Archive for February, 2009


A series of four glass etched panels that once were in the Kiama Grand Hotel since the 1940s have been donated to the museum recently by Eric Spinder, and may end up as part of our windows into our entrance foyer (backlit ideally). Thanks to Eric (whose brother has an amazing water farm in Tasmania called Grim Water (http://www.capegrim.com.au/)

It is the seasons for donations as we recently received a picture of Mrs Samuel Charles, (nee Sarah Ann, daughter of James Mackay Gray of Gerringong) which will go well with the gravestone of hers we have ( if we can figure out what to do with it) and her eyeglasses, (incorrect, see comment below, actually Mrs Fraser, married to one of the Pilots) and a old panorama of the Pilot’s Cottage, kindly lent for reproduction by Tony Stewart ( who is part of the Holtz family of Kiama) and rumours of an oil painting of early Kiama is about to be donated. Also we had a recent visit by Leo Cady,


who knows many great stories of old Kiama


and much about orchids.


Our local magpies, as they shelter from a storm on our steps, certainly seemed to be impressed, though they refused to be interviewed.


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This is the Kiama St Joseph’s Covent just before its demolition. While very little of the original building was left, and new classes will be built on the site, it is sad to think the site was occupied as a convent fo more than a hundred years, after the nuns moved into Kiama formjamberoo before 1900. (By the way, the original church St Peters, sat on this site, and when demolished, the rubble was put in as fill in the back playgorund overlooking Surf  Beach)

While it is sad this building is sitting around vacant there are many others being used for nothing such as Burroul House on the Kiama Hospital site, and the Police Sergeant’s residence, next to the Post Office, which would be a great shame if they followed suit, and instead should be restored as commercial properties in great locations.

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The opening of the Pavillion later this year by Kiama Mayor Sandra McCarthy will mark an important milestone in the 150th year of Kiama Council.

Kiama has its first Town Hall!

There have been about eight attempts to get a town hall in the past, with the OddFellows Hall ( on the current site of Kiama Leagues club, but the original cellars of bluestone, where meetings of the Oddfellows and other private welfare mutual societies met, in ceremonies reminiscent of the Freemasons)still exist,  and the Antrim Cinema on Surf Beach placed the community role for dances and events, and even ice skating rinks! Before this the much smaller Court house played this role on many occasions


Of course it is based on the pre-1938 Kiama Pavillion (without the Governor’s Box) which burned down that year.


If only we can get a new Kiama History book to replace Bailey’s Blue Haven and have a decent heritage tourism program!

(2010 Update, a new book by Michelle Hoctor should be launched sometime this year)

It was finished in early January 2009 in time for the Kiama show by Jones Nicholson Consulting.

and offically opened by NSW Governor Marie Bashir in August, 2009.
The Kiama Pavilion in full swing at the Kiama Show 2010.

It also gets used for conferences and youth concerts such as this one with the Polariod People

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The wreck of the S.S. (Steam Ship) Kiama off Terrigal is a popular site for divers.

Photo from

However there have been several Kiamas over the many years.


However, nothing compares to the S.S. Dunmore which hit and sank upto six other vessels in its career, as detailed in Max Gleeson’s books,




Notablely the pinnace of the H.M.S Encounter in 1910 killing 15 of the cadets on board, Australia’s worst naval tragedy until the sinking of the Sydney in World War II.


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