The Northern Section of the Berry Estate

The Northern Section of the Berry Estate

By John Graham

(First published in "Illawarra Branches", the quarterly journal of the Illawarra Family History Group, in December 1998)

Late last year, a fellow researcher from Gerringong sent me a photocopy of a small section of a map showing her farm at Toolijooa. This was the only part of the map available, but my interest was aroused both by the detail given on the small part of the map I could see, and the possible details to be gleaned from the full map, if it existed. 

A Mitchell Library reference was supplied with the copy, but this turned out to be wrong. However, some diligent searching by the map staff in the Mitchell Library eventually located what they thought could be the original map. When I subsequently saw the map, it exceeded even my wildest expectations as to the detail provided.

But first, some background. Alexander Berry and his business partner Edward Wollstonecraft were granted 10,000 acres on the northern bank of the Shoalhaven River in 1822. This grant stretched northward along Seven Mile Beach to Blackhead Point. Subsequent purchases of the grants of Richardson, Hyndes and Burke extended Berry’s holdings northward to the southern boundary of the area reserved for the village of Gerringong, and to the west of Gerringong as far north as Michael Hindmarsh’s property at "Alne Bank". 

Initially, Berry’s team of assigned convicts cleared and farmed the area around Coolangatta, but it did not take long for the idea of "clearing leases" to take hold. Under this arrangement, tenants were given five years rent-free to clear and fence their property, after which they became tenants of Berry. 

Following Alexander Berry’s death in 1873, management of the estate was taken over by his brother David, and on his death in 1889 by John Hay, a cousin of the Berrys. Early in his stewardship, a tender for the railway line between Kiama and Nowra was issued (in August 1890). Hay donated a strip of land 15 miles long between Gerringong and Bomaderry for this line, which opened on June 2nd, 1893.  

David Berry’s will provided for some substantial cash bequests, and the only way to satisfy these bequests was to sell off some of the extensive landholdings. Starting in 1892, the lands in the Berry Estate began to be offered for sale, a process which continued until the last sale in 1916. Existing tenants were given first option to purchase their leased farms, with almost all of them doing so, often at prices less than would have been obtained at open auction.

 Dating the Map

 The map was drawn up by Harper and Harper, Civil Engineers, of 63 Pitt St, Sydney. It is in two parts, with each part being approximately 30 inches square. The right-hand square, the subject of this paper, covers the area from the coast westward to longitude 150 degrees 45 minutes (approximately the western side of Foxground), while the left-hand square covers the area north and north-west of the town of Berry.

 Although the map itself is undated, it is referenced in the Index to the Berry Papers in the Dixson Library as "about 1890". However, my belief is that it was drawn up during 1892, sometime after the first sale on March 29th. This is based on two facts:

  1. the presence of the railway line 
  2. the contents of the first sale

 The railway line is clearly shown as the "Nowra Railway" complete with survey notations and gradients of curves – more detailed information than would be available if the railway was only in the planning stage. As the tender had been let in 1890, construction would have been well under way by late 1892. However, the Gerringong station had not been constructed at the time of the March 29th sale – the newspaper report of the sale refers to the farms sold being ¾ mile from the "proposed Gerringong station". 

At the first sale on March 29th, 1892 four farms were sold – one of 21 acres 2 roods (sold to W. R. Cooke), a second of 28 acres 3 roods, a third of 27 acres and a fourth of 97 acres 3 roods (all sold to W. Weir). 

On the map, the first farm south of Jupiter Street, the then southern boundary of the Gerringong township, is of 21 acres 2 roods. This exactly matches the size of Cooke’s purchase. In addition, this farm is marked on the map with the notation "(P)" – which I suggest indicates "purchased". 

The adjoining farm (currently "Buena Vista" and part of "Wanthella") of 134 acres 2 roods is also marked with the notation "(P)", while adjoining it is the remainder of the current "Wanthella" of 19 acres 1 rood 21 perches, but without the same notation. The combined acreage of these two farms is 153 acres 3 roods 21 perches. 

When this is compared to the sum of the three farms from the first sale (153 acres 2 roods), and together with the fact that this land was owned by the Weir family until 1998, it is clear that these farms were those sold on March 29th, 1892. If we can assume that the "(P)" notation does indeed mean "purchased", then we have dated the map to shortly after the first sale. 

Details of Individual Farms

The detail contained in the map provides us with a full list of the farming families in the southern part of the Gerringong Municipality c1892. In some cases, the property boundaries are unchanged to the present day, and consequently can be matched up with present-day property names. The following tables present the detail found in the map, together with any pertinent comments. Property sizes are given in acres [a], roods [r] and perches [p].  

For simplicity, the farms have been divided into four groups:

Table 1 – the area bordered by the town boundary in the north; the coast in the east; Crooked River in the south, and west to the junction of the river and the railway line.

Table 2 – the area west of the town and north of the Nowra-Kiama Road (now the Princes Highway), ie Willow Vale and Foxground. 

Table 3 – the area west of Crooked River and South of the Nowra-Kiama Road, as far west as Factory Road (now Toolijooa Road) ie Toolijooa. 

Table 4 – the area south of the Nowra-Kiama Road and west of Factory Road to the Broughton Creek village** boundary (ie Harley Hill and Foxground). 

(** Although the map actually shows a street grid labelled "Broughton Creek Village" about one mile south of Foxground, to the west of the present Princes Highway, this is clearly a mistake. Broughton Creek was the original name for the town of Berry, and was renamed following David Berry's death in 1889. The area south of Foxground was then, and still is, known as Broughton Village.)

When locating the farms in terms of present-day properties, a comparison has been made between this map and the topographical maps published by the Central Mapping Authority of NSW. In a few cases, 19th-century boundary lines are marked on the current maps, enabling a precise match to be made, but in the great majority of cases it is not possible to match existing boundary lines with those from last century. 

This comes about for two reasons:  

  1. not all 19th-century boundaries are marked on the CMA maps, and 
  2. subsequent land transactions between neighbours over the years have meant that some properties have increased in size, and others decreased, when compared to their 1892 sizes.  

In these cases, I have taken the current location of the residence on named properties and matched that location to the original map.


Table 1: The Crooked River Area






A. Campbell

59a 1r 14p

Now Gerringong Primary School, Mayflower Village, and part of "Myra Mount"

A. Campbell

21a 2r 0p

South side Jupiter St to Boat Harbour (probably rented from W. R. Cooke)

J. Moffitt

154a 2r 33p

Now part of "Myra Mount"

W. Weir

134a 2r 0p

Now "Buena Vista" and part of "Wanthella"

M. Lee

19a 1r 21p

Now part of "Wanthella" (probably rented from W. Weir)

M. Lee

120a 1r 27p

Now "Coral Dale"

W. Sharpe


Now "Wingeewah" and "Biernfields"

T. Moffitt


Now "Beachlands" and "Hillbyrne", plus part of Gerroa residential area

J. Feehan


Now "Avon Lea" and "Sea Breeze"

E. Burke

77a 3r

Now part of "Hillbyrne", plus part of Gerroa residential area


Table 2: The Willow Vale/Foxground area (ie north of the Nowra-Kiama Road)






J. Routledge

66a 1r 3p


C. H. Harvey

58a 2r 9p


M. A. Johnstone

72a 1r 0p


H. McLean

51a 1r 28p

Now "Willow Grove"

J. P. Johnstone

109a 1r 20p

Now "Arwon"

D. Phillips

47a 1r 2p


J. G. Johnson

76a 2r 17p


G. Lee

68a 1r 30p

Now "Hillcrest"

A. Nelson

103a 1r 33p

Now "Strathmore"

W. Routledge

76a 0r 30p


E. Hanrahan

54a 1r 19p


W. Maynes

150a 1r 24p

Now "Innisfail"

C. Jorden

35a 0r 13p

Now part of "Strathford"

J. Sharpe

72a 1r 31p

Now part of "Strathford"

J. Hanrahan

136a 2r 12p

Now "Myrtle Mount"

Mrs Hanrahan

31a 1r 16p


Mrs Harding

105a 3r 5p

Was "Har-Mor", now part of "Innisfail"

J. McInerney

174a 3r 5p

Now "Clare-moy"

B. Fields

42a 1r 1p


B. Fields

50a 1r 22p


M. Kenny

157a 1r 8p

Now "Girrkool"

M. Larkin

50a 0r 24p

Now part of "Sivan"

J. Hamilton

36a 1r 0p

Contains the Broughton Village cricket field

T. S. Speer

167a 3r 3p

Now "Ellangowan" and "Sivan"

R. Brown

164a 0r 10p


T. Brown

36a 2r 0p



Table 3: The Toolijooa area (ie south of the Nowra-Kiama road, and east of Factory Road)






W. Bailey

150a 1r 0p

Now "Homeleigh"

C. Jorden

60a 1r 19p

Now "Aorangi"

J. Sharpe

151a 1r 38p

Now "Glenayr"

C. McCabe

82a 0r 34p

Acreage excludes the Toolijooa School site. Now part of "Bryn-y-mor"

W. Maynes

79a 2r 13p

Now part of "Bryn-y-Mor"

B. Allen

111a 3r 14p

Now "Fair View"

A. Harding

117a 0r 30p

Now "Warra Bank"

J. Taylor

34a 1r 12p

Now part of "Athlestane"

P. Dooley

152a 0r 11p

Now "Coralea"

J. Taylor

127a 0r 4p

Now part of "Athlestane"


Table 4: The Harley Hill – Foxground area (ie south of the Nowra-Kiama road, and west of Factory Road as far as the Broughton Creek village boundary)






B. Fields

48a 2r 12p

Now "Pine Grove"

P. Fields

48a 1r 24p


B. Fields

52a 1r 19p


P. Devery

208a 3r 22p

Now "Rosemount"

T. Wiley

79a 1r 0p


J. Charlesworth

70a 0r 29p


C. Wiley

66a 2r 0p

Now "Greystanes"

J. Hicks

28a 1r 0p


A. Finn

100a 0r 0p


T. Dooley

56a 0r 22p

Now "Killburnie"

M. Kenny

66a 2r 12p


P. Fields

85a 0r 21p

Includes the site of the Toolijooa Milk factory. Now "Palm Vale"

P. Daly

129a 2r 37p

Now "Ravens Hill"

C. Hamilton

67a 0r 0p


P. Kiley

138a 0r 6p

Now "Clover Hill"

M. Sheehy

98a 3r 4p

Now part of "Haslemere"

J. Mahoney

63a 3r 23p

Now part of "Haslemere"

W. Strong

177a 0r 0p


J. Caldwell

79a 3r 0p


T. Carew

187a 2r 1p

Now "Wyoming"

A. Strong

160a 2r 0p

Includes the site of Harley Hill School.

J. Leary

36a 1r 0p


P. Wells

89a 1r 19p




This map provides an invaluable reference to more than half the farming families living at Gerringong in the 1890s, in many cases identifying the location of families which have long since left the district. For some of those remaining, it is a link to more than 100 years of continuous occupation of the same properties. 

A photocopy of the map (on two A3 sheets) has been lodged in the Gerringong Museum.


References and Bibliography

1. The map itself is in the Mitchell Library at reference

       M SER 4 000/1
       ML MSS 315
       MAP 17

2. A second copy of the map is available on the shelf as an aperture card (viewed
   through a microfiche reader) at reference ZCP: C1/172. This copy differs from
   the original in two ways:

     (a) a small tear on the original (on the coastline south of Walker’s Beach) is
         not present, and

     (b) some farms at Foxground have been shaded with black pencil or crayon
         obliterating some of the detail, which suggests that at least two separate
         copies of the map exist, or have existed in the recent past.

3. Index to the Berry, Wollstonecraft and Hay Papers in the Dixson Library.

4. "A History Of Illawarra" by Frank McCaffery (1922)

5. "The Garden of New South Wales" By A. Cousins (1948)

6. "Blue Haven" by W. A. Bayley (1960)

7. "Shoalhaven" by W. A. Bayley (1975)

8. "Kiama Independent" of April 1st, 1892 (report of first land sale)

9. CMA Topographical Maps (1:25000) 9028-11-N (Gerroa) and 9028-1-N (Kiama)

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This page was created by John Graham, a member of the Gerringong Historical Society and former resident of the town, who can be reached at The last update was May 21st, 2006.