Old Bulli

Old Bulli is located south of Slacky Flat and extends to Chilby’s Hill, also known as Bulli Hill, while New Bulli was to the north of Slacky Flat and developed from 1887.

An early oil painting of Old Bulli, pre-dating the Denmark Hotel and the development of New Bulli

An early oil painting of Old Bulli from Chilb showing Bulli Public School and the Uniting Church, but pre-dating the Denmark Hotel and the development of New Bulli

A Walk around historic Bulli Township

A Walk around historic Bulli Township

SPTN Bulli Bridge 1888472_399854046817087_814896442_nFrom Dr Winifred Mitchell’s notes :

” A sign of welcome is painted on Old Bulli’s overhead bridge on Princes Highway about one kilometre south of Bulli Pass…. 

7. The Uniting Church

Uniting Church Bulli built in 1865

Uniting Church Bulli built in 1865 – believed to be built from Sherbrooke sandstone

Near the bridge on the eastern side of the road is Bulli’s oldest building still serving its original purpose, the Uniting Church.  It was built in 1865 for the Wesleyans of the Bulli district. The development of their congregation pre-dated the opening of the mine; they were encouraged by the Somerville family, landowners and sawyers, who first made available a barn (on the site of the future Bulli Hospital) as a temporary chapel in 1862. Three years later, more Somerville land was donated and the present church built. Designed by a noted architect, Colonel Thomas Rowe, it was made of sandstone, the first Wesleyan stone church in the Illawarra, with diamond shaped leaded glass windows and a cedar roof with oak shingles. There was a church spire and a bell which tolled for Sunday services until 1938 when the spire collapsed in a storm. The Sunday School was well attended by the children of the coal miners.”

8. Bakery and house

Former Nicklins Bakery (left) and home of Rallings Wheelwright (right)

Former Aston-Nicklins Bakery (left) and home of Rallings Wheelwright (right)

Notes from Bronwen Chamberlain via the Black Diamond Heritage Centre’s Facebook Site – “To the south of the Denmark Hotel is the site of a former bakery owned by the Aston-Nicklin family (earlier owned by Mrs Wallis) and, on the right, a house belonging to Ralling, the Wheelwright. George Aston had been apprenticed to his father Thomas Aston who was a master baker.” These have been demolished and replaced by ochre yellow coloured townhouses which were designed to be in sympathy with the Bulli Townscape Study.

5. The former Denmark Hotel and Stables – opposite the Uniting Church

BDHC 1394380_413343662122131_1884100285_nFrom Dr W Mitchell : “Peter Orvard migrated to Australia from Denmark and built a small hotel on this site in 1877, extending it the following year, and a virtual rebuild in 1886, due to increased trade following the Sydney – Waterfall section of the Railway, with passengers from Wollongong travelling by Coach via Bulli  and Clifton to Waterfall.

Built of bricks from Bulli Brickworks, the hotel had  twenty bedrooms, a public bar, a balcony and observation tower above the roof, useful for knowing of the arrival of the coach bringing customers. Steamers approaching the jetty could also be observed.

The old lodging quarters at the rear were retained for extra guests and staff quarters. To the west of the hotel’s rear yard were the slab stables older than the Denmark buildings. The stables were used to service coaches on the Wollongong Campbelltown route and added to the business of the Denmark. The bar trade fluctuated according to the state of work at the mine. However trade dropped dramatically after the completion of the Railway from Sydney through to North Kiama in 1888 and the arrival of the George Croft’s Hotel (now the Bulli Heritage Hotel) in 1989.

After Peter Orvard died in 1891 his widow tried to manage the business but soon had to sell it. Its name was changed to Tourists Hotel and it operated until the the “local opinion poll” of 1907 caused it to be de-licensed. From 1911 it became in turn a boarding house, flats, then a private dwelling which gradually fell into decay.

Further Reading :

  • “More Tales from Our Streets” – Anne Wood

6. Miner’s Cottage, adjoining the Denmark Hotel

The Miners Cottage at left

The Miners Cottage at left

Also opposite the Uniting Church is an old slab dwelling, a typical miner’s cottage of late nineteenth century. Built c.1870 on land which had originally been part of the Westmacott estate, it was purchased by the Heritage Commission of New South Wales and the Wollongong Council in 1989. The owner who occupied the cottage until her death was a descendant of Peter Orvard who built the adjoining Denmark Hotel in 1877. 

The furniture of the cottage had been loaned by the Illawarra Historical Society Museum. It was typical of the articles fashioned by nineteenth century miners from local timber and other readily available material.”

In the photo above are shown two other miners cottages to the north of the Heritage listed property.

(Note – The cottage had been opened to the public for many years but is currently closed).”

Unnumbered Sites -Buildings between the three Miners Cottages and Hobart Street

Shops in Old Bulli looking south with the Uniting Church and Denmark Hotel in the background

Shops in Old Bulli looking south with the Uniting Church and Denmark Hotel in the background

Looking to the south can be seen shops which are located, either side of  the highway, to the north of the Miners cottages and of the Uniting Church/Manse These shops were located in what was known as Old Bulli.

After the arrival of the railway in 1887, the commercial centre of the township migrated southwards in the vicinity of Park Road towards Hospital Road.

Unnumbered Site – Nicklins Bakery – notes from Bronwen Chamberlain

Bakery identified with an "x" - previously owned by Turnbulls  and sold to Nicklins

Bakery identified with an “x” – previously owned by Turnbulls and sold to Nicklins

Notes from Bronwen Chamberlain via the Black Diamond Heritage Centre’s Facebook site : “The Nicklins moved to Turnbulls bakers shop from Clifton, Circa 1902-3 on the corner of the Princes Highway and Hobart Street, Bulli, still keeping the shop opposite the Methodist Church. Kate Nicklin, with her husband and four children ,George, Ivy, Edith and Clara now lived at these premises. The Hobart Street building was a two storey wooden building heavily ornamented with wrought iron on the upstairs verandah. A large wooden double story bakehouse was adjoined to the building. George Nicklin was apprenticed to his father, who was a master baker. The shop sold fruit, lollies ,school supplies, cakes and bread and fancy goods.” The building was demolished and incorporated into Bulli Public School.

Unnumbered Site – Former ES and A Bank Building

Shown at right in the photograph above, ie two sites along to the north of the Bakery, was the Former ES and A Bank Building which was also demolished and also incorporated into the Bulli Public School.

1. Bulli Public School

25. Bulli Mine

Unnumbered Site – Railway Hotel Bulli opposite Hobart Street

In 1870, the Railway Hotel, also dubbed the Miners Armswas the first inn to be licensed in Old Bulli with the first licensee being John Floyd, followed by Phil Dwyer, Patrick d’Arcy and Laurence d’Arcy, before its closure in 1913. Reliant on the coaching traffic like the Denmark Hotel, the Railway Hotel trade had also been impacted by the completion of the Railway from Sydney through to Kiama and competition from George Croft’s hotel in New Bulli. It became a boarding house also.

Further Reading :

  • “More Tales from Our Streets” – Anne Wood
  • “True North – Tales and Reminiscences – Celebrating the 2001 Centenary of Federation” – compiled by Mick Roberts with Terry Bugg, Jack Devitt, Mary Hendricks and Arthur Murray
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One Response to Old Bulli

  1. Frank Skinner says:

    I am researching the names? of the original owners/operators of the Bulli Brickworks can you assist me please

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