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Heritage Trails in Bulli
Over a weekend in August 1989, we had a fantastic community Back to Bulli Festival, and Mick Roberts prepared the Back to Bulli Festival Heritage Walk around Historic Bulli. Northern Illawarra historican – academic Dr Winifred Mitchell wrote historical notes on Bulli for the festival. And then in 2008 the Black Diamond Heritage Centre published notes for a walking tour in the Bulli Railway precinct of Hungry Hill.
Now in 2014, ahead of the 2015-16 Bicentennial Commemoration of European Settlement in Wollongong, and its impacts on the Aboriginal peoples, the time has come to re-visit their work.
So based on the rich resources of Mick Roberts, Dr Winifred Mitchell and Black Diamond Heritage Centre – in combination with a host of local history books, the following notes for the following Bulli history trails are being developed.
- Sandon Point – the area of first European settlement with early, and contemporary, Aboriginal – European interactions
- Old Bulli – from Chilby’s Hill to Point St Bulli
- Mailbag Hollow – Slacky Flat – between Old Bulli and Hungry Hill
- Hungry Hill – New Bulli – Newtown and the Railway precinct
- Southern Bulli – the Civic Precinct
- Bulli Beachfront
- Bulli Pass
- Bulli Mountain – Sherbrooke to Bulli Tops – Up and Down Bulli Mountain
The books used in the development of the history trail notes were as follows :
William “Bill” Bayley’s “Black Diamonds“, Mick Roberts’ “Greetings from Woonona Bulli” and “The Little House on the Hill“, Westie Hapgoods’ “Deep Valleys, Tall Trees, Tough Men and Women“, the Centenary of Federation book “True North“, Anne Woods’ various “Tales from the Streets“, Stuart Piggin’s “Faith of Steel“, Jim Hagan’s “History of Wollongong“, Michael Adams’ “Beyond Bulli“, Winifred Mitchell’s “Growing Up in the Illawarra”, Cousins’ “The Garden of New South Wales“, Singleton’s “Railway History in Illawarra New South Wales“, Southern’s Railway History of the Port Kembla Steelworks and the Illawarra, Kass’s “Thematic Study of Wollongong“, Organ’s “Illawarra and South Coast Aborigines 1770 – 1900” & “Captain Robert Marsh Westmacott 1801-1870” and Edds’ Conservation Plan for the Bulli Miners Cottage. Not to mention the soon to be released centenary history of Bulli Surf Life Saving Club by Joe Davis.
Why so many ? Because no one book has covered it all, and to check for discrepancies – even our local Bulli history hero, Bill Bayley, was not immune from the very odd error. No doubt the digitisation of the Illawarra Mercury and the South Coast Times by the Trove team will reveal more stories. As has the proliferation of “Nostalgia History” sites on Facebook allowed family memories to be shared, and long nagging Bulli history questions to be answered.
Below, is reproduced Mick Roberts’ 1989 Historic Walk Around Bulli, with several changes made in 2014. Some buildings have been lost since 1989, however the major changes since 1989 are the construction of the Northern Distributor through to Bulli near to Molloy St and Farrell Rd, opposite Hospital Rd; and the conversion of the old Tramway Bridge to a pedestrian walkway to Bulli Public School.
- Bulli Public School, established in 1869 – also a monument to Governor Macquarie who crossed the site in 1822
- Former site of the Railway Hotel (Bulli Village’s first licensed coaching inn est. 1870). Wollongong City Council’s Northern Works Depot driveway marks the site
- Former site of the Star of the Sea Hotel est 1879, Jehovahs Witness Kingdom Hall now marks the site
- Former site of the Black Diamond Hotel and the Bulli Assembly Rooms (part of the building still standing in 1989). Established 1876
- Former Denmark Hotel, est 1877. Brick front added 1886. The district’s only remaining coaching inn – 5 a. Historic stables that serviced the coaches during the 1870s
- 1860s coal miners cottage
- Uniting Church (formerly Methodist) 1865
- Former bakers store
- Site of former Mine Manager’s residence – demolished in 1989
- Historic War Memorial
- Bulli Pioneer Monument
- Former Bulli Post Office 1922
- Stockbank House 1888
- Former historic butcher’s shop – since redeveloped internally but facade remains
- Historic shops
- Bulli Heritage Hotel, formerly Family Hotel 1889
- Bulli Mine Disaster Monument 1888
- St Augustine’s Anglican Church 1882
- St Joseph’s Catholic Church 19004
- Site of former Bulli Township Information Centre (now demolished to make way for Northern Distributor Extension)
- Site of former Primitive Methodist Church 1880s
- Bulli Shire Council former Chambers and former Bulli Library 1922
- Bulli Fire Station
- Site of former Bulli Courthouse 1886 and Police Station
- Site of former Bulli Colliery established 1863 – closed 1987
- Monument to the old Bulli coal jetty
- Bulli Railway Station and Black Diamond Heritage Centre museum
- Site of former Catholic Church 1880s
- Former Railway Boarding House c.1886
- Site of former Ocean View Boarding House c.1886
- St Augustine’s Anglican Church Historic Gravestones from 1878 to 1960- now accepting only ashes into the Columbarium Wall. Over 60 of the 81 miners who perished in the 1887 Bulli Mine disaster are buried here. Six generations of the pioneering family of early St Augusine’s Anglican Church Warden Captain Henry Thomas Hicks JP were interred here from 1895 to 2012
- Historic walk along the old Bulli Coal Mine railway to the Jetty. The cokeworks operated along this walk. (Note following the residential development it is no longer possible to follow this route)
- Site of Historic residence
- Former Glass Drapery Store
- Former residence of Samuel Kirton – one of Bulli’s Pioneers
- Former Anglican Manse (Rectory)
- Former Boarding House
- Original school – St Joseph’s – 1920’s
- Federation houses – some had been restored in 1989 – but the extension of the Northern Distributor meant that Farrell Rd was cut in two and some of these old homes were lost – several still remain on the Western half of Farrell Rd
- Four phoenix palms iin Bulli Park mark the spot of the old Bulli War Memorial – is now part of Arthur Osborne (former Bulli High School Captain) Memorial Grove