Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Killalea - Now and Then

Had to share some great photos posted to the Killalea State Park Facebook Page by Killalea decendant Terry Killalea-Hore.

Terry used historic photographs provided to the Park by John Fraser whose family farmed the area for many years.

If you have a spare afternoon head down to Killalea State Park, it's a beautiful spot with some great history.

The site of the Fraser family farmhouse 'Seaview'. John Fraser planted a Moreton Bay fig tree to mark the spot in 2013.
Photographs - John Fraser & Terry Killalea-Hore.

The feeding shed at 'Seaview' Killalea an the foundations that remain today.
Photographs - John Fraser & Terry Killalea-Hore.
Dairy buildings at 'Seaview' Killalea and the view today.
Photographs - John Fraser & Terry Killalea-Hore.
Shellharbour Ccouncil Chambers with c.1870 Alderman standing out the front.
Edward Killalea is 3rd from right.
Photographs - Terry Killalea-Hore and Tongarra Museum, Albion Park.
The Farm, now and then.
Photographs -  John Fraser & Terry Killalea-Hore.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tongarra Mine Memories

In 1893 William Brownlee of Tongarra started mining a coal seam on hisproperty.The Albion Park Butter Factory had opened inCalderwood Road and in 1894 William sold his coal to the factory for their machinery operations. William built a cottage of local sandstone for his family which still stands today.
The coal at Tongarra was regarded as being of the best quality and was put on par with Newcastle. William Brownlee was able to sell the coal to operate the machinery at the creamery.
After years of traveling to the mine atop the coal trucks, the miners demanded a bus. WJ Harris who ran a car hire service in town, put ona bus for them in 1945. Claude Harris (WJ Harris’ son) drove the 52 miners every morning from 1945-1960. It was a wild road up to the mine and there wasn’t any room to pass coal trucks coming down. Claude would often have to back the bus all the way down to the bottom of the bank to let the trucks pass. Claude would leave the bus up at the mine and ride a Norton motorbike back down again. He would ride back up to the mine on the bike to pick up the miners again. He would leave his motorbike in one of the mine tunnels overnight. He has fond recollections of the mine -
The Miners
Contract miners were paid by the amount of coal they produced. Miners worked in pairs with a small lamp on their cap to see what they were doing. Coal was dug out with picks and shovelled into wooden skips. A small pony would pull the skip along the rails to ‘The Flat’ where it was attached to a steel cable and pulled to the surface by a winch.
Billy Break
The miners would open the boiler and stick in the Billy to boil the water. When it was boiled they would add tea leaves and then put in back in the boiler to brew.
Blasting the Coal
The coal seam was only 4’6’’ high and the miners could not stand upright. The men would come out of the mine at the end of the day holding their backs. At times, coal was blasted out. Shots were fired into hard sections of the wall by drilling holes, ramming in the powder, hiding around the corner and then firing the shots with the detonator.
Smoking was a little bit common in the mines in those days but it was very illegal. Then there’d be a scare! The management would be waiting for the miners to walk out of the pit and there would be a smoke and matches search.
Snakes were up there everywhere. Bill Thomas used to travel on the bus to the mine and used to feed a pet diamond python in the bathroom every morning. Jack Brownlee used to catch snakes up there - black ones, brown ones and diamond snakes. The men would bring these home on the bus.
‘Tongarra Mine since 1945’ Claude Harris in ‘A Short History of Tongarra Mine’ The Tongarra Heritage Society, 1996

Tongarra Mine Site 1958.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Tongarra Mine Storeroom after a landslide c.1955.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Tongarra Mine Workers in the 1950s.
J Noon, O Timbs, C Dawes.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Louis Mood - Blacksmith

Louis Mood arrived in Australia in 1855 with his seven year old brother Henry, his mother Margaret and his step-father Phillip Deitz. The family left Germany for a new life in Australia when Louis was just five years old.

When he was 24 he married Martha Tomlins at Broughton Village and they went on to have seven children; Margaret, Elizabeth, Louisa, Alice, William, Charles and Ethel.

Louis formed a partnership with his brother Henry and they opened a coach building business at Shellharbour Village which was reported as a ‘flourishing business employing twelve hands’. The brothers built all types of carriages, coaches, wagons, buggies and drays.

With the coming of the railway to Albion Park Rail in 1887, Louis moved his blacksmithing business over to Albion Park Rail where he operated from 1895 until his death in 1920. Moods complex in Tongarra Road was the largest of its type in Albion Park. Workers made slides, sulkies, carts, drays, wagon, and every other manner of vehicle. They also shod draught horses and ponies. All of the upholstering for the vehicles was done on the premises. Seats were made of leather and horse hair was used for the filling. All steel components for the coaches were forged in the anvil.

The factory mployed ten to twelve men who were kept busy repairing ploughs, making new horse shoes, pins for posts and gate hinges. Moods also made branding irons for livestock.

Louis served as an Alderman on Shellharbour Municipal Council and was Mayor from 1898 to 1901.

Louis died in 1920 and his wife Martha shortly after in 1922. Mood Park at Albion Park lies opposite the original site of Moods Blacksmiths Shop and was named in Louis’ honour in 1969.

‘150 Years of Shellharbour’, Dorothy Gillis, The Tongarra Heritage Society Inc, 2009.
LR Mood and Sons Coachbuilding and Wheelwright business at Albion Park, c.1900
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Thomas Timbs' coach made by LR Mood and Sons c.1914
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Darcy Fraser in a buggy built by LR Mood and Sons, c.1917
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Albion Park Show Committee 1903
Henry Fryer, Louis Mood and Mr Darrell
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Tullimbar School

Tullimbar Public School and headmasters residence was built of local Yellow Rock sandstone by Mr. Schadel in 1881 at the top of Tullimbar Lane. 

The school officially opened 31st October 1881 and James Cawdell was the teacher until he retired in 1894. 

In the 1970s a bushfire swept through the Macquarie Valley and the schoolhouse was badly damaged. The headmasters residence is today a private home and the ruins of the schoolhouse next door still stand in the garden.

Tullimbar Headmasters Residence c.1980
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries
Tullimbar School, date unknown.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.
Tullimbar School children 1946.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Ruins of Tullimbar School c.1980
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries

Friday, 2 May 2014


The Norris family who farmed at ‘Mount Wentworth’ on Croome Road at Albion Park from about the 1870’s originally owned the land that ‘Swansea’ was built on.

In the 1920’s David Timbs built ‘Swansea’ and in 1923 the Youll family purchased the home and continued to live there until 1965 when the farm and land was sold to developers. The Youll family were well known farmers in the area for generations and made large contributions to the Junior Farmers Club in Albion Park.

Shellharbour City Council later purchased the land for a sporting oval, and ‘Swansea’ remains in their ownership today. The silos on the opposite side of Croome Road mark the site of the dairy that was once part of the ‘Swansea’ farm.

Swansea, Croome Road, Albion Park 1921.
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries

 Swansea, Croome Road, Albion Park 2003.
Tongarra Museum collection.