History of Gerringong & Gerroa
The history of the town of Gerringong in the southern Illawarra dates back to the colonial era.
The area was inhabited by the Tharawal nation for thousands of years. European settlers first arrived there in 1814 for woodcutting, as the area was plentiful with red cedar trees.
Once the cedar trees were deforested, the area became used for dairy farming. Produce was transported to the Gerringong boat harbour for trade.
The first settlers in Gerringong were the Hindmarsh family. In 1827, family patriarch Michael Hindmarsh was granted 640 acres within the region. The Hindmarsh family still reside in Gerringong today, in the Alne Bank Homestead which was built for their ancestors in 1851.
The town of Gerringong was proclaimed in 1854 by NSW Governor John Brisbane. In 1872, several buildings within the village were destroyed by fire and then promptly rebuilt. The South Coast railway line was extended to Gerringong in 1893, which resulting in an end of shipping from the town.
Today, Gerringong is a popular destination for visitors from Sydney and Canberra due to its relaxed atmosphere, scenic locations and popular beaches for surfing. Landmarks in the town include the Alne Bank Homestead, the former boat harbour, and Werri Beach
The town of Gerroa, located south of Gerringong, is the Illawarra region’s most southerly point. It features a population of just 600, that occasionally grows during holiday periods.
The village of Gerroa was originally an outpost for various religious orders.
The area was inhabited by members of the Wodi Wodi clan of the Indigenous Tharawal nation for 20,000 years. The first Europeans to land in Gerroa were likely survivors of the shipwreck the Sydney Cove, who passed through the area in 1797.
Settlers began to arrive in the area in around 1814 for woodcutting, many of which were convicts out on parole.
Gerroa is home to the famous Seven Mile Beach. In 1929, Wizard Smith made the Australian record for car speed, at Seven Mile Beach, recording 100mph.
In 1933, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith undertook his first commercial flight, from Seven Mile Beach to New Zealand, in his aircraft the Southern Cross. It took him 12hrs to reach New Plymouth Airport. A plaque remains at the site today commemorating the historic flight.
History of Berry
The region that encompasses the town of Berry was originally inhabitied by the Wodi Wodi people of the Tharawal nation, and was known as ‘Boongaree’.
Initial European contact first took place in the 1810s when Governor Surveyor George Evans ventured into the area and reported it as an ideal future settlement, due to its abundance of red cedar trees. Cedar tree cutting commenced soon after, and the wood was transported to Sydney.
In 1822, Alexander Berry and Edward Wollstonecraft arrived in the region, and secured land grants around the Shoalhaven River, which included the site of the future town of Berry.
The locality was originally known as ‘Broughton’s Creek’, as a creek ran through it. Alexander Berry first camped at Broughton’s Creek in 1825, along with seven free woodcutters. He established the Coolongatta Estate, which he and his family lived on until his death.
The town began to grow incrementally. By 1866, the town had reached 300 people, became a Municipality and encompassed both sides of the creek.
In 1873, Alexander Berry died and his brother David Berry took over. He furtherly grew Broughtons Creek by overseeing the construction of an Agricultural Showground and of several churches.
David Berry passed away in 1889, and the town was renamed to ‘Berry’, in honor of him and his brother, Alexander. Coolangatta Estate was subsequently sold.
Berry continued as an industrial dairy and milling town for the next one hundred years following the deaths of its pioneers. From the 1980s onwards, tourism supplanted industry as the town’s prime source of monetary income
Treat Factory – Today, Berry is home to many different boutique stores. These include the Berry Treat Factory, where over 300 varieties of condiments and confectionaries are produced and sold. The Factory also offers chocolate crafting lessons for children.
Located within the Treat Factory is the Dairy Bar. The Dairy Bar produces award winning gelato on site, and also serves meals that are accompanied by cheeses made on site and treats made at the Treat Factory. At the Dairy Bar, there is an outdoor eatery that backs onto its own pastures, where the producing herds peacefully graze throughout the day.