Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Settlers Arms Inn - Shellharbour

While visiting Shellharbour on the south coast of NSW, I came across an historic plaque in the town centre marking the site of "The Settlers Arms" Inn built in Shellharbour by Robert Martin in 1856.

The Inn was a meeting place for many local events most notably being the signing of the petition to form the Municipality of Shellharbour dated 14 January 1859.

The Local Government Petitioners Database of History Services NSW has records of over 47,000 persons who signed one of the 315 petitions or counter petitions during the period 1858 to 1883 relating to the formation of local government municipalities in New South Wales.

For the Municipality of Shellharbour, we have the names of 210 persons who signed the petition.

For further information, on local government petitioners go to:

The Settlers Arms was destroyed by fire on 8 April 1872. The "New Royal Hotel" was built on the site in 1891.

In the Hotel and Liquor Licensees Database, History Services NSW has a complete index of over 52,000 persons who were licensed in the New South Wales liquor industry from 1856 to 1900.

For the Shellharbour area, we have 25 entries.

For further information, on Hotel and Liquor Licensees go to:

Shellharbour Weekend

I enjoyed a great weekend at Shellharbour recently with the gang from Sydney and Canberra, mixing pleasure with a smidgin of history.

Shellharbour, originally known as Peterborough was named because of the shell-like natural features of the local landscape. It was one of the earliest land grants made to D'Arcy Wentworth. After his death in 1827, the estate was divided between five of his children - Robert, Martha

(Reddall), Sophia (Towns), Mary Ann (Addison) and Catherine(Darley). The streets of Shellharbour were named after these families.

Caroline Chisolm, the Emigrants' Friend settled some families in the district in 1843.

Some of the group walked out to Bass Point to view the memorial to the sinking of the US tanker, Cities Services Boston. The ship ran aground off this point in the early hours of 16 May 1943 during the Second World War after it was caught in a violent 70 knot gale.

Thirty soldiers from the 6 Machine Gun Battalion AIF, together with members of the local Volunteer Defence Corp, the Police and local fishermen undertook a daring rescue to save the 62 American crewman.

However four AIF soldiers died during the rescue. Two memorials to them have been unveiled, one at Bass Point by Captain S D Matchett (R.A.I.) on 8 September 1968. The other by the Mayor of Shellharbour, Alderman R J Harrison on 5 May 1983, located in Caroline Chisolm Park.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Denistone House - History where you find it!

While visitng a family member in Ryde Hospital, I took time out to explore Denistone House and its history. Denistone House is now an administration block in the grounds of Ryde Hospital in Sydney, New South South Wales.

Denistone House was rebuilt in as an imposing stone residence in 1872 by Richard Rouse Terry, grandson of the wealthy convict Samuel Terry, and brother of Edward Terry the first mayor of Ryde.

The original "Dennistone House", was the property of Dr Thomas Forster and named in memory of his English birthplace. [Thomas Forster was the husband of Gregory Blaxland's daughter, Elizabeth. In 1829, Blaxland transferred Brush Farm Estate to Elizabeth and Dr Forster. In 1830 they expanded the estate by purchasing the Porteous Mount grants of 120 acres on the Denistone ridge].

The house was destroyed by a bushfire in 1855.
In 1872, the land was acquired by Richard Rouse Terry who built the current house.

A plaque funded by the NSW Bicentennial Council reads:

This "Handsome Mansion" was bult in 1872
by Richard Rouse Terry. A "picture of
elegance and comfort of the most unostentatious
kind" it was an integral part of the social life of
early Ryde."

Denistone House was purchased by the New South Wales Government in 1913 for use as a convalescent home for men. It later became the maternity wing of the Ryde District Soldiers' Memorial Hospital which opened in May 1934.