Bernard Brown: Milton Ulladulla District’s first policeman

Bernard Brown, ancestor of a number of Milton Ulladulla residents, arrived in NSW as a free settler in November, 1848. His diaries, diligently maintained for well over two decades, were treasured by his descendants and later passed on to the Mitchell library. They have been a valuable resource for researching the history of the Shoalhaven District. Being of humble birth and having limited education, his writing, spelling and punctuation make deciphering his diaries a little like reading hieroglyphics.

A ‘hobo’ life in Milton

I was born in 1945 at the Old Milton Hospital from where my parents Leila and Elwyn (‘Tiger’) Anderson took me home to the family property ‘Wickham Hill’, Milton. Mum helped with the milking so as an infant I was put in a play-pen in the engine/wash-up room of the dairy.

The Drurys of Glencoe

By the 1840s, the fertile land closest to the sea had been taken up. It needed a hardy breed to tackle the rugged country shelving from Pigeon House Mountain. Michael Drury hailed from London; his innate resource and Cockney adaptability helped him to pioneer at Glencoe.

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.