Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Signal Hill

In the early days of European settlement at Shellharbour, before the telegraph, when communication across Shellharbour was greatly restricted and the population widespread, a means of communicating with the outlying settlements was needed.

Dunster’s Hill is the highest hill in Shellharbour and is visible over almost all of the City even to this day. The Dunster family farmed high atop this hill and would keep watch for coastal ships calling at the harbour. When ships did arrive, a huge wicker ball was raised into one of the large fig trees atop the hill.

Settlers in the low lying areas of the Macquarie Valley would  then set off to the harbour with their produce to be taken to the Sydney markets.

The harbour  was the only means of transport of goods to and from Sydney. Early settlers and farmers relied  on the shipping trade to make their living and survive. From as early as 1856 steamers called in at the harbour however the ships were restricted by the tides as the water was not very deep at that time.

Over the years vast improvements were made to the harbour; it was deepened and a jetty added for loading and unloading goods. A storehouse was also built at the end of the jetty to store supplies.

The Boat Store and Wilson's Flour Mill at Shellharbour c.1900
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

The Ball Tree and Dunster and Fraser children at The Hill c.1923
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

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