Author Archive

Shipwrecks of Milton-Ulladulla

Early in local European settlement, travel by sea was the quickest and most economical way to transport both passengers and produce to other places. Not until the early 1950s were roads and road vehicles efficient enough to totally replace coastal shipping. Vessels to and from Britain, European and other ports regularly passed along our coastline. Before settlement whalers and sealers ranged as far south as Bass Strait.

May Kiely: ostrich feather curler, singer, ladies’ companion

No Edwardian woman of taste and fashion was complete without an ostrich feather fan, boa, trimmed hat or edged cape. As the demand for ostrich feathers grew, many ostrich farms were established throughout NSW and workers developed the special skills required to dye, dress and curl the feathers. For over 20 years the Milton district had a thriving ostrich feather farm near Pigeon House Mountain, attracting premier feather dresser May Kiely to come and work there in the early 1900s.

John Spurgin – teacher and unrecognised pioneer

John Spurgin, born in Hatfield, Essex in 1815 was probably the first trained teacher to reside and work in the Milton Ulladulla area. He trained at a Model School in Sydney Ulladulla and in 1858 established a private school on the eastern side of Murramarang Street, Ulladulla where the Pricemart Variety Store stands today. The charge per pupil was one shilling a week, with no government assistance.

Holidays by the sea

Tourism had its humble beginnings in the early 1900s when the Butson family first ran a simple camping area on the northern side of Lake Burrill in 1924. As roads slowly extended south of the Shoalhaven River passenger services (mail car) expanded and more adventurous tourists braved the difficult roads.

Geological history: from the mountains to the sea

270 million years ago mud, silt and sand was eroded from mountains along the east coast of the supercontinent, Gondwana, and deposited here in horizontal layers by ocean currents in a shallow sea. Gondwana had drifted down to the Antarctic Circle so, further south, glaciers carried rock debris from the mountains to the coast.  There, icebergs floated north and, as they melted in the shallow waters here, dropped their loads including boulders weighing 10 tonne into the mud and silt.