Archive for July, 2009

As part of the Kiama Council 150th Anniversary Celebration, a statue will be unveiled to the memory of Joseph Weston, founder of the Kiama Independent and  a very active citizen of his era, especially in Freemasonry

Joseph weston freemasonThe Brethern of Lodge Kiama No 35. U.G.L. New South Wales July 5th 1906. Seated second from left is Joseph Weston.

In addition to his many civic duties, he was instrumental, along with D.L. Dymock, in founding the dairy industry in the Kiama district. Until recently the Westons were the oldest family newspaper in Australia until a partnership with the Hannans in 2006, or the paper was in fact sold to them.

Joeph Weston

born 1824 died 1913 founded the “”Kiama Independent”” in 1863. His father also Joseph Weston, was from Belper in Derbyshire, and may have known the  revolutionary George Weightman, who died in Kiama, who came from  Pentrich in Derbyshire. (about five miles from Belper!)

Joseph Weston

It will be at 11 am on Thursday August 11th, outside the Kiama Council Chambers and has been paid for by Kiama Council and the Weston family. There was a fountain to commemorate  Joseph Weston on a similiar spot, near the site of the original newspaper, until it was cleaned up by a truck in the 1950s, I recall.

The Kiama Independent first published on 7 July 1863 and for 20 years was located near the Kiama Railway Station. In August 1883 it moved to Shoalhaven Street, and only in the last year moved into new premises in Manning street.


The Weston family have been a strong supporter of local history for many years, and  have helped the publishing of many local  booklets and books on the subject.  In fact the Kiama Independent, along with the many photos of the Cocks family photographic studio, constitute the major archive of material for Kiama’s story.

The statue is being made by Vivenne Lowe and a link to a biography of her can be found  here


wave%201%20v1and here the statue is!


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 It is good to see in one of the main streets of Kiama, Terralong Street (the other main street is Manning Street) that heritage buildings are still alive and being used, and being refurbished, possibly to spruce them up for Kiama Council’s 150th anniversary celebrations coming up in August , 2009!Scot's Church tower under repair

A photo of the Scot’s Church Tower in Kiama in Terralong Street  in July 2009, now being repaired

Another shot of the work on the Kiama Scots Church

Another shot of the Kiama Scots Church’s repair work, in Terralong Street, with the sun behind!

Kiama Post office with no clock hands

Kiama’s Pink Post Office with no clock hands and is on the corner of Terralong Street and Manning Street. Pink and Grey are our heritage colours.

look, no hands!

Look, no hands! The Kiama Independent’s Emma Spillet did a story on this in the July 22, 2009 editon and includes some clock history


“The post office clock has been a key figure in the town since its erection in 1878.

Installed by Italian man Angelo Tornaghi, the clock is controlled by a pendulum and a double three-legged gravity escarpment, which was the type developed for Westminster’s famous “Big Ben”.

When first built, the four clock faces had white lettering on a black background.

In 1977, the clock faces were altered to feature black lettering on a white background with moulded circles either side of each clock face, encircling the numbers 18 and 78 to the left and right sides respectively.

The clock suffered breakdowns in 1975 and in 1989.

In 1989, the clock was stopped on December 28 at 10.27am, following shock waves from the Newcastle earthquake. ”

Celebrated Kiama artist Chris Anderson with with 40th Moon landing Anniversary painign on Daisy the Cow

No Green Cheese Here, Thanks!

Just up from the Scot’s Church at the Old Kiama Fire Station Community Art gallery, celebrated Kiama Artist Chris Anderson, as part of his solo exhibtion,  http://www.topix.com/au/kiama/2009/07/brurgeoning-kiama-artist-chris-anderson-goes-from-strength-to-strength

 has repainted Daisy the Kiama Cow as a tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing by Apollo 11, that is, on the Moon.

if you look behind Chris, there is the Scot’s Church on the other side of the road, and in the far distance, on the other side of the railway bridge, is the pink Kiama Post Office.

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Shipwrecks are always fascinating but did you know that the blue metal ship the S.S Dunmore rammed and sank up to six ships in its career while moving blue metal from Kiama and Shellharbour to Sydney? Is there any ship in the world that rammed and sunk seven ships ? As I said to a young visitor to the Pilot’s Cottage Museum, if there was a ghost ship off Kiama it would be the S.S. Dunmore, whose fate is unknown (apparently sold into the south China sea and may be still chugging along)!S.S Dunmore loading blue metal at Bass Point


The S.S. Dunmore loading blue metal at the Bass Point jetty.

loading blue metal kiama jetty

Is this the S.S. Dunmore loading at Kiama?
No. It is the Kiama. http://www.dhub.org/object/29783,kiama


From Encyclopedia of Australian Shipwrecks (NEW SOUTH WALES SHIPWRECKS   )



Dunmore. Steam ship, 277 tons. Built 1891. Lbd 130.5 x 25.6 x 10.8 ft.

1.Under Captain Neils Hanson, collided with the steamer Kelloe off Little Bay, NSW, 13 May 1902. The Kelloe sank quickly, the crew of fifteen taken on by the Dunmore. However the Dunmore was found to be taking water so rapidly she was beached in Botany Bay. Apparently both vessels were in sight of each other for some time before the collision, but no attempts were made to alter course until it was too late. [LN],[#MGV]

kelloe-anchorAnchor of the Kelloe
2.On 5 January 1909, under Captain Hanson, ran down a pinnace from HMS Encounter near Woolloomooloo Bay, Port Jackson; fifteen of the sixty-seven occupants of the pinnace lost their lives.
3.On 3 April 1914, collided with SS Kiama at the entrance to Sydney Harbour, and went on shore on Lady Jane Beach. She was later refloated and repaired.
4.On 27 September 1915, ran aground at Bradley’s head, NSW.
5.On 11 February 1918, collided with the tug Champion off Botany Bay; returned to Sydney for repairs.

I am sure it hit another ship as well; My memory suggests something to do with colliding with one of the Sudan Expedition ships leaving Sydney Harbour in 1885. Check out this great post on Rock Lang who built the S.S Dunmore!


Rock Davis: Of all the Brisbane Water shipbuilders, Rock Davis was the most prolific and productive of all. Rock was born at sea in July 1833. He lived on and around water all his life. Rock’s parents had both died by the time he was 13. He is believed to have been Jonathan Piper’s apprentice. Together with his brothers Ben and Thomas, Rock built ‘Star of the North’, a 35-ton ketch. Rock first built vessels at Davistown (so named for the number of Davis’s living there), and then moved to Blackwall, near Woy Woy. His shipyard was built on a part of James Webb’s original 1823 grant Mullbong Farm. The first launching at the new site was the Centurion of 1863.

An unusual feature of the Davis shipyard, which became a major employer of shipwrights and timber getters, was a huge shed, built around 1862 to enable shipwrights to work in all weathers. The ‘Big Shed’, as it was known, was a Brisbane Water landmark, surrounded by various crude smithies, timber stores, sheds etc. Later Rock built an impressive home, which still stands at Blackwall. In total, Rock Davis built 168 ships, including the two early vessels built with his brothers. A bewildering array of ferries, schooners, steamships, cutters and ketches sprang from the Davis shipyard. Local schoolchildren looked forward to the lollies and drinks and fanfare of each new launching. Ship launchings provided great entertainment, following sometimes up to two years of hard toil by shipwrights.


The ‘S.S. Dunmore‘ was the largest ship built by Rock, weighing in at 277g/171n tons.

Rock Davis died on 27th June 1904, shortly before he was to turn 71. Mourners followed the steamship ‘Alabama’ (built in 1889 by Rock) in a flotilla of small boats. Rock’s last journey across water proceeded north along Cockle Creek past Davistown, Empire Bay, and the sites of many small shipyards. His life journey ended at St. Paul’s Church of England, Kincumber. Here he was buried with many other local shipwrights and their descendants. Many members of the Davis family are buried at St. Paul’s, Kincumber, including several descendants of Rock Davis, also called Rock Davis.

The last ship built at the Davis yard at Blackwall was the steam ferry ‘Woollahra’ of 1913.

Here is the story of the Dunmore running over the naval  pinnace


This was Australia’s worst naval disaster until the sinking of the Sydney in World War II, reported in the Sydney Mail


Check out Max Gleeson’s great site as well with video of underwater wrecks on the south coast of New South Wales!


Read about the Dunmore’s most serious competitor for the title of ‘wreckmaker’, the Barrabool

SS Barraboolin 

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