Monday, 22 April 2013

1873 Shellharbour Library By Laws

Here's an important piece of local history discovered by the Tongarra Museum; part of the 1873 catalogue of what was the first *free* library in Shellharbour.

By-law 5 is our favourite. My how things have changed!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Croom Tunnel - The Shortest Tunnel in NSW

Croom Tunnel is the shortest railway tunnel in NSW.

The section of the rail line from Albion Park Rail through to Kiama was opened on 9th November, 1887. The rail line followed easier grades and meant that the railway did not pass through the townships of Albion Park and Shellharbour which were the two population centres in the region at that time.

The Croom tunnel is just 132 feet long with an overburden of 20 feet and is regarded as one of the peculiarities of the railway system in NSW.  A platform for loading milk cans was opened just north of the tunnel 24 April 1925.

When the rail line was electrified some years later, engineers lowered the rails, as the tunnel was considered to be of cultural significance.

Croom Tunnel
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Croom Tunnel
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Croom Railway Platform
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Wairanga, Yellow Rock

The first member of the Couch family to come to Shellharbour was James Couch. James was born c.1790 in Suffolk and was transported to Australia for life for sheep stealing in 1827. He arrived per the Phoenix in 1828 and was eventually assigned to work for Mr Jenkins at Berkeley. James and his wife Mary (Wheatley) had ten children; Mary Ann, Elizabeth, Edward, Louisa & George, Eliza, James, William, Susannah, and Emily.

The Couch family over many generations has made a large contribution to the dairying industry in Shellharbour.

George was a successful dairy farmer and race horse breeder. While living in Dunmore, George managed the Fuller estate for George Laurence Fuller and was second chairman of the Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Company.

James Jnr. became a dairy farmer at 'The Meadows' Albion Park. He won first prize at the Sydney Agricultural Show in 1916 with his prize bull 'Laddie'.

Edward Couch was also a prominent dairy farmer in the area. He was on the Board of Directors of the Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Company along with his brother George.

Edward Couch purchased a farm at Yellow Rock from Benjamin Clarke c1893. 'Wairanga' the homestead built on rubble foundations and completed in 1895. The corners were made of sandstone cut and transported by horse-drawn drays from Stockyard Mountain.

'Wairanga' still stands at Yellow Rock today.

Wairanga homestead and buggy shed at Yellow Rock c.2003

Wairanga homestead at Yellow Rock c.2003

Albion Park Show 1911
Albion Park Show 1911. James Couch Jnr. is top right.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

George Couch, Chairman I.C.C.D. 1901-1910

George Couch Chairman Illawarra Cooperative Central Dairy Factory 1901-1910
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries