Archive for November, 2010

On Saturday 20th November, 2010, a new plaque commenorating the ‘Four Orphans’ was unveiled in Hindmarsh Park, Kiama, explaining the provenance of the name.

It celebrates the central role that the Hindmarsh family made in establishing Kiama, as well as the strong civic role that family had made in all facets of Kiama over the next four generations.

The Hindmarsh family got their land grant at Gerringong in 1822, and build Alne Bank in 1855 which has been lived in by 10 generations of Hindmarshes to this day. It is my understanding an earlier ‘Alne Bank’ cottage was built nearby and may still exist on the Chittick farm. If it does I will add a photo.

Michael Hindmarsh had 14 children and the extended family played many roles in Kiama’s life. One of the first structures in Kiama was the Hindmarsh general store, which was supplied by Hindmarsh ships, and the first PostmasIer was Michael’s brother George. The sister Hannah ran a school. In addition later generations served on council, and Nesbit Hindmarsh had the Kiama Motors, and lived in ‘Rosebank’ a Hardy Wislon designed home sadly knocked down.

Here is Dr Michael (the Third) Hindmarsh (with blue folder) of Alne Bank who organised the event with the Kiama Mayor Sandra McCarthy and Deputy Mayor Ben van der Wijngaart, who all spoke to a crowd of the extended Hindmarsh family and the Kiama local history community of over 100. Councillor Monique Dare-Ward, of Jamberoo, who is descended from an old Kiama family herself, the Alexanders, also spoke about Hannah Hindmarsh, but is not in this photo.

Here the plaque is being unveiled by the Mayor and other councillors, including Ben van der Wijngaart and Monique Dare-Ward, and various members of the Hindmarsh family.

Here is Local Historian Fran Whalan talking about Cecilia Rutter, who married into the Hindmarsh family and her sisters married the other prominent landholders of the area, Kendalls and Chapmans. Fran did her local history degree on the Rutter sisters as her main research project.

Here is a copy of the letter which only surfaced on the day, which confirmed that the name change from Central Park to Hindmarsh Park was official by Kiama Council, though I note the letter actually says ‘part of’ Central Park and not the whole park! Well picked up by the Mayor Sandra McCarthy!

Here is the plaque itself.

If you can’t find the plaque in the Park, leave a comment and I will supply a series of three clues, each more cryptic than the last to pinpoint its location.
Here is the Kiama Independent article on the day.

Reading the Hindmarsh family history, most of the Hindmarshes (including Michael Hindmarsh of Alne Bank) came from around Alnwick, in Northumberland, and since the two words seem Danish, I suspect they trace back to a a whole village, which had its name changed by the Norman COnquest.
The most famous Hindmarsh was Sir John Hindmarsh, first Governor of South Australia, http://www.hindmarsh.org.uk/page61.htm
who became famous for his bravery at the age of 13 in a naval battle, and was a lieutenant on the Victory under Nelson. He was the son of John the Gunner of Chatham, Kent and his uncle was George, who was hung for murdering his chief mate on a slaver called the Eolus off the West Coast of Africa and was hung on the 6 Jul 1792. He was described as a pirate in the report of the day and the gibbet was set symbollically by the river and the sea.

I will post more detail on the Kiama history of the Hindmarshes, firmly scuttling any rumours of buried treasure.


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Painter Henry Gritten’s early view of Kiama 1860 from a Robert Hoddle sketch 1830

An early view of Kiama near Black Beach by explorer and surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1830

Kiama’s Pink Post Office, looking from Black Beach.

It is not obvious today, but Kiama’s Black Beach ( named for the black grains of sand) was the site of Kiama’s very earliest history, with very little signs left today.

It is very clear in this photo below that the black colour comes from being wet, and the grains and pebbles are residue of basalt, possibly even from the Kiama Blowhole. None of the other beaches in Kiama having any granules anything like these.

The earliest buildings of Kiama were (except for the lockup where the police station is today) were on the BEACH side of Terralong street, and included the Hindmarsh general store, (roughly where the grand wooden stairs are)

and Kiama’s first council chambers (roughly where the public toliets near the railway bridge are today).

The first church service and public meetings were held under the grand old Fig Tree, sadly destroyed by lightning in the 1960s.

This early photo gives a sense of its size and importance.

The first landings of boats were made directly onto the beach, and early paintings of Kiama show Black Beach was the primary focus of the early township. Not so today!

Very few pieces of architecture in Kiama predate 1850. This bollard, ( one of two on the School Flat side of Black Beach) was part of the anchor chain system running across Kiama Harbour, before Robertson basin was dug out.
This is a shot of the same bollard from the other side of Kiama Harbour.

One interesting feature is the S.S. Bombo memorial plaque, under another Fig tree, roughly central to Black Beach.

22 sailors drowned, many well-known in the Kiama area.

Here is a shot of the seawall at Black Beach

as you can see in this earlier picture, the sea was eating away at the park, and even washed up to Terralong St. I recall it was built in the 1930s, but I will confirm the date.

I will add further detail on Kiama’s Black Beach’s Hidden Early History soon.

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