Monday, 26 October 2015

Sand Dunes

Some areas around Lake Illawarra contained sand hills that were in places up to sixty and seventy feet high. The sand hills would change every month with the winds.

Children used to sand sledge down the hills at the entrance of the lake. Sand sledges were about five feet wide with a little footrest. The front of the ski was bent up and a small seat was placed on the back.

If children couldn't afford a wooden sledge they would use whatever material was available; cardboard or off cuts of masonite from building projects.

Holiday makers would come to the lake for fishing and prawning and to wander the beautiful sand hills.

During windy months sand hills would move dramatically creating new hills and valleys.  The sand could be a nuisance as well. Some roads were blocked off at times due to the movement of the sand hills. Shopkeepers were constantly sweeping sand out of their stores.

Large amounts of the sand were used to build up swamp land at Port Kembla before they built the Tin Plate at the Steelworks. Some of the sand around Lake Illawarra was even shipped to Hawaii.

‘Voices of a Lifetime’, Shellharbour City Libraries, 2009.
Children on the sand hills at Warilla Beach.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.


Monday, 19 October 2015


The following story is taken from ‘Albion Park Saga’, written by local Albion Park identity Bert Weston in 1996 and published by the Tongarra Heritage Society.

‘Around about 1910, a rabbit plague extended from the inland areas to the coast of the Municipality of Shellharbour.

Some residents turned to rabbit trapping as a lucrative way of living off the land. There was a big demand and a good price for skins for the manufacture of felt hats and later came the demand for rabbit meat.

This was the golden age of rabbit dealers, among who numbered Sam Charlesworth, 'Pegleg', Charlie Ransome, Paddy O'Neil and The Yank. 

Some of these rabbit dealers also operated as agents for the delivery of mountain dew from illicit stills around Macquarie Pass. Many a swaying cluster of rabbit carcasses hid a demijohn of firewater as it was driven innocently past the police station.

Eventually the local Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory (ICCD) entered the illegal trade, installing a freezer chamber from which the crated underground mutton was railed by the ton to the wharves’.

‘Albion Park Saga’, Bert Weston, The Tongarra Heritage Society Inc, 1996.
Milk carts at The Illawarra Co-operative Central Dairy, Albion Park.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.
Hunting party with wallaby catch at Clover Hill.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.