Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Woodbine

Due to the need for a police presence in Shellharbour Village, a site in Mary Street was approved in 1859 for a temporary watch house that was completed in 1861.

A public meeting sought the construction of a basalt building to replace the temporary watch house and in 1877 the new Courthouse and lock-up was built.

The court eventually moved to Albion Park in 1908 and the Mary Street building was purchased by Mr E Thomas in 1938 and converted into a private residence.

The home  was later sold to the Miller Family who named it 'Woodbine' after their former property 'Woodbine Farm' at Croome.

Woodbine c.2000, former Courthouse and Lock-up, Shellharbour Village
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Outhouse, former Courthouse and Lock-up, Shellharbour Village Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries


Woodbine, former Courthouse and Lock-up, Shellharbour Village Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Monday, 10 December 2012

Signal Hill

In the early days of settlement at Shellharbour, when ships came into the harbour, the Dunster family who farmed ‘Signal Hill’ (known locally as ‘Duster's Hill), would send a signal to farmers living in the outlying areas.

Early settlers and farmers relied on the shipping trade to make their living and survive. From as early as 1856 steamers called in at the harbour however the ships were restricted by the tides as the water was not very deep at that time.

Over the years vast improvements were made to the harbour; it was deepened and a jetty added for loading and unloading goods. A storehouse was also built at the end of the jetty to store supplies.

In those early years before the telegraph when communication across Shellharbour was greatly restricted and the population widespread, a means of communicating with the outlying settlements was needed.

Dunster’s Hill is the highest hill in Shellharbour and is visible over almost the entire City, even to this day. High atop this hill, the Dunster family could keep watch for coastal ships calling at the harbour. When ships did arrive, a huge wicker ball was raised into one of the large fig trees atop the hill.

Settlers in the low lying areas of the Macquarie Valley would then set off to the harbour with their produce to be taken to the Sydney markets.


The ball tree and members of the Dunster family at Dunster's Hill c.1923
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Draw tube telescope used at Dunster's Hill to watch for coastal shipsin the 1800s
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Monday, 3 December 2012

Windang Bridge

Residents requested a operational punt at Windang in 1926 but conditions at the Lake Entrance were not suitable.

In 1936 work began building a timber bridge of Lake Illawarra to connect Shellharbour and Wollongong. The bridge was officially opened 2 April 1938 and was 1,050 feet long with a 12 foot clearance at high tide, a 20 foot carriageway and a 5 foot path. The bridge cost £43,600 to construct.

George McIver was the head builder. A crane was used to pick up huge logs and poles (40 foot long with a big concrete block about 4-5 feet high and 3 feet wide), and lift them into the air about 30 feet. The logs were then released and a pile driver hit the pole into the water, to make the footings.

The bridge builders lived in canvas tents painted with a little lime and cement while they were constructing the bridge.

The townspeople held a party when the bridge was finally finished and everyone walked over the bridge. A corroboree was held near the Windang camping area.

On 22 December 1971 a new cement bridge was completed and opened for south side traffic access, and on 22 September 1972 the north side was opened providing a four lane carriageway over Lake Illawarra.

Windang Bridge c.1940
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

Windang Bridge c.1938
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

Windang Bridge c.1938
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.