Monday, 23 June 2014

The 'Rangoon'

The Rangoon, one of the largest sailing ships to grace Shellharbour waters was wrecked in heavy seas off Rangoon/ Stack Island 22 March 1870.  She was built in 1853, 114 feet long.
Stormy seas and poor visibility confused the ships Captain who thought the entrance to Minnamurra River was the entrance to Kiama Harbour. Tragically the Rangoon sailed straight into Stack (Rangoon) Island and became stuck fast between two large rocks.

Captain Samuel Charles, the owner of a nearby Minnamurra property raised the alarm and all crew were rescued safety along with all their personal belongings. 
‘On Tuesday morning last, about ten o’clock….authentic intelligence confirming the report of a wreck at the mount of the Minnamurra was speedily brought to town by Captain Charles.  Early in the morning, that gentleman was preparing to ascertain the casualties of the storm on his estate, bounded by the coast for several miles when a message was brought to him to the effect that a vessel was wrecked on the rock island which divides the entrance to the Minnamurra River. He at once proceeded to the north-easter extremity of his estate, and   beheld at some four or five hundred yards distance the said spectacle of a fine barque, apparently of 300 or 400 tons burden, stranded on the rocks off the centre of the island, to seaward, and seven men ashore, some engaged repairing a boat, the remaining on other occupations.  A signal of distress was hoisted on the summit of the island, about one hundred feet above the level of the sea, but in such a manner that he, an old sailor, feared some life had been lost.  This fear happily proved groundless, for all hands, ten in number, were safe’.  (Kiama Independent  24 March 1870).
Captain Charles secured the service of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company’s boat for the purpose of rescuing the men.  The boat arrived on Captain Charles' bullock-dray, and was launched into the river about three o’clock in the afternoon.  Captain William Wilson of Shellharbour was involved in the rescue of the crew. The Rangoon anchor now lies near the Ocean Beach Hotel at Shellharbour Village on land once owned by Captain Wilson.
The McCabe family home in Shellharbour Village was partly built of the wreckage recovered from the Rangoon shipwreck.

Stack Island, Minnamurra.
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries.

Anchor of the Rangoon outside the Ocean Beach Hotel at Shellharbour Village.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

The McCabe House at Shellharbour Village.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

The McCabe House at Shellharbour Village.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ollie Wilson's House

This home was first owned by John Russell; a very wealthy man who gave a lot to the township of Albion Park. He was born in Scotland in 1834 and came to Australia with his parents and then five sisters in 1840.

When he was 26 he bought farms at Terry’s Meadows and Johnston’s Meadows (Albion Park) and when his father died he inherited the family estate at Croom. John donated land and money for the showground at Albion Park, churches, the Presbyterian Manse, Albion Park Courthouse and Presbyterian Cemetery. When his sister married George McDonald, he bought her Marshall Mount House, formerly the home of Henry and Sarah Osborne.

Before an official courthouse was established at Albion Park, John allowed a room in this house to be used as a Court of Petty Sessions.

This home as well as a blacksmiths shop that once stood next door to the Harris’ Garage on Tongarra Road at Albion Park was leased in the early 1900’s by Oliver Wilson, a local smithy.

Ollie Wilson operated the blacksmiths business for many years at Albion Park and members of the Wilson family who continued to live in the home told of digging up bits of metal in the backyard every time they dig a whole to put a plant in the garden.

Ollie Wilson's home at Albion Park c.1910
Tongarra Museum collection.

The house in 1985.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

The house at it looks today.
Tongarra Museum collection.