Thursday, 24 April 2014

Remembering our Anzacs

In this post we remember some of our local Anzacs. Please join Warilla RSL Sub Branch tomorrow for the Dawn Service at Caroline Chisholm Park, Shellharbour Village.


Keith Wickham Allen
Keith Wickham Allen was the grandson of Walter Allen and Charlotte Dunster of Shellharbour.

Walter Allen established a general store and residence in Shellharbour Village in 1868. He operated the post office adjacent to the store until his death in 1876. Mrs. Charlotte Allen and members of the family continued the business for many years as Allen Bros. Clothing and other goods were often ordered by catalogue through the Post Office, and arrived by boat, train or mail.

The following article details Keith’s time at war. it is taken from the Goulburn Evening Penny Post 21 January 1919. Tongarra Museum has in its collection a wonderful photo album from the Allen family of Shellharbour. The following photos of Keith are from that album.


Augustus Milton East
Augustus (Gus) Milton East was born in 1893, the son of Alfred and Katie East of Shellharbour. During WWI he joined the 18th Battalion AIF to serve overseas. He was killed in action in France on the 19th May 1918 aged 25yrs.

Tongarra Museum holds a collection of significant items relating to Gus; the legacy he left behind includes war diaries, letters, mementos from overseas and a souvenir ‘wartime’ scarf bought for his sister Marjorie. These precious objects describe Augustus’ experience at war and the way in which his family dealt with his death.

What is particularly of note is the concern from Augustus for his family in Australia while he was fighting at war. His thoughts were always with his family and home, even as he was enduring the horrors of war. One of the letters Gus wrote was to the James girls of Dunmore.

These items were treasured by his family after his death and are now treasured by the museum and local community. They were donated to the museum by Gus’ niece.



The James Girls
Eva, Miriam and Beatrice James were Red Cross nurses during World War One. They were the daughters of Thomas and Rachel James who lived at Rosemont farm, Dunmore. Their grandfather, William James, was one of Shellharbour’s first European settlers, and the James family was known for their kindness and generosity to others.

William, a stonemason, arrived in Australia in the 1850s. He settled in Shellharbour at Dunmore and built his home “Bravella”. He purchased breeding stock from local farmer Andrew McGill and established the James Family dairy herd. William was an Alderman on the first Shellharbour Municipal Council in 1859 and served as Mayor 1870-1871.


Charles Vivian Ziems
Charles Vivian Ziems was a storekeeper at Albion Park and later Kiama. The Ziems family are well known in the Illawarra and have contributed greatly to the local community over many generations.

During his early life Mr Charles Vivian Ziems was a member of the Illawarra Lancers and held rank of Lieutenant. As a private he embarked from Sydney on board the RMS Morea in 1917 as part of the Camel Corps Reinforcements. He was 25 years old. He was fortunate to survive the war and returned to Australia July 1919 as sergeant.

His obituary in the Kiama Independent 22 August 1972 said of Mr Ziems -

Mr Ziems was born at Albion Park and was the son of the late Mr and Mrs Henry Charles and Sophia Ziems (nee Fryer). His father conducted a general store at Albion Park for many years and was later assisted by his son.

During his early life Mr Ziems was a member of the Illawarra Lancers and held rank of Lieutenant. In about 1910 he rode with the lancers then based in Kiama, to Canberra for the dedication of the site of one of the Houses of Parliament. The journey took about five days on horseback and the Lancers paraded before the then Prince of Wales, later King George V.

At the outbreak of WWI Mr Ziems was seconded by the Army to train recruits at Menangle. He wanted to fight overseas but Authorities ordered him to train recruits. Mr Ziems then resigned his commission with the Lancers and joined the AIF as a private. He served for three years in the Middle East and returned at the end of the war as a sergeant.

About two years after the war he opened a boot shop at Kiama in premises now included in the Grand Hotel. Later the store developed into a boot and clothing store which still traded under that name in 1975.

Mr Ziems was associated with many organisations in Kiama. He was treasurer of the School of Arts and also treasurer of Kiama RSL. He was a excellent cricketer and in his youth was member fo the Kiama Cricket Club. He was also a good golfer and member of the Kiama Golf Club when it re-established at Minnamurra. Mr Ziems sold tickets at local balls when they were a weekly event in Kiama.

Mr Ziems married late in life but his wife Edith died less than two years after they were married, about 20 years ago. He is survived by brothers Selwyn of Leura and Alan of Kiama. Ziems store was closed on the day of the funeral as a mark of respect.


Colonel Colin Dunmore Fuller
Colin Dunmore Fuller was born at Dunmore House in 1882, the eleventh child of George Laurence and Sarah Fuller. He attended school in Sydney at Shore College and Sydney Grammar School, eventually returning to Dunmore to help run his father’s estate.

Colin enlisted 21 July 1905 as Second Lieutenant 1st Australian Light Horse Royal NSW Lancers and was promoted to Captain in 1908. At the outbreak of World War One Captain Fuller was promoted to Major and was second in command of the 6th Light Horse 1st A.I.F. going ashore at Gallipoli in 1915. Colin was promoted to Lt. Col. and given full command of the regiment to 1918; he was wounded and spent some time in Cairo hospital before rejoining them.

Colonel Fuller was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O) and at the end of the war he returned to Dunmore House and the family home. Through his suggestion, a memorial arch was erected in Kiama and officially dedicated 25 August 1925 by his eldest brother, George Warburton Fuller, then Premier of NSW.

Colin became, as his father before him, one of the leading figures in the Shellharbour community and was known throughout the district (especially in later years) as the ‘Old Colonel’. Like his father, Colin was very generous with money and anxious to help those around him. After a long battle with lung cancer, he died on 19 of September 1953.



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mrs Hurry

Sarah Denniss was a local Albion Park midwife. She married Lionel Hurry and they had one daughter Albertina. The Hurry family lived in a small home Vine Cottage at Albion Park

According to local identity Bert Weston, Mrs. Hurry was in looks and dress a replica of Queen Victoria and spent most of her time in her small cottage preparing and plaiting strands of cabbage tree palms into long flat lengths, which she then fashioned and stitched into cabbage tree hats. Many of the old timers in Albion Park wore nothing else.

Mrs. Hurry was a midwife and ‘ready to saddle forth and any time of day or night for an impending birth’. Bert Weston and his family of six brothers and sisters were all ‘introduced squalling to the light of day by Mrs. Hurry and for which dubious service she charged $2 per head.

According to Bert, ‘A family of seven for seven quid was cheap nation building.’

At the age of three, Albertina Hurry was present at the dedication of All Saints Church of England, Albion Park. She worshipped there all her life, and for many years was a Sunday school teacher. On her death, Albertina left her estate to the church. The Hurry Memorial Christian Centre, adjacent to All Saints Church, was built in honour of her generous bequest.
‘Albion Park Saga’, Bert Weston, The Tongarra Heritage Society, 1996

‘Albion Park Saga’, Bert Weston, The Tongarra Heritage Society, 1996.

Lionel, Sarah and Albertina Hurry
Lionel, Sarah and Albertine Hurry c.1920.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.


Lionel, Sarah & Albertina Hurry 1922

Lionel, Sarah and Albertina Hurry 1922.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

'Vine Cottage', Albion Park
Vine Cottage, home of the Hurry family.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.





Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory

The Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory was built near the railway line at Albion Park Rail to assist local farmers in the butter trade. The factory had refrigeration that helped stop the milk from souring, and was built close to the railway line for the fast transportation of milk and butter to the Sydney markets. A railway siding was built on the eastern side of the factory providing easy access for loading trains with milk cans.

The ICCD opened for business 1 September 1899 with CW Wood as Manager, and was officially opened by Mrs Fraser who broke a bottle of milk in celebration on the 27 September 1899. Provisional Directors of the ICCD included John Fraser, MJ Hindmarsh, L Raison, CED Meares, J James, CW Craig, G Couch, and H Graham. The secretary was F Fredericks.

At its height, the factory manufactured 20 tons of butter and pasteurised 140,000 galleons of milk per week. The ICCD was one of the first industries to use electricity by installing the dairy’s own steam driven electricity generator in 1903.

In September 1925 alterations were made to the Butter Department, and other alterations made to the interior to comply with new laws at that time. The Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory building was further upgraded over the years with the addition of an underwater water tank with water pumped from Macquarie rivulet.

The ICCD The factory produced butter continuously for 86 years, firstly under the ICCD brand name of ‘Allowrie’ until 1955, when it was changed to ‘Warrilla’ a derivative of Illawarra.

The factory employed hundreds of locals families through many generations until its closure in 1985 almost 100 years after it first opened. Only eight dairy farms remain in Shellharbour City today and a far cry from the 120 farms that once supplied milk to the factory.

Information – The Tongarra Heritage Society Inc resources.


Milk Carts at the ICCD, 1920s
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries


Alan Dawes and Audrey Jones at the ICCD, 1950
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries


ICCD Factory, c.1950
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

'Yovelton', The Bonsor family home

George Bonsor married Kezia Gillard in 1861 and farmed for many years at Peterborough (Shellharbour) and Croome.

In 1921, their son Edwin, and daughter, Ida Ann (Annie), purchased 189 acres on Lot 6 of the Oak Flats subdivision estate and built ' Yovelton', a lovely weatherboard farmhouse. ‘Yovelton’ was named after their mother's village, Yeovilton, in Somerset, England The silo on the property was built c.1930 to store silage for feeding cattle.

Edwin died in 1947 and Ida ran the farm until 1950, and then leased it until her death in 1968 aged 81 years.

The property was acquired by Shellharbour Council and renovated in 1984. The old home is now surrounded by a housing estate in Wilga Close, Albion Park Rail.

The Bonser Family home
Yovelton c.1890
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

'Yovelton', Albion Park Rail
 Yovelton 1981.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.
'Yovelton', Albion Park Rail
Yovelton 1980.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.