Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Boer War Day - Private Samuel Charles Atchison

The Boer War is remembered on Boer War Day on the 26th May.

Clorinda Thomas married Samuel Atchison and they farmed at Bass Point for many years. Their son Samuel Charles Atchison was the only young man in the district to be killed in the Boer War in South Africa in 1899.

Samuel Charles Atchison was born in 1877 at Bass Point; the sixth child of Samuel and Clorinda Atchison. Private Samuel Atchison volunteered to serve with the NSW Infantry Unit in the Boer War where he was killed in action on 20th February 1900, aged 24.

Samuel’s father had died in 1897 and a letter came to Clorinda and the family with heartbreaking news: Mrs C. Atchison from Major General G. A. French, NSW Military Forces 24th February 1900, ‘killed whilst worthily doing his duty in action against The Boers at Arundel, South Africa’.

Shortly after Private Samuel Atchison’s death the Shellharbour community gathered at the Shellharbour School of Arts, initiating steps for a memorial to S.C. Atchison of the Scottish Rifles, Sydney. The marble monument was erected by public subscription on 30 May 1900. It stood on the hillside in Little Park Shellharbour Village until erosion made it necessary to move it to the flatter area in 1957. It was later relocated to Caroline Chisholm Park in Addison Street and incorporated with both the World War memorials and the memorial to the wreck of the Cities Service Boston. 

On 20th February 2000, on the 100th anniversary of his death, a commemoration service was held and a plaque unveiled to his honour at Caroline Chisholm Park, Addison Street Shellharbour. 

Information - Gillis, Dorothy 2009, '150 Years of Shellharbour City Area', Tongarra Heritage Society Inc.

Private Samuel Charles Atchison
Photograph courtesy David O'Meley.

Members of the Tongarra Heritage Society at the memorial to
Private Samuel Charles Atchison, Caroline Chisholm Park, Shellharbour Village. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

70th Anniversary of the Wreck of Cities Service Boston

Thursday 16 May marked the 70th anniversary of the wreck of the Cities Service Boston at Bass Point. A memorial service was held on Sunday 19 May at the wreck site with last surviving member of the rescue crew from the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, Mick Wilkinson attended the ceremony with friends and family.

The United States tanker Cities Service Boston ran aground at Shellharbour in1943. It was it a convoy of ships sailing close to the coast following reports of Japanese subs in the area during WWII.

Despite the very rough seas, soldiers from the 6th Australian Machine Gun Battalion AIF who were camped at Kembla Grange, rescued the entire 62 American crew, with the tragic loss of four Australian rescue soldiers. The men who lost their lives that day were Sgt W F Allen, Pte G W Pitt, Pte R J Snell and Pte B H Symons.

A memorial dedicated to their bravery on the 8th September 1968 stands on the northern side of Bass Point.
The tanker was sold for salvage to several companies, including Port Kembla Steelworks. Copper pipes and brass fittings were the first to be removed. Salvage operations on the wreck took over ten years to complete.

Wreck of the Cities Service Boston 1943
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Wreck of the Cities Service Boston c.1950
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Remains of the propeller from Cities Service Boston 1957
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Deck of the Cities Service Boston during salvage c.1950
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Friday, 3 May 2013

Albion Park Airport & Wings Over Illawarra

Albion Park Airport was built in 1942 by the Civil Construction Corps as a wartime emergency strip to the training of RAAF pilots as part of the defence of the Illawarra.

Part of the land was originally owned by the Johnston family who farmed Marks Villa. The Johnston's bred Australian Illawarra Shorthorn cattle and exhibited successfully at south coast shows for over 30 years.

The Johnston farm was resumed for the construction of the airport in 1942 and the homestead was relocated to an area behind the historic 'Ravensthorpe' property. The Johnston family lost all of their good farming land to the airstrip and as a result almost became bankrupt.

This Sunday 5 May the annual Wings Over Illawarra is on at the airport! The event will showcase a wide range of activities and displays, including an Air Show of aerobatic, historic, modern and military aircraft as well as vintage car and bike displays and a number of static exhibitions and stalls. http://woi.org.au/

Albion Park airport
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries

Albion Park airport
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries

Albion Park airport
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries

Marks Villa the Johnston family farm at Albion Park
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries