Thursday, March 19, 2009

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.

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