arts
Berry St Nowra

Shoalhaven History Fair

The Shoalhaven on the New South Wales South Coast is still one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of Australia's coastline. From Berry to North Durras, the ever-changing coastal landscape is a tapestry bathed in shimmering light, rich in natural beauty and truly alive with people of inspiration and character.

The Shoalhaven has over a 100 ocean, bay and lakeside beaches, lush rolling pastures, craggy mountain haunts and bush trails. Tourism is one of the Shoalhaven's main industries.

Like most New South Wales wine regions, the Shoalhaven Wine coast has a history of early wine cultivation, which lapsed and is now being rejuvenated. Timber and its uses are ingrained in the history of the Shoalhaven. For many years, the thick forests yielded their red cedar for fine furniture and fittings.

Shoalhaven takes in the coast, the fertile plains, the rugged mountain escarpment and the panoramic views of the eastern seaboard. Within the Shoalhaven there are over 300,000 hectares of National Parks and State Forests, there are rivers, coastal lakes, estuaries and many miles of navigable waterways.

Brief Shoalhaven Timeline

1797: Ship wreck Sailors of the Sydney Cove travel up the cost with aid of the Aboriginal people. The original word 'Shoals Haven' having been coined by explorer George Bass.
1812: Surveyor George Williams Evans travelled through the Huskisson and St Georges Basin area and then heading overland to west of Nowra during his exploration journey of 1812, and Alexander Berry was another visitor in the months before he settled at Coolangatta in 1822.
1821: Nowra was first put into written form as 'Noo-woo-ro' by Charles Throsby, but the accepted spelling soon became 'Nowra'.
1822: The Coolangatta Estate was established by Alexander Berry. One of the first white men to climb Pigeon House was explorer Hamilton Hume.
1828: Surveyor Hoddle named Ulladulla (Boat harbour) because it was thought to sound like the aboriginal name, 'Woolahderrah'. Whilst Surveyor, Thomas Florance named Burrill Lake. Cedar getters were the first European arrivals in the Milton Ulladulla area, and Rev. Thomas Kendall settled on land to the north of Milton.
1830s: Shoalhaven Heads was known as Jerry Bailey, although the origin of the name is unknown it is said to be that of a sailor who lost his life when his ship ran aground whilst navigating the shallow river mouth.
Land was selected and farmed on Currambene Creek in the early 1830s
1835: Old Erowal Bay name comes from the property "Errowel" granted to James Lamb
1840s: Ship building began at Ulladulla harbour and took place in the district for about a century, including a busy time during World War II.
1840: Present-day Huskisson was surveyed in late 1840, but was not settled until 1868. South Huskisson was granted a post office which opened in 1843, even though mail came only once a week. The Ireland family were the first white settlers at Burrill Lake
1842: Post office was established at Ulladulla
1850s: The first white settlement occurred at Wandandian when the Walsh and Kerwick families took up land on the Wandandian Creek, settlement was made at Jerrawangala about 7-km further south, by Andrew McKenzie, John Higgins and George Knight.
1850: Presbyterian denominational school established at Numbaa.
1852: Although Nowra was declared a Government township in 1852 and some town lots were sold in 1855, Nowra was slow to go ahead. It took the devastating flood of 1870 to give impetus to Nowra in preference to Terara
1853: First land sales of Nowra land.
1854: A tannery established on the creek north of Ulladulla, it functioned until it was destroyed in a 1931 bushfire.
1859: The first pier was built at Ulladulla in 1859, and it was replaced by a stone pier six years later. In 1871 an iron lighthouse was set in the end of the pier, and it was moved to Warden Head in 1889. Transport by sea continued until the end of World War II.
1860s: From the 1860s, Huskisson was a favoured place for shipping, and the shipbuilding industry started to flourish, using local spotted gum for sailing vessels, and pine for steamers. When George Dent arrived in 1861, he brought sawyers and shipwrights, who built an array of vessels. Other shipbuilders followed, with the mouth of Currambene Creek being the centre of their activities.
1860: John Smith is credited with being the first settler in the township and he set about populating it himself for when Nowra boasted a population of about 40 in 1860, ten of them were his children. Henry Moss who arrived in 1851, championed Nowra's cause. Being involved in all moves for local government, he was a fitting choice in 1872 as the first Mayor of Nowra Municipal Council. John Booth purchased 80 acres of land from the first settler Joseph Whatman, and he subdivided the property into the present township of Milton. George Knight provided the first postal services from his home in Milton, and a post office was built in 1880.
1861: Ulladulla State School was built in 1861, the original wooden structure being replaced in 1878 with a stone building and a headmaster's residence which are still in use today.
1862: A cemetery established south of Ulladulla in 1862 was in use until 1891, and some graves can still be seen from the footpath beside the Princes Highway, opposite Hollywood Avenue.
1868: Bomaderry was first served by the Municipality of Broughton Creek and Bomaderry, established in 1868. It was amalgamated into the Berry Municipal Council in 1891, and ultimately became part of the Shire (now City) of Shoalhaven in 1948.
1874: Shoalhaven Agricultural Association established
1875: Nowra General Cemetery was opened.
1877: Milton State School opened in 1877, while St. Mary's Catholic School functioned from 1912 until 1927, and reopened in 1951.
1880s: It was almost 1880 before a suitable wagon road connected Nowra and Milton. This followed settlement moving from the Shoalhaven flats to outer areas, and more people pushed into the mountain valleys, searching for minerals and timber. The 1880s saw Wandandian with homes on a number of selections, and with coaches travelling the main road south, the newly build Wandandian Hotel became a stopping place.
1881: Bridge across Burrill Lake was built
1885: A wide range of sports are played right across the Shoalhaven over the years, and the English cricket XI played at Nowra in 1885.
1887: Nowra School of Arts formed in 1877, was responsible for many of the early social activities, and when the hall was built in 1892, it was used for local visiting entertainments.
1893: Sandridge Cemetery was established at Mollymook Beach
1903: Burrill Lake school which opened in 1898, closed in 1903
1910s: The saw milling industry started in about 1910 around Tomerong and Wandandian, and by the 1930s many local people were involved, some with bullock teams and others as sleeper cutters. While saw milling equipment has been updated and work practices improved, control of bushland has helped Wandandian keep its rural character.
1914 - 1918: World War I.
1920s: From the 1920s, Hugh Percival Kean was behind several moves to develop what is now Sanctuary Point. A few blocks of land were sold, but none were built on, and it was to be 1951 before any significant progress was made. Moving with this development was the Royal Park Country Club which became the present St. Georges Basin Country Club in 1976.
1920: The north side of Burrill Lake, the Cooper Estate was subdivided, and is today the township of Burrill Lake.
1939 - 1945: World War II
1940s: In the latter part of World War II, St. Georges Basin was used by the RAAF for its No. 107 Squadron of flying Kingfisher floatplanes, which had the role of providing anti-submarine patrols over the coastal waters of South-East Australia.
1947: Burrill Primary School in Woodstock Road south west of the lake, operated from 1876 until 1934, and it was demolished in 1947.
1948: Marlin Hotel Ulladulla opened, first Hotel built in NSW after WWII. Seven local government areas amalgamated to form the Shoalhaven Shire. Electricity came in Ulladulla also in 1948.
1949: The St. Georges Basin school had opened in October 1949, with provisional status until it became a public school in July 1956. It was the first building in the area to have electricity connected. Sanctuary Point Public School opened in January 1976.
1952: Vincentia was once part of the town of Huskisson. The area was originally known as "The Old Township" or "South Huskisson". In 1952 it was renamed Vincentia (after the battle of St Vincent) by developer Henry Halloran.
1969: Geographical Names Board decided that the area east of Wool Road and as far north as Cock Crow Creek should be known as Sanctuary Point, despite some suggestions that it should be called Royal Park, the name of the original development.

This is only a brief timeline for the Shoalhaven.