Woolworths was started in Sydney, December 6th, 1924 (85th anniversary coming up soon!)by Percy Christmas, who was born in Kiama and son of the local Bank manager, Robert Christmas, (and grandfather Charles Christmas) and his wife Mary Caroline King

The Kings are a very well known family around Kiama, even today, and include such respectable members such as Alexander King. J.P. (farmer, storekeeper and magistrate)and Moses King (Mary’s grandfather) and her sister Ada King, who married Sir George Fuller who went on to be Premier of NSW and therefore Percy Christmas’ uncle.

Here is the entry for Mary Caroline King.

Her father was Alexander King (Not surprisingly an Ulster Protestant born in Armagh)and her mother Margaret Marks.

Here is the Christmas family tree (well-decorated I am sure)

Percy was the eldest, with two brothers (Raymond and Cecil) and two sisters (Kath and Florence). Percy was born ‘Harold Percival Christmas’ on 5 May 1884 at Kiama, New South Wales. He was educated at educated at Neutral Bay Public School and in 1898-99 at Sydney Church of England Grammar School. His father was Robert Christmas and his mother Mary Caroline King and his grandfather was Charles James Christmas.
Here is the bank (now Westpac Kiama) where his father Robert Chritsmas was manager from 1881 to 1883.
City bank 1874
and here are notes about his tenure!
R Christmas appointed manager 1881

and in 1883
R Christmas dismissed 1883
The Australian Online biography has this to say:

“CHRISTMAS, HAROLD PERCIVAL (1884-1947), retailer, was born on 5 May 1884 at Kiama, New South Wales, eldest son of Robert Christmas, bank clerk and later manager, and his wife Mary Caroline, née King.”

This section is from

“Woolworths opened its first store, the Woolworths Stupendous Bargain Basement, in the old Imperial Arcade in Pitt Street, Sydney, on 5 December 1924. Its nominal capital was just £25,000 and although 15,000 shares were offered to the public, only 11,707 shares were subscribed for by 29 people, including the five founders – Percy Christmas, Stanley Chatterton, Cecil Scott Waine, George Creed and Ernest Williams. One of the foundation investors was Preston Lanchester Gowing, the then chairman of Gowings.”
Here is an article and a picture of the original basement!
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“However, according to Ernest Robert Williams, Percy Christmas dared him to register the name Woolworths instead, which he succeeded in doing after finding out the name was available for use in New South Wales. Accordingly, Woolworths Ltd in Australia has no connection with the F.W. Woolworth Company in the United States.

The new Woolworths store was innovative; it was the first variety store in the world to use cash registers that print receipts for customers.”

Why does Woolworths have the red and white lettering in its logo?
" In 1928 he opened a second branch in Pitt Street, and introduced the distinctive red and white uniform for shop assistants who knew him as 'Father Christmas!' "
Red and white are the colours of Father Christmas!

There is a great history of early Woolworths here
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and also a book called ‘The Woolworths Way’ a great Australian success story 1924-1999
by James Murray also exists.
“The founders of Woolworths Limited were Harold Percival Christmas, Stanley Edward
Chatterton, George William Percival Creed, Ernest Robert Williams and Cecil Scott Waine.
Percy Christmas and Stanley Chatterton had opened a first-floor Frock Salon in the Queen Victoria
Markets (now the Queen Victoria Building) at the corner of Market and George Streets, Sydney.
The business named S.E. Chatterton Ltd was soon successful and making a handsome profit so
Scott Waine, a partner in the chartered accountancy firm of C. Scott Waine & Mitchell, joined
them to attend to the financial side.
By 1924 it was obvious that the premises of S.E. Chatterton were too small and another branch
seemed the solution. Chatterton and Christmas were offered portion of the basement of
Imperial Arcade currently occupied by the newspaper, ‘Smith’s Weekly’ and a billiard saloon.
The floor was on several levels and the atmosphere unsuitable for a retail business however
property was offered for a 41/2 years’ lease at a weekly rental of £42/10/- ($85) equivalent
32¢ per sq. ft. per annum so they decided to lease it despite its unsuitability for Chattertons.”

Here is an account of the first opening of Woolworths Stupendous Bargain Basement!
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"On Friday, 5th December, 1924, Woolworths
Stupendous Bargain Basement opened for
business in Sydney’s Imperial Arcade. The
opening advertisement said: ‘Every city needs
a Woolworths: Sydney has it now. Every man,
woman and child needs a handy place where
good things are cheap.’
At 9am it seemed that every man, woman
and child was waiting for the roll-up wooden
doors of the store to open. Queues at the two
entrances stretched out of the Imperial
Arcade and along Pitt and Castlereagh Street.
Inside all was ready. Staff had been at work
since 6.30 am. Stock was piled high on the
dark wooden counters, held in at the front by
wire netting and separated by wooden
The doors went up and the crowds poured
down the two narrow stairways. Some,
unhappily, went over the banisters.
Ventilation was poor, it was a hot December
day, and very soon customers were fainting
and the lunchroom had to be converted to a
casualty station.
There were bargains galore. Cup, saucer and plate, usually 2/6 (25¢), only 9d (8¢); cut glass
engagement rings 2/- (20¢); on the sixpenny (5¢) counters were scrub brushes, jars of Vaseline,
vegetable shredders and all over Sydney people were carrying straw brooms. They were a special
at 1/- (10¢) – unwrapped."
Harold Percival Christmas’ obituary notice in the Sydney Morning Herald June 20th, 1947.
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On a further ‘Christmas and Kiama’ note there was the well known Jamberoo illustrator Jack Waugh who did a well-known Arnotts ad for the Australian Women’s Weekly that was reproduced a number of times



kiama_bigThis will draw heavily on the book People and Politics in Regional New South Wales’ by Jim Hagan,(http://books.google.com.au/books?id=0KAJDc-AvPMC&pg=PA79&lpg=PA79&dq=Federal+seat+Illawarra&source=bl&ots=U9_GBxtsFS&sig=EV8RRDKYiBmuj_HZ8pmeID3OTDM&hl=en&ei=PwLHSuf1O4LwsQPs5PihBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=Federal%20seat%20Illawarra&f=false) but with some greater depth and focus on NSW state elections in this period only.

Kiama has had many illustrous representatives serving the people of Kiama at local, State and Federal level.
Here is the complete list of elected representatives for Kiama here.
Henry Parkes was the Member for Kiama and later Premier on no less than five different occasions.
Sir Joseph Carruthers was born at Glenburn, Jamberoo in 1857 and went on to be Premier from 1904 to 1907.

Sir George Fuller, of Dunmore House was Premier. in 1921 (for about four hours) and from 1922 to 1925.
Tom Lewis was member for Wollondilly which included Kiama and Premier form 1975 to 1976 (when Robert Askin retired). When Tom Lewis left, this ushered in the modern era of Labor members, with Bill Knott winning in the by-election in 1978.

Since then the seat, for 33 years until 2009, has been held by ALP members, former Shellharbour Mayor Bob Harrison after Bill Knott, and the current Member Matt Brown.

Ealier Members for Kiama of note include Samuel Charles, Harman Tarrant, and Angus Cameron (essentially the anti-Parkes faction).

The first Member for Kiama was Samuel William Gray

who was elected twice (with with 70% in 1859 and unopposed in 1860). He was a son of James Mackay Gray and part of the numerous Gray clan based around Omega Retreat, Gerringong and Kangaroo Valley. A pastoralist and grazier, he also was an Ulster Protestant and born in Armagh. His father along with Henry Osbourne of Marshall Mount ( one of the largest landowners inthe colony) paid to assist migration of many Ulster Protestants (many with Orange and military service) from Killesher and Drumkeeran in County Fermanagh and the parish of Dromore, including the town of Omagh in County Tyrone. (Osbourne was from Armagh, Gray from Fermanagh)
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=yTKFBXfCI1QC&pg=PA464&lpg=PA464&dq=kiama+politics&source=bl&ots=8rEHnb-tKq&sig=JNOgYRELrGpJV1WJcgJ09z8g4Nk&hl=en&ei=91_ISoW7ComEswOIj72iBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8#v=onepage&q=kiama%20politics&f=false The Ulster Protestant connection in local politics would dominate for many years.
His parliamentary career is here (He was also a member for Illawarra and Richmond)and certainly seems an impressive commitee record.
Interestingly his daughter Mabel Gertrude Gray married Vice-Admiral Sir Maurice Swynfen Fitzmaurice who in addition to a silly name had an illustrious career in the British Navy and was appointed Knight Commander, Royal Victorian Order in 1925 and Vice-Admiial in 1926.

Henry Parkes was the next member for Kiama and elected in 1864 and was member for the next five elections until 1871. He had a tumultous time, culminating in the Kiama Ghost Speech, but was much supported by the Protestant Orangemen Lodges of Kiama.

The next Member for Kiama was John Stewart.
He was a veterinary professor from Glasgow and ended up a leader writer for the Illawarra Mercury. He was regarded as irreligious by some Protestants, but seems in his political career to be quite flexible in his views, especially on issues like Public education. He seems to be a good example of the fairly short pendulum swing in Kiama elections between hard line Orange Protestant groups, around people like Gray and Parkes, and the more tolerant, and probably Freemason freethinkers around people like Dr Harman Tarrant and Samuel Charles. He also was mainly based in the Illawarra and part of the fluid politics where Members were only loosely grouped behind leaders such as Parkes and Cowper.

Samuel Charles was the next elected Member for Kiama, in 1874.
He was a figure much more closely identified with the Kiama district and seems a fairly colorful character noted for his opposition to Henry Parkes. His three Irish laborers were charged with trying to shoot ‘Loyal’ Grey of Loyal Valley, a noted Orangemen just after Henry Parke’s infamous ‘Kiama Ghost’ speech and he paid for their defence and evidence shows it was a put-up job. (According to a Charles descendant writing a family history of Samuel Charles). Samuel seems to have been a moderate figure in Kiama Politics. He had the Eureka property which is now Kiama Downs, made his money in shipping gold miners to San Francisco, and his daughter opened the Kiama harbour.

The next Member was Doctor Harman Tarrant, a very senior figure in Freemasonry in NSW as the first Grand Master of the United NSW Freemason Lodge.( there is a story he had to knock Lord Carrington, as he arrived by ship to be NSW Governor up several degrees before he take up his duties!)http://www.uglnsw.freemasonry.org.au/Library/Pillars/POL_May06.pdf
He died in a horse riding accident as did many of our local doctors. When he died he is supposed to have had the largest funeral in Kiama history. Dr Tarrant seems to the last of the ‘anti-Parkes’ members elected and had a brother who was also a doctor and prominent in Kiama affairs.
Hee is his commitee work.
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July3, 1880 Maitland Mercury * from the telegraph so it would have appeared in most newspapers)
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The Sydney Mail January 1st, 1887

After Tarrant was Angus Cameron.

Here is the coverage of his speech on election day, (covered in the Sydney Mail, Jan 8, 1887) where he was elected despite the previous strong running of Bruce Smith. Angus had risen through the ranks of the carpenters union to be Secretary of the NSW Trades and Labour Council, and was supported by Parkes. He was opposed by Bruce Smith a radical political theorist of the libertarian school whose speech was covered in the same newspaper issue and had spoken the day earlier. His meeting was chaired by Samuel Marks.
Here is Bruce Smith’s entire book ‘Liberty and Liberalism’ (460 pages!)
and here!

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Angus Cameron served for two years and duing this period Labor emerged as a political force but did not run in such a rural seat as Kiama.
The next member after Angus Cameron was George Warburton Fuller who was elected in 1889 and served until 1894. (See above)

After George Fuller was Alexander Campbell who served until 1904. Both are identified as ‘Free Traders’.
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/Parlment/Members.nsf/5ffc499ff22ad4ddca256ce7007f7452/878eae40f83fcfe1ca256cbc001eac9d!OpenDocumentHowever Alexander Campbell changed camps and became ‘Independent Protectionist’.

After 1904 Kiama and Shoalhaven were abolished and combined into one as ‘Allowrie’ which stretched from Ulladulla to past Dapto in the north. In time the seat included the steel workers at Port Kembla and the quarry workers at Bombo and attracted the interest of Labor candidates such as CW Craig, a former Mayor and dairy factory director. However Allowrie was held by the Liberal Party (of former Jamberoo boy Joseph Carruthers, who went on to be Premie) until 1917. George Fuller was representing Wollondilly and both he and Morton had the strong support of the local Orange and Freemason lodges. The Protestant vote was very real and even a Protestant Labor Party started up in this period.
Things get a bit complicated with muli-member electorates tried in 1920 and Kiama was included in the very large electorate of Wollondilly (which absorbed the previous seats of Allowrie and Wollongong) http://electoral_district_of_wollondilly.totallyexplained.com/
and three members were returned, Fuller, William Davies and John Cleary ) possibly of the prominent Kiama quarrying Clearys) and Mark Morton was defeated.
This was a system of proportional voting based on the Hare-Clark system and was used for the 1920, 1922 and 1925 NSW State elections. IN 1930 NSW went to compulsory preferential. During this period Fuller was Premier and later Lang. After Fuller resigned his seat in 1928 the perennial Mark Morton
took over and represented the area of Wollondilly (including Kiama ) for the next four terms , from 1928 to 1938. Morton National Park is named after him.

Henry Bate was Member for South Coast from 1927 to 1941 for the United Australia Party ( Menzies) until defeated in 1941.

In 1941 Rupert Beale ran as an Independent for the seat of South Coast (which included Kiama) as the propietor of the New Brighton hotel in Kiama using his infamous shark trailer gimmick (see article on Big Ben the Tiger Shark) http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/members.nsf/1fb6ebed995667c2ca256ea100825164/792d400b96f8b097ca256e200018998e!OpenDocument
and died a year later and his son Jack Beale went onto take the seat for thirty years until 1971 when he lost it to the independent John Hatton.
Jeff Bate, the son of the Member for South Coast Henry Bate, served as Member for Wollondilly (including Kiama) from 1938 to 1950
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/members.nsf/1fb6ebed995667c2ca256ea100825164/a0d67213863250a3ca256e2000149e63!OpenDocumentand was a prominent local Freemason and heavily involved in the local dairy industry. He moved to Federal Politics and represented Kiama in the Federal seat of Marcarthur from 1949 to 1972 when he lost to the ALP's John Kerin (who went on to be the last Federal Treasurer for Keating.)

He was replaced by Blake Pelly, who served as Liberal member for Wollondilly
until replaced by Tom Lewis in 1957 in a by-election.

After Tom Lewis left in 1976 (after being Premier from 1974 to 1976)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Lewis_(Australian_politician)Bill Knott won Wollondilly in 1978 (not in a by-election) as part of the Wranslide election, one of the largest in NSW history (Wran had previously a one seat majority in 1976).
He represented the new seat of Kiama until 1986 when he retired with ill health. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Knott
until he retired ( his son Peter Knott served one term as Federal Member for Gilmore) and Bob Harrison (former Shellharbour Mayor) took over in a by-election until 1999 when the current member Matt Brown replaced him. Kiama has been a Labor seat for 33 years, since Bill Knott. The next NSW state election will be held on 27th March, 2011 with Matt Brown expected to receive a strong challenge from popular Labor Independent Kiama Mayor Sandra McCarthy, the Greens Deputy Mayor Ben van der Wijngaart ( I worked on Ben’s campaign) and the Liberal’s Gareth Ward.
At the 2011 state election, held on 25th March, Gareth Ward was elected with a swing of 12.0 per cent and won the seat with 57.5 per cent of the vote on a two party preferred basis.
Here is NSW Parliament Hansard with Gareth Ward as acting Speaker.
I will post his inaugural speech when it arrives on the NSW Parliament site.

It seems Kiama has had about 11 by-elections in its history!

There is a great wiki article on all the Federal elections hee (check the footer bar for links to all Australian federal elections!)
Federally, Kiama was represented by George Fuller
in 1901 to 1913 until he re-entered State politics and later became Premier.
after this it was George Burns for Labor 1913-1917
(at the height of the conscription debate I imagine) and
Hector Lamond (Labor newspaper publisher) from 1917 to 1922.
After this Illawarra was included in the seat of Werriwa, and was held by ALP's Hubert Lazzarini.
Kiama became part of the Federal seat of Macarthur when it was created in 1949. Bate lost it in 1972 to Kerin, who lost it later to Michael Baume in 1975 (when Whitlam lost) who lost the seat to Colin Hollis in 1980 (Michael Baume later became a Federal Liberal Senator until 1996). Colin Hollis was member for MacArthur until 1984 until it became the seat of Throsby and retired in 2001. In 1984 Kiama was part of Gilmore represented by Nationals John Sharpe until 1993 and in 1993 when Gilmore became more coastal by ALP's Peter Knott, and in 1996 the Liberals Joanna Gash was elected who in 2009 is still the current member for Gilmore (Gilmore and Throsby straddle the north of Kiama, but the next election is likely all of Kiama will be in Gilmore, making it a notionally Labor seat in 2010 and possibly Green preferences crucial to decide the result.) In fact in the election held on 21 August, 2010, Joanna Gash received a swing of 5.1% based on a massive spend by the LIberals (and hard street campaigning by Joanna) but is not expected to stand at the next election.

Other prominent citizens from Kiama include Sir William Cullen NSW Chief Justice and NSW Lieutenant-Governor who was born in Jamberoo in1855. http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080186b.htm
Also during the period of the New Guard, it said that cells existed at Jamberoo and Kiama stockpiling rifles ( codenamed ‘lemonade) with the structures of the Orange Lodges to build on, seems quite likely. Certainly the Kiama Rifle Club was always very busy and numerous!

The Kiama Mayors and councillors from 1859 to 2009 can be found here.
ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 17 13.50
where the Kiama council split into three councils from 1889 to 1954 when they re-combined (the three councills usually had the same town clerk)

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In 1954 until now the mayors of Kiama are here.
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and the councillors since 1954
One of the more colourful (despite his name) was John Black.
The Sydney Mail – 20 Aug 1881
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He was Major of the Kiama Volunteers for many years and died of apolexy while teaching Sunday school. I like the story of how he tried to pull down an extension ot the Tory Hotel (now Kiama Inn), which was opposite the Kiama council chambers of the time, with his own team of horses when the female proprietor came out and threw herself around the central pole, until restrained by the local police sergeant. There is a commitment against over-development!
Here is a record of a speech John Black made at a dinner after the Kiama company beat 1 company of Sydney in a shooting match. Note the sergeant was Henry Havelock Honey.

The Sydney Mail – 23 Aug 1873
The after dinner speech
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The shooting results
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Kiama at War


Sydney, NSW, 1885: infantrymen of the NSW Contingent to the Sudan, after their return to Australia. They are wearing khaki uniform issued for active service, and are equipped with Martini-Henry rifles.

Kiama has had a long history of involvement in Australia’s Wars, starting with Robert Weir, aged 22, a Gerringong resident, who is officially Australia’s first overseas casualty. He died in the Sudan, at SUAKIN, 1 May 1885, of dysentery.

Here is the photo of his burial in Suakin in 1885.
Suakin, Sudan, 1885: grave of Robert Weir, the first Australian to die on active duty in the Sudan.
There is a great article on this war here.

and a great article here on Robert Weir done as part of the Kiama Family History Newsletter Khanterintee November 2006.
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It is sad to think that an obelisk to Robert Weir in Soudak in Sudan, but little in his home town of Kiama ( I believe he has a plaque in the Soldier’s Memorial Tower at the Anglican Christ Church in Kiama)

Of course, Robert Weir was part of a broader tradition of military service in Kiama, starting with a militia ( the Kiama Volunteers). The fact above mentioning he was an Orangeman was no surprise, as Kiama had a number of prominent Orange Lodges, and many Northern Irish Protestants settled in Kiama, and were involved in the Orange movement. I suspect that nearly all members of the Kiama Volunteers were in fact Orangemen!
(Here are the Kiama Volunteers at Drill Square, with Drill Hall, where the Kiama Council Chambers now are)

and later service in the regular NSW Corp with such as Colonel and his sons Major and Captain Honey serving as officers(probably of “E” Company, 2nd Infantry Regiment). All the local rifle clubs (Albion Park, Jamberoo, Gerringong and Kiam were affiliated with this company) Colonel Honey wrote poetry in Kiama under the name ‘Mel’ (Latin for Honey) and his son Captain Honey was lost in the Minnamurra boating tragedy in 1896 on Boxing Day which claimed seven lives. The Honeys are well-known dairy farmers in Kiama at Riversdale, to this day. (Ben Honey was on the show ‘A Farmer Wants a Wife)
Captain Honey and the Kiama Soldiers
Captain Honey and the Kiama members of the NSW Defence Corps.

Kiama also sent soldiers to the Boer War, whose names were added to the Kiama Memorial Arch by the researches of the Kiama and District Historical Society’s Gordon Bell and published in the Kiama Independent in 1999.
and here they are!
Armstrong, Thomas William – Kiama
Atchison, Samuel Charles – Shellharbour
Boles, George Livingstone – Kiama
Brownlee, Fred – Kiama
Brownlee, John H. – Kiama
Brownlee, Thomas James – Kiama
Craig, Charles William Leslie – Kiama
Daley, Arthur Denis – Kiama
Dooley, John Sylvester – Kiama
Felts, David – Kiama
Gray, George – Kiama
Halliwell, Private Robert – Kiama
Johnston, Robert Alexander – Kiama
Keegan, Henry – Kiama
King, Trooper J. – Jamberoo
McClelland, Ernest Edward – Kiama
Prior, William Parker – Kiama
Prott, Leonard Clyde – Kiama. Died in Durban as a result of typhoid contracted during the war.
Smillie, James – Kiama
Smith, Charles William – Kiama
For more infomation go here.
From the Boer war to the First World War, the Kiama Volunteers and the rifle club played a major role in preparing for the defence of Australia, if needed.

Here is an account fo a meeting of the Kiama Rifle club in 1900 in the Town and County Journal.
south-coast-rifle-assn_kendalls-beach 300 range

The first meeting for the year of the South Coast Rifle Association’s Council was held at Kiama on August 15, Major H. H. Honey presiding, and there being also present: Lieutenant Stevensen, Sergeant Bales and G. Knight (Kiama) ; Messrs. G. Lindsay and C. W Prott (Wollongong); and Mr. J. Sharpe (Gerringong). The treasurer’s statement showed a credit balance of £217, which, considering the difficulties surrounding a first prize meeting, is most satisfactory. The membership of the association (915) is a record for a provincial association, and there was also a record number of competitors at the prize meeting. Major Honey was elected chairman for the year, and Lieutenant Stevensen hon. treasurer. The dates for the next prize meeting were fixed for March 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23, 1901. The association decided to place £200 at fixed deposit in the Government Savings Bank. It was resolved to at once apply to the Minister for Defence for the current year’s grant of £250, and to ask him to push on with the resumption of the land for the range. Mr. R. O. Kendall and Miss C. Kendall were granted an honorarium of £5 for allowing the association to proceed with a prize meeting before the land was resumed.”
Charles Willliam Prott was the star shot of the region, and lived at Kiama (becoming eventually the Wollongong Post Master) but was famous as a rifle shot. He told everyone he was Belgian but in fact was German, a fact of some embarrassment during World War I!
Captain Stevenson who commanded the local Kiama contingent ( E Company) was so revered, that when he died n 1909 he had an obelisk to him built in Manning Street, and one of the largest funeral in Kiama’s history.
Captain C. M. Stevenson monument
SMH Feb15 1909

Captain C. M. Stevenson took over E Company frm Major Honey, and ran a store in Kiama, but importantly was a founding Kiama Freemason and very active in his Lodge and District. He had a Masonic funeral and the town, including the quarries, was shut down and more than a thousand people took part in his funeral procession. Makes one wonder if there was tensions between the Orangemen and the Freemasons who were part of the local Kiama militia!
Here is the obelisk ( Somewhat Egyptian looking, appropiately for a Freemson!) today
outside the Kiama Council Chambers
Just before the start of World War I, Captain Colin Dunmore Fuller was Captain of the
28th (Illawarra) Light Horse as part of the Militia and were naturally the core of the Light Horse called up when the First World War started.
(Attatched for training, 1913-14, to 3rd Light Horse Brigade.)


Head-Quarters – Albion Park

Commanding Officer – Captain Colin Dunmore Fuller, Tenure of command from 1 July 1912 to 30 June 1917
Adjutant – Lieutenant JA Raftery, 16 July 1913
Quartermaster –
Medical Officer – Captain KRW George
Lieutenant John Sylvester Dooley, Area Officer Bulli

“A” Squadron –

Albion Park (A Troop and B Troop), and

Robertson (C Troop and D Troop)

Captain P Connolly, 16 January 1913
Lieutenant JD Wood, VD
Second Lieutenant HG Fraser
Second Lieutenant WJ Payne, 2 December 1912
Second Lieutenant F Brownie, 30 April 1913
Second Lieutenant LJ Brooker, 16 October 1913


Colonel Fuller is regarded as “Illawarra Most Famous Soldier’.
It was his suggestion that the Memorial Arch n Hindmarsh Park was built.
“Barely one month after his commission was terminated, suggestions were made proposing a war memorial be built in Kiama; among the first suggestions, it was proposed that the memorial be a drinking fountain at the local surf beach reserve. Thereafter followed some years of debate; in 1924 a memorial wing at the hospital was proposed and eventually, at Colin’s suggestion, the construction of a memorial arch on the corner of Collins and Terralong streets (along with the beautification of the adjoining park) was accepted. The memorial, designed by architect Sir Charles Rosenthal, was officially opened on Anzac Day 1925 by Colin’s eldest brother, George Warburton Fuller, who was at that time Premier of NSW.”
Another famous World War I soldier born at Kiama was
Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price

Also the story of two Kiama boys Sergeant Walter
and Frank Farquharson
of Kiama, both killed, is well known.

Walter was carrying this photo of his father Percy when he died.

It was the army training camps during World War I which were a major feature of the war for Kiama. There were two, one at the Kiama Showground

Armytents at Showground Point during World War I. Kiama Showground Pavilion in background

and above Kendalls Beach, near the Kiama Hospital. The camps was home to the NSW Signalling School, and also the training camps for new recruits who were reinforcements for the 13TH, 30TH AND 45TH Battalions, AIF.


Many marriages occurred here, just before the soldiers left for France, and the Pilot’s Cottage Museum Kiama has a picture of the first Anzac Day service held at the Showground army camp, which I will post here when I find it. And here is is!

Here is another shot of the training camp at the Kiama Showground.
And one of the group shots of the men who were training
Hand coloured group portrait of the 19th Reinforcements to the 13th Battalion, seen at camp in Kiama before embarkation.
Hand coloured group portrait of the 19th Reinforcements to the 13th Battalion, seen at camp in Kiama before embarkation.

And here is 30 Battalion entraining at Kiama Station.
30 batt Kiama August 1915
Here is a World War I tank outside the Kiama Council, possibly as a fundraising or enlistment drive.

c 20army tank manning street
In World War II a radar station, No. 18, was on Saddleback Mountain behind Kiama. The concrete supports for the radar mast can still be seen today!

The Doover at 16th Saddleback

The Doover at Radar 18 Saddleback.

Work bench and main switchboard in the doover
The Workbench and main switchboard in the doover at Saddleback
Mountain, Kiama.

There is a great site here
which talks about Joyce Dunbar getting a signal for the Japanese scout aircraft as part of the mini-sub attack on Sydney Harbour. Joyce told me that there were frequent reports of Japanese submarines (there were four parked off Sydney for two years tasked to sink iron ore carriers into Port Kembla and Newcastle, of which they got nine, and a total of 23 ship overall) and even a report of a Japanese submarine that pulled into our local East’s Beach for water!


Here is the report from that site

Jo Dunbar (nee Lehmann)

Comment: Kiama was one of the early AW installations which was subsequently replaced by a Mk V COL but it retained the old AW aerial. It was the highest air warning set operated by the RAAF being at 1321 feet above sea level. Noel McCormack feels that the main lobe "slid down the hill and stayed close to the water" – good for shipping and low flying aircraft but little else.

It was 19 February 1943. The place 18RS on Saddleback Mountain near Kiama. I was on duty in the dark old doover hut, on the tube gazing at the black screen and pulsating green light.

C.O.L. Mk V transmitter, 18 Radar Direction Finding Station at Mt Saddleback
(Col Mk V Transmitter radar direction finding station at Mt Saddleback)

Nothing but permanent echoes were showing on the screen. The aerial swept round monotonously; the same assorted PE’S came up from the same mountains.

Then I detected a tiny blip not seen before. I called the plot and began tracking it. The blip was so tiny that it kept getting lost in the regular “grass” and than it would show up again. When it was time for me to leave the tube the following operator was unable to locate the mysterious blip. So, I went back “on the tube” and was able to follow a broken course for some time. Fighter sector advised that they had no aircraft in that area and that the plots were too erratic todo anything about them.

Unkind suggestions came back, such as “one should not drink alcohol from the compasses” and other distressing implications. The station was put on alert as the plot showed that an unidentified plane was coming our way. We never actually saw it and that whole thing was forgotten.

Graeme Steinbeck loves a mystery and always wanted to solve the above mystery. Fifty years later, he was reading the Sydney Morning Herald. David Jenkins had written an article about a Japanese Pilot who had made two flights in Australia and never been challenged. The first was over Sydney Harbour before the midget submarine attack in May 1942. The second was on 19 February 1943 when he flew very low right down the NSW coast and then returned to his submarine off the coast.

Susumi Ito said that he flew low between the mountain peaks, so as to remain undetected. He did not go undetected after all. Jo Lehmann plotted him while on duty at 18 Radar Station, Kiama. But Susumi was able to take his photographs and went home.

Today, Susumi Ito is the president of an office equipment and computer firm in Japan. He was interviewed by David Jenkins and the full report of this venture is to be found in his book, Battle surface:- Japan’s submarine War Against Australia, 1942-45.

Kiama is about 100 kms south of Sydney.


Kiama of course had residents serving in Korea, Vietnam and even Iraq and Afganistan today (2009) and I will post details of these as I find them.
There were 19 ships sunk off the coast of New South Wales by Japanese submarines (and one German submarine, the U862)
Many attacks were situated near Montague Island, about 240 kms south of Kiama. There were 54 German and Japanese vessels which entered Australian waters in World war II
The Radar Veterans have a great website here.
check out this comprehensive site on ‘Australia@War’ here!
The 19 ships destroyed off the New South Wales Coast were, chronologically:
Nimbin, 1052 tons, 5.12.1940
Millimul, 287 tons, 26.3.1941
Iron Chieftain, 4700 tons, 3.6.1942
Iron Crown, 3353 tons, 4.6.1942
Guatemala, 5527, 14.6.1942
George S. Livanos, 5482 tons, 20.7.1942
Coast Farmer, 3290 tons, 20.7.1942
William Dawes, 7177 tons, 22.7.42
Dureenbee, 223 tons, 3.8.1942
Kalingo, 2047 tons, 17.1.1943
Iron Knight, 4700 tons, 8.2.1943
Starr King, 7176 tons, 9.2.1943
Recina, 4732 tons, 11.4.1943
Limerick, 8724 tons, 26.4.1943
Lydia M. Childs, 7176 tons, 27.4.1943
Wollongbar, 2240 tons, 28.4.1943
Fingal, 2137 tons, 5.5.1943
Portmar, 5551 tons, 16.6.1943
Robert J. Walker, 7180 tons, 24.12.1944
The ship assigned to search for the Robert j. Walker’s surviviors was the HMAS Kiama! from http://www.navy.gov.au/HMAS_Kiama_%28I%29
“On 21 December 1944 KIAMA arrived in Sydney. On Christmas Day the ship’s company was recalled from leave to go to the assistance of the American ship ROBERT J. WALKER, which had been torpedoed and was sinking off the New South Wales coast. Anti-submarine patrols followed until the close of the year.”
The HMAS Kiama battle flag was presented to the Kiama Sea Scouts (What happened to it?) in 1962 when it was transferred to the NZ navy and later scrapped. The other flag is displayed at the Memorial Tower at the Kiama Anglican Church, and a couple of crest for boats have been donated to Kiama Council and the Pilot’s Cottage museum. There is a HMAS Kiama crest on the Memorial Arch in Hindmarsh Park in Kiama.
The Captain’s boat still exist as part of a steam ship society and was recently for sale for $8000!

P1020011 A poem by Charmian Clift, well-known Australian writer from Kiama (and wife of George Johnston the writer of ‘My Brother Jack) when she was 8 years old, discovered as part of the Kingsford Smith memorial at Gerroa on the south coast of NSW! In the three biographies I have researched all agree that Charmian was first published at the age of 12 in a Sydney newspaper, of which all issues are lost, so this is a significant find! . P1020014 Overlooking Seven Mile Beach at the Kingsford Smith Memorial Park. Mal from the Kiama and District Historical Society has rightly pointed out out that there are in fact TWO poems here, the short ‘Blowhole’, and the much longer and more complex ‘Seagulls’ directly above which seems uncredited for an author and implies that Charmian wrote both! If so, quite an effort for an eight year old! P1020017 The image of her ‘starbaking’ in the rock pools at Bombo or ferociously and gorgeously with her nose in a book at the beach, to me, deserves its own statue , near to where she lived, clift-beach-650<;;;;;;; where the train bridge goes over the lagoon at the southern end of Bombo Beach. This is where Charmian Clift's House is thought to have been. P1020043 There is some doubt as it could be the house opposite! P1020044<;;;;;;; In February 2011 I noticed a new plaque had been added to the park, and here it is! with a closeup of the words Notice it states ‘illustrated and published her own book of poetry at eight’, which is where the poem in the Kiama Independent must have come from!. I recall no such details from the bios I have read of her! Nadia Wheatley’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadia_Wheatley) book (The Life and Myth of Charmian Clift) has a map of Charmian’s World in North Kiama, and here it is! P1020108<;;;;;;; P1020048<;;;;;;; This is the 'bowl' and 'dome' of Charmian's world! And here is a great blog entry on Charmian, especially about Nadia Wheatley's book. http://austlit.blogspot.com/2009/01/very-long-post-about-charmian-clift.html P1020057 And this ocean bath pool, just round the point from Charmian’s house, would have been the ideal place to ‘starbake!’ P1020103 Sadly in many ways the symbol of Charmian as a female Icarus, sun-burnt body and white-hot mind, with a book in her hand on Bombo Beach, seems particularly apt, and sad. icarus Charmian Clift was a well-known Australian writer who idealised her childhood in Kiama in many writings. clift-1968-650<;;;;;;; http://www.abc.net.au/rn/verbatim/stories/2009/2553413.htm Here is a impressive audio interview with Charmian Clift, interspersed with readings from her books by Charmian. Here is her bio online http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A130488b.htm CLIFT, CHARMIAN (1923-1969), writer, was born on 30 August 1923 at Kiama, New South Wales, third and youngest child of Sydney Clift, a fitter and turner from England, and his native-born wife Amy Lila, née Currie. Although Charmian attended Kiama Public and Wollongong High schools, she attributed her education to her parents' love for books, and to the wild beach and little valley that bounded her home. After passing the Intermediate certificate in 1938, she worked at odd jobs around Kiama. Tall, with an athletic build, Clift was growing into the beauty that would become one of her best-known attributes. In May 1941 she won the New South Wales title in Pix magazine's Beach Girl Quest and escaped to Sydney. There she became an usherette at the Minerva Theatre, Kings Cross. Enlisting in the Australian Women's Army Service on 27 April 1943, Clift served with the 15th Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery in Sydney. She was commissioned lieutenant in August 1944 and worked as an orderly officer at Land Headquarters, Melbourne. While editing an army magazine, she began to write and publish short stories. Having transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 11 May 1946, she joined the Argus and met the war correspondent George Henry Johnston. Their employers disapproved of their relationship and three months later both were summarily dismissed. Clift and Johnston left for Sydney and, following his divorce, were married on 7 August 1947 at the courthouse, Manly. They collaborated on the novel, High Valley (1949), which won the Sydney Morning Herald's £2000 prize for 1948. Early in 1951 Charmian, George and their son and daughter went to London where Johnston was in charge of the Associated Newspaper Service's office. Clift completed little in the way of writing until the family moved to the Greek island of Kálimnos late in 1954. She then wrote Mermaid Singing (Indianapolis, 1956), a semi-autobiographical account of life in Greece. In her second travel book, Peel me a Lotus (London, 1959), she described their move to Hydra (Ídhra) and the birth of their second son. Clift next turned her lyrical talent to the landscape of Kiama in her first solo novel, Walk to the Paradise Gardens (London, 1960). A slow and painstaking writer, she spent the next four years on the romantic novel, Honour's Mimic (London, 1964). While struggling with this book, she began an autobiographical novel about her childhood ('The End of the Morning'), and acted as the sounding-board for Johnston during his writing of My Brother Jack (London, 1964). He returned to Australia in February 1964 for its release; Clift and the children followed in August. Her four books had received glowing reviews in Britain and the United States of America, but had barely been distributed in Australia. Back in Sydney, Clift was a literary nonentity—or worse, the wife of a literary celebrity. She soon achieved recognition in her own right: her weekly column in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Herald immediately attracted a large and devoted readership. Originally commissioned to produce 'real writing from a woman's point of view', she in fact wrote essays. Although her form was traditional and her style exquisite, her subject matter often included topical issues such as the Vietnam War, conscription, the Greek junta and world hunger. In 1965 thirty-six of these essays were anthologized in Images in Aspic (Sydney). The acclaimed ten-part television series of My Brother Jack, which Clift had scripted for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, went to air in August-October that year. Funding never eventuated, however, for her subsequent film and television projects. Over the next few years Clift met the deadline for her weekly column. She also carried the main burden of housework and parenting, for Johnston was seriously ill and spent many months in hospital. Little time remained for writing books. Receiving a six-month Commonwealth Literary Fund fellowship in late 1968, she again turned to 'The End of the Morning', but it remained a fragment. The combination of work pressure and personal pain had become too great by mid-1969. On the night of 8 July, while considerably affected by alcohol, Charmian Clift took a fatal overdose of sleeping tablets at her Mosman home; survived by her husband and three children, she was cremated. Since her death, her reputation has grown. In 1970 a second anthology of essays, The World of Charmian Clift, was compiled by George and illustrated by their elder son Martin. Her other essays were collected in two volumes, Trouble in Lotus Land (1990) and Being Alone With Oneself (1991), and all her early books were republished in a uniform edition (1989-90). Ray Crooke's portrait of Clift is held by the National Library of Australia, Canberra Another great article here http://www.nla.gov.au/pub/nlanews/2005/may05/article2.html Nadia Wheatley wrote a great biography of Charmian Clift http://www.librarything.com/work/1088019 and here is a great article about that here. http://home.vicnet.net.au/~abr/July01/kerryngoldsworthy.html johnsons,0<;;;;;;; Charmian and George another article here http://www.theage.com.au/news/Books/Charmian-George-and-Susan-too/2004/12/01/1101577544698.html There was renewed interest when artist Suzanne Chick discovered she was the relinquished daughter of Charmian CLift. http://www.precinctgalleries.com.au/SueChick/mediterranean.htm http://www.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/content/2006/s1941530.htm Should there be a Charmian Clift trail in Kiama Jodie Minus thinks so! http://www.seashellskiama.com.au/pdf/movingwords.pdf Here is another great article on Charmian by Jena Woodhouse (who I suspect visited the Pilot's Cottage in Kiama a couple of years ago!) http://www.proza.ru/2006/12/10-29 And she wrote a lovely poem dedicated to her here Nights without George Stratton Hall, Bondi Nights without George you pace the floor, linger at the balustrade alone as the moon you lean towards expectantly – a dlover’s face cast up by sea on cliff scarp overlooking Bondi; long-lost voyager returning, diver surfacing with trophy… Then your mind runs wild on Bombo, self-styled sea witch lured to the city, wondering how others live, wanting to be the tallest poppy. Now you reside at Stratton Hall, circumscribed by a Juliet balcony’s red-brick smirk of Cupid’s bow, from which you scan the ageing moon and visualise the sandy arc of sorcery somewhere below. You shiver in your hilltop crow’s-nest, listen for a mermaid singing, like the nights you lay in Bombo’s gleaming arms, star-baking silver; hearing whimpers from the nursery, portents in the canopies of banksias that turn their pewter- bellied leaves in fitful breeze: a Juliet who chafes at domesticity, at all constraint, wondering why George is working late; no longer free, still lonely… for Charmian Clift by Jena Woodhouse http://www.foame.org/Issue6/poems/woodhouse.html


The Kiama Pilot’s Cottage is currently (April 2012) hosting an excellent exhibition on Charmian Clift, including one of her typewriters!
The exhibition was opened by her daughter Suzanne Chick who lent one of Charmian’s typewriters to the Kiama Pilot’s Cottage.

Here is a photo of the exhibition!

Charmian’s typewriter!

Some of the detail on the walls.

A photo of Charmian
The Kiama Independent recently did an excellent article on the exhibition (including in FULL the TWO poems she wrote and had published in the Kiama Independent when she was 8) but so far no link.
Here in full is the text Malcolm Bedford wrote for the Kiama Advertiser. Well done to Malcolm and all who worked so hard to put the exhibition together!

The life and times of Charmian Clift
Author: Malcolm Bedford
Date: 21/03/2012
Words: 278
Source: …
Publication: Wollongong Advertiser
Section: News
Page: 33
Kiama has a fascinating history. Each fortnight the Advertiser will bring you a story from its rich past
Perhaps you remember the green-eyed “pagan” child from Bombo Beach born with sand between her toes. You may be a fan of her novels or may have read her newspaper articles in the Sydney Morning Herald in the 1960s. Now you can see her typewriter, personal documents, letters, many photographs and read her story that ended so sadly.

Charmian Clift was born in a house next to Bombo Beach in 1923. Soon she shone at Kiama Public School, having her first poetry published in the Kiama Independent at the age of eight.

At 18 she won the Pix magazine beach girl of the year photographic competition.

Using her prize money she then left to be an actress in Sydney.

Clift became pregnant at 19 and gave birth to her first child, Suzanne, on Christmas Day, 1943. Sadly in that era where babies were often given up for adoption mother and child never saw each other again. You may have read Sue Chick’s moving book Searching for Charmian.

Clift met and married author George Johnston and they worked on novels together and separately. Twice their books won the Miles Franklin award.

Clift’s novels often feature her life growing up in Kiama and the town is very easily recognised in A Walk to the Paradise Gardens.

Clift was a social commentator, radio broadcaster, journalist, author, public speaker and screenplay writer for the ABC.

She lived in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Hydra and Kalymnos in the Greek islands.

Sue Chick opened the Charmian Clift exhibition at the Kiama Pilot’s Cottage last month.

The Charmian Clift exhibition is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays between 11am and 3pm.

Admission is $3 or $2 concession. Tour groups are welcome.

* Courtesy: Malcolm Bedford, Kiama & District Historical Society. Phone 4232 1001 or email signals@netspace.net.au

Here is my first upload Youtube video! Yay!

Here are the Kiama councillors dressed in period costume during the Kiama 150th Anniversary Council Parade on Sunday 9th August, 2009.
left to right; Mayor Sandra McCarthy (in mayoral robes), Councillor Monique Dare-Ward, Council Manager Michael Forsyth (slightly obscured), Councillors Trevor Fredericks, Deputy Mayor Ben van der Wijngaart and (obscured) Brian Petschler, Warren Steel and visible, Peter Bowman. Councillors Lexie Wheeler and Neil Reilly were also present but not in this photo.
Kiama councillors at parade

Here are local marching girls(Shellharbour City Marching Girls http://www.marching.org.au/~nswma/shellharbour.htm) in the parade. Many sports such as netball and tennis also marched, as did all the local service clubs, riding for the disabled, the local schools, vintage fire engines, and council vehicles, and the surviving Kiama mayors in vintage cars. There was a lot of vintage cars!
Marching girls in kiama parade<

Here are the crowds in Hindmarsh Park for a concert (including the Police Band belting out the blues) and stalls such as facepainting, jumping castles and a helicopter down on School Flat at Black Beach.
Crowds in HIndmarsh Park for stalls
Here is some footage of ‘Steam Locomotive 3642 on the South Coast’ shot during the Kiama Celebrations by tryhardparrot on Youtibe

Here is the heritage steam train arriving at Kiama station.
It had 400 pre-booked travellers on Locomotive 3642 which started as a passenger service in 1925. http://www.heritageexpress.com.au/legendsofsteam/3642/default.htm

This was taken from the tower at the Kiama library. Yes, our library has a tower, doesn’t yours?
Heritage steam train arrives


Walschaerts valve gear reversing which Locomotive 3642 uses.

Here is an old cedar-getter at the display by the Illawarra Woodworkers at the Old Kiama Fire Station. Watch out for the snake!
Cedar getter at the cedar display in the old Fire station

Marg Weston of the Weston publishing family ( owned the Kiama Independent for nearly 150 years) and Fran Whalan ( life member of the Kiama and District Historical Society and a member of the commitee that started the Pilot’s Cottage museum) discuss old photos at the exhibition at the Sebel Kiama Harbourside’s Orry-Kelly gallery. This was excellent, and organised by Leanne Webster, the Local History Librarian at Kiama Library, who suggests, Kiama should digitise and database its old photos, just like ‘Shellharbour Images’ and ‘Illawarra Images’ have done. What a great idea! Well done Leanne!

Fran Whalan and Marg Weston discuss old photos

This gentleman caught my eye, looking like the spirit of an old cedar-getter, sitting under a fig tree, re-visiting Kiama and enjoying the festivities.

Under a tree, like a old cedar-getter

Happy 150th Anniversary of Kiama Council!

A couple of images from the council re-enactment in 1959, covered in the Kiama Independent.

and this one
157 reenactment of first council meeting
and in 2009 in the lake times here
Many events are happening over the coming weekend, (Saturday 8 August and Sunday 9 August, 2009)

and the following week, and I will be posting photos from various events, such as the unveiling of the Joseph Weston statue outside Kiama Council at 11am on Thursday 6th, August, 2009 at 11am.

And here it is! Before….
Before the Joseph Weston statue is unveiled
Joseph Weston unveiled!
Marg Weston, John Weston, Bruce Weston and Weston family left, Mayor Sandra McCarthy, centre, (with Kiama Council flag)and right, artist Vivienne Lowe!

The statue is on the original site of the Joseph Weston fountain, knocked over by a truck in the early 1950s, and here is a picture of that fountain!

The original Joseph Weston fountain

You can find out more about events coming up here

Just after the unveiling of the Weston memorial, a person came forward anonymously saying they had the original Weston memorial fountain in their garden, and here is a picture of it! 


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!