Did You Know?

Did you know that...?

The ‘Peterborough Estate’ was a 13050-acre grant of land to D’Arcy Wentworth?

Irishman, D’Arcy Wentworth was three times accused of highway robbery at the Old Bailey in 1787 and acquitted of all charges. He appeared before the court once again in 1789 on a fourth charge of robbery. The prosecutor of the case informed the judge ‘My Lord, Mr. Wentworth, the prisoner at the Bar, has taken a passage togo in a fleet to Botany Bay and has obtained an appointment in it as Assistant Surgeon and desires to be discharged immediately' (J. J. Auchmuty, 'Wentworth, D'Arcy (1762 - 1827)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press, 1967, pp 579-582).

Wentworth sailed to Australia a free man with the Second Fleet, on board the 'Neptune', a ship on which a third of the convict passengers died. During this voyage, he met convict Catherine Crowley who was transported for stealing cloth. They arrived at Port Jackson in 1790. A son, William Charles, was born probably during the voyage to Norfolk Island, where Wentworth was appointed assistant at the hospital.

D’Arcy was later appointed Superintendent of Convicts on Norfolk Island, beginning a memorable career. On his return to Sydney in 1796, he went on to become Assistant Surgeon of the Colony, Principal Surgeon, Superintendent of Police and one of the founding members of the Bank of New South Wales.

In 1821 Governor Lachlan Macquarie granted D’Arcy Wentworth 1,650 acres of land situated at Shellharbour and 1,500 acres at Dunster Hill and Mt. Wentworth. The 1,650 acres included the site of the private town of ‘Peterborough’ later to be known as Shellharbour Village. 

On his death in 1827, Wentworth was one of the richest men in the Colony. He left his Illawarra Estate, which by extra grants acquired totalled 13,050 acres, in trust to his five children, Martha (Reddall), Sophia (Towns), MaryAnn (Addison/Hollings), Catherine (Bassett/Darley) and his son Robert. 

On the 22nd September 1851, the private town of ‘Peterborough’ was laid out and registered at the Registrar General’s Department Sydney dated 22nd September 1851 from the Deed of Partition of the Will of D’Arcy Wentworth.


(J. J. Auchmuty, 'Wentworth, D'Arcy (1762 - 1827)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press, 1967, pp 579-582).


Mickey and Rosie Johnston were members of the Wodi Wodi tribe?

Mickey Johnston was born at Port Stephens about 1834 and arrived in the Illawarra around 1865. He joined the local tribe in his adult years, eventually becoming a senior figure. Mickey was a good tribal leader and was well liked by all who knew him.

Rosie was born c.1840 and it is believed she was a Wodi Wodi tribal member. She was with Mickey Johnson by the 1860s and supported him in his dealings with the growing European community. Rosie was active within the tribe. 

Like Mickey, Rosie was a communicator and somehow managed to bridge the gap between the two communities. 

The local Wodi Wodi tribe was known to have camped at Bass Point during the summer months. Pioneers Clorinda and Samuel Atchison farmed at Bass Point in the late 1800s, and Clorinda Atchison often spoke to her family of times when Rosie Johnston would bring members of the tribe to her, to dress their sores and wounds. Rosie was also very fond of Clorinda’s baked custards.

The local community recognised Mickey and Rosie’s standing through Mickey’s coronation in 1896 at the Wollongong Show, where he was crowned King, however, no recognition was given to them or the Wodi Wodi tribe in terms of land, hunting ground or water supply.

It was reported that Mickey Johnston, on the occasion of his ‘crowning’ at the Wollongong Show, was asked whether or not he had been invited to attend the coronation of King Edward VII in London. Mickey replied that he had not, however, he was not expecting an invitation, as he had not invited the King to his own coronation.

Mickey died in 1906 from Pneumonia at his Minnamurra camp aged 72, and Rosie died in 1923.


Organ, M 'Illawarra and South Coast Aborigines 1770-1850' Aboriginal Education Unit, University of Wollongong, 1989.


Caroline Chisholm brought settlers to Shellharbour?

Caroline Chisholm ‘The Emigrants Friend’ was renowned for assisting immigrant women and families to settle in Australia. 

On the 6th December 1843, Caroline brought 23 families of some 240 persons to the harbour at Shellharbour where Captain Robert Towns (son-in-law of D’Arcy Wentworth) as part of Dr Lang’s immigration scheme offered some 4000 acres of land on the Peterborough Estate for families to settle on clearing leases. This allowed families to live rent-free for 6 to 7 years on the land on the condition they clear the land of trees for future farming.

Caroline Chisholm’s diary relates, that when the families boarded the ‘Wollongong’ steamer for the voyage to Shellharbour on 6 December 1843, all stayed on deck until the ship cleared the darkening Heads, then settled down to sleep, while the sea sick lined the rails. The party awoke to a distant view of the beautiful south coast. Some of the children were sea-sick by the time they landed at Shellharbour, the spot most convenient to the proposed settlement’. ‘Fifty-one Pieces of Wedding Cake’-A Biography of Caroline Chisholm - Mary Hoban.

One such family, Matthew Dorrough his wife Martha and their children came with Caroline Chisholm and farmed the area known today as Shell Cove. The family spent their first night under the stars, with the children huddled up under the roots of a large fig tree at the edge of the beach. Next morning they were picked up by bullock dray and transported to the site of their proposed farm. Matthew’s house was adjacent to the beach and he was delegated the job of retaining and issuing the stores to the other settlers on the Estate. He was an experienced farmer and their crops were good, and with the help of his eldest children and Martha, the family prospered.

By 1857, many of the Immigrants had secured or leased homes and properties. The settlers turned mainly to dairy farming. By 1861 the population had grown to 1,415 and land began to open up throughout the whole of the new Municipality of Shellharbour.


Hoban, MC 'Fifty One Pieces of Wedding Cake: A Biography of Caroline Chisholm, Lowden, 1973.


Dunmore began as George Laurence Fuller’s Estate?

George Laurence Fuller arrived in Australia aged 7 years. He had sailed from Ireland in 1839 with his father William, mother Ann, and six brothers and sisters. During the voyage typhus fever broke out among the passengers and Mr William Fuller died just thirteen days before reaching Sydney. Ann gave birth to a son who also died on the voyage. Two-year-old Charlotte died in quarantine in Sydney.

Ann Fuller opened a store in Corrimal Street, Wollongong, placing her young children in Liverpool and Parramatta Orphanage until she could afford to bring them home. 

On leaving school, George assisted his mother in her shop keeping business. In 1852 he left for the goldfields on a small sailing vessel with a cargo of goods via Port Fairy Victoria, then by bullock team to Ballarat, a venture that established him financially. 

In 1859 George Laurence Fuller married Sarah Miller of Gerringong. George purchased the “Victoria Stores” at Kiama that his brother Thomas and brother-in-law George Waldron had established. 

In 1865, the southern division of the Peterborough Estate of Shellharbour was advertised for sale - 2,560 acres on the Minnamurra River adjoining the Terry’s Meadows Estate. George Fuller bought the property and named his new estate Dunmore after his old family home in Ireland. He built ‘Dunmore House’ of rubble blue metal, locally obtained. 

By 1880 George owned some 9,000 acres of the Peterborough Estate extending from Lake Illawarra to the Minnamurra River and west to Croome Albion Park. By the 1880s he had established a blue metal trade at Bass Point. 

George and Sarah had thirteen children, George Warburton, Robert Miller, Frederick William, Ada Annie, Florence Elizabeth, Alfred Ernest, Sarah Emily, Edith Mary, Charles Laurence, Minnie Cunningham, Colin Dunmore, Archie Douglas, and Bryan Cecil. 

George Warburton Fuller, born 1861 was to become the Hon Sir George Warburton Fuller Premier of New South Wales. Lieutenant Colonel Colin Dunmore Fuller DSO had a distinguished military career. 

George Laurence Fuller is noted for his generosity to Shellharbour’s development. He gave 2 acres for a new school in 1883 called Minnamurra School built of local basalt at Swamp Road Dunmore. He contributed largely to the Municipality, providing tenant farmers to work the land, expanded the blue metal trade in 1885 providing cottages and work for the quarrymen. He gave land for the Shellharbour General Cemetery in 1894 to replace the old sand cemetery that was washing away at the foreshore and in 1896 gave land and a cash donation to build the Shellharbour School of Arts in Mary Street Shellharbour. He also established a racecourse on cleared land at Albion Park Rail between the railway line and Macquarie Rivulet. 

George Laurence Fuller died in 1917, and is buried in the Presbyterian section of Bombo Cemetery, Kiama, leaving an influential and famous family.


Bayley, WA, 'Green Meadows', Shellharbour Municipal Council, 1959.


Albion Park was originally called Terry’s Meadows?

Samuel Terry was a labourer at Manchester, England, when he was convicted of the theft of 400 pairs of stockings and sentenced to transportation to Australia for seven years in 1800. Terry worked under the direction of the Reverend Samuel Marsden at Parramatta where he worked on the building of the Female Factory and Gaol and was flogged several times for neglect of duty. 

In 1810, he married Rosetta Marsh, who had arrived as a free settler in 1799 on board the Hillsborough. Terry prospered and between 1817 and 1820 he held more than one fifth of the total value of mortgages in the colony; more than the Bank of New South Wales. Terry acquired his wealth through shrewdness and quickly gained the reputation of ‘The Botany Bay Rothschild’. 

On 9 January 1821 Governor Macquarie issued a grant of 2000 acres to Samuel Terry. This grant was to become the Terry’s Meadows Estate, now known as Albion Park. Terry’s Meadows became part of Samuel Terry’s nephew, John Terry Hughes, cattle breeding and dairying estate in the 1840s, which Hughes renamed Albion Park. 

The township of Albion Park grew around the centre of the estate, which had been a meeting spot since the early days of white settlement when the road from Wollongong crossed the timber track from Calderwood and Tongarra on the way to the port at Shellharbour. 

By 1828, Terry had increased his estates to 21580 acres. He became one of the richest men in the colony. In 1834 he suffered a stroke and became paralysed. He died four years later. He left a personal estate of £250,000, an income of over £10,000 a year from Sydney rentals, and an unknown sum of landed property.


Gwyneth M Dow 'Terry, Samuel' (1776?-1838), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University press, 1967 pp 508-509.


Builders Lewis and Tyler built the Ocean Beach Hotel at Shellharbour Village, for Mrs. Henrietta Bush in 1929. 

The Kiama Independent reported on October 4, 1930, ‘New Tourist Hotel - An ornament to Shellharbour and South Coast. Facing the driftway with one of the oldest titles in respect of a grant, stands the beautiful new building that will certainly place Shellharbour on the map in a tourist sense and gain for it appreciation of one of the prettiest spots on the coast. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Cullen will assist Mrs. Bush in the management of her new venture and her endeavour to bring an added attraction into the district’.

Henrietta Bush, her son Harry and daughter Alice ran the new Ocean Beach hotel as partners. 

The hotel could accommodate sixty guests and was built to cater to the tourist trade. The rooms were described as both artistic and modern, while the tiled and marble bathrooms had hot and cold reticulated water with the latest in showers and fittings. The stained glass windows of the dining room opened to a tiled verandah complete with afternoon tea tables decorated in gold and black. Many alterations have since been made to the hotel.

The article notes an old and wonderfully constructed cellar located under the hotel that for some seventy years back served the trading needs of the little harbour. This old cellar could date back to the 1850s when William Carter, agent for the steamer Illawarra, held goods in store for shipping to Sydney.

An anchor salvaged from the wreck of the ship Rangoon at Stack Island Minnamurra was placed at the car park of the Ocean Beach Hotel, once the site owned by Captain William Wilson, who helped in the salvage and rescue of the Rangoon and crew.


Bayley, WA, 'Green Meadows', Shellharbour Municipal Council, 1959.


The Suburb Tullimbar was named after an Aboriginal Warrior?

Tullimbar was a powerful leader of the Aboriginal group who camped on the land surrounding the Macquarie Rivulet to the foot of the Macquarie Pass. 

He reportedly carried many scars due to fights over the years. Tullimbar became blind in his old age and in order to ensure his safety during the night, his tribe tied him to a stake secured in the ground. 

One cold night Tullimbar untied himself and sadly rolled into the campfire. He was burnt severely and later died. 

Tullimbar was buried in a secret location along the banks of the Macquarie Rivulet.


Bayley, WA, 'Green Meadows', Shellharbour Municipal Council, 1959.