Historic Village Walk
Discover our National Treasures in beautiful Kangaroo Valley’s historic pioneering community.
Scenic Grandeur – National Trust Listed Landscape
This valley is considered one of the principal scenic features of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region, the natural scenic grandeur of the valley walls contrast with the peaceful rural landscape of the lush valley floor. Magnificent vistas of the valley may be obtained from various vantage points from the roads that descend into the valley, while pockets of rainforest vegetation heighten the scenic attraction of the area.
This information is based on what is known so far. Research is still being done on this subject and will be updated as new information becomes available. The earliest inhabitants of this district were the Jerringa people. Several tribes, like the Wodi Wodi had exclusive use of the Valley and had names for various locations. ‘Noggarah’ meant a big gully and they called the riverside flats, ‘Parronrah’.
Kangaroos and other wild life abounded so the valley was a game reserve and a meeting place for the tribes of the area. There is a ‘Dreaming line’ which passes through Kangaroo Valley and the Valley is considered a spiritual place of great energy and healing. With the arrival of the cedar getters and cattlemen in the 1800s the aboriginal way of life changed and eventually only two tribes remained, at Trimbles Creek and along the river on the southern side of the village. They were peaceful and traded ‘bush tucker’ with the settlers. In the early 1900s the remnants of the tribes relocated to the Shoalhaven area. There are a number of Aboriginal archaeological sites in Kangaroo Valley and sacred sites.
The cedar cutters were active in the early part of the C19th with the logs being floated down the Kangaroo and Shoalhaven Rivers and taken by bullock drays to coastal vessels for shipping. In 1818 Dr Charles Throsby, guided by the aboriginal chief Timelong, mapped a route into the valley. This exploration opened up the Kangaroo Ground to white settlers and the isolation of the aboriginal places changed forever. In 1840 Henry Osborne purchased 2500 acres of land at Barrengarry and started the dairying industry in the Valley.
Charles Mc Caffrey managed this estate for the Osborne family. He was the first dairy farmer in the Valley and produced butter for the Sydney market, transporting it in kegs slung across pack horses, over the escarpment north of Gerringong Creek in Upper River to Wollongong. After the Robinson Land Act of 1861, pioneering families were attracted by the offer of fertile land grants and settled the Valley. After 1900 the population rose to 1400, with several communities becoming established including Barrengarry, the Village of Osborne (Kangaroo Valley), Maguries, Bellawongarrah and Beaumont.
Our original showground was located at the hamlet of Maguries (opposite the Cemetery) and moved to the current location in 1956. The opening day was preceded by 17 days and 31 inches of continual rain. You can still enjoy an authentic country show every February here – wonderful for all the family.
Community Hall – Heritage Listed
The iconic School of Arts was designed by James Burrell and built in 1908. There have been two extensions, 1928 and 1937 and the building is used now, as it was then, for community social events. From 1906 the Cambewarra Shire Council was based in Kangaroo Valley and met at the community hall.
Court House and Police Station – National Trust Listed and Heritage Listed
Built in 1904 and still used today as the police station, this was designed by famous NSW Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon and is a particularly fine example of the series of rock faced stone courthouses designed for the cooler climate areas between 1895 and 1905.
Old Bakery and Residence – Heritage Listed
This was built in 1890 and the cottage has been lived in by a succession of bakers and their families who sold the bread from the front of the bake house.
A beautiful example of late C19th architecture is the Kangaroo Valley Pottery Shop. This was built by Peter L’Estrange in 1906 for Robert Davidson who operated ‘Cheap Stores’ until 1926. Ted L’Estrange bought the building in 1927 and lived there with his family. He also operated a Billiard Salon and a barber’s shop on the premises.
Built in the 1880’s this restored cottage is one of the oldest residences in the village. Originally built as a store, it later housed the village tailor, Ruben Rosebburg until 1925.
Bank Site – Heritage Listed
Originally the English Scottish & Australian Bank. Built in 1891 by Anton Wolf today it is a coffee shop.
Friendly Inn – Heritage Listed
Designed by Cyril Blackett and built by Mr Wiley in 1891 as the Commercial Hotel. It was brick and stone and had 17 rooms. Originally it had neither verandah nor awnings. It was a popular meeting place and banquet centre for Kangaroo Valley Associations. Partially destroyed by fire in 1933, it was refurbished by Archie Freeburn and the name changed when Bill Stewart was proprietor.
Pioneer Hotel Site
The Pioneer Motel and townhouse development now occupy a large site that was the centre of much activity from 1876-1930. Travellers on the Cobb and Co coaches between Moss Vale and the Shoalhaven were accommodated at the weatherboard Pioneer Hotel and the community enjoyed social functions in the ‘Cosmopolitan Hall’ built on the eastern end by Charles Robinson. Dan Condon was the last publican before the hotel was de-licensed in 1916 and the buildingsdismantled in 1930.
War Memorial – Heritage Listed
Designed by Mr Barr and built from granite in 1920 by Loveridge and Hudson. The memorial commemorates servicemen from the Boer War. WW1 and WW2 and is the centre of the Valley’s annual commemoration of ANZAC day.
Post Office – Heritage Listed
In the early pioneering days supplies from Berry and Wollongong arrived every 3mths by pack horses over the narrow mountain track. Postal service on horseback was a couple of times a week. The first Post office, on the corner of Moss Vale Road and Jarretts Lane was operated by the Nugent family, from 1870-1909. The current Post of ce building was built in the 1880’s and used as a temporary Court House, Council Chambers and Haberdashery store before becoming the post of ce in 1912.
The Anglican Church of the Good Shepard – National Trust Listed
Designed by John Horbury Hunt and built by John Tanner under the patronage of Isabel Osborne, in 1872. Constructed of brick and local sandstone, the church had a thatched roof, which was replaced by shingles and then tiles. This was John Horbury Hunts’ first independent commission and bears all of the structural honesty for which he was later to become famous. The Memorial gates for George V’s Diamond Jubilee were erected in 1935.
Kangaroo Valley Public School – Heritage Listed
The first Valley Primary school was built in 1871 by Christopher Binns, an early pioneer. The twenty seven children were taught by Thomas Hird. Many rode horses to school but attendance was down when the river was up so more schools were built in other valley locations, eleven in total. In 1885, the present sandstone building was constructed by Bebbington and Bird.
St Joseph’s Catholic Church and Franciscan Hermitage – Heritage Listed
This is the second structure on the site. The first, a wooden structure that seated about 30 people, was built in 1873. It was replaced in 1888 by the Church of St Joseph. Red Cedar cut and milled from the Valley was used for the pews. Fr Harnett rode a horse from Moss Vale to the Valley to conduct weekly Sunday Mass.
Old Butcher’s Shop
The Old Butchers Shop, or ‘Still Here Butchery’ was owned by Bluey Wallis who counted the local policeman among his friends. This was a fortunate mateship, for if a stray beast from the adjacent sale yards was accidentally hit by some form of transport, between them they readily disposed of the carcass. The customers could be sure of fresh meat from Bluey’s shop.
Church of the Good Shepard Rectory – National Trust and heritage Listed
Designed by the renowned colonial architect John Horbury Hunt and built by John Tanner in 1882. The sandstone for the walls and chimney was quarried from the banks of the Kangaroo River at Hampden Bridge.
Hamden Bridge – National Trust and Heritage Listed
Hampden Bridge was named after Lord Hampden, Governor of NSW 1895to1899. It replaced the 1879 timber truss bridge. It was designed by Ernest de Burgh and built by Loveridge and Hudson, who specialised in quarrying and stonemasonry, hence the artistic result! The twin towers of sandstone were quarried from land inside the Pioneer Museum Park. Look down and you’ll see people at play in the river. Now listen as you hear the rumbling of the cars as they pas over the bolts that hold the Australian hardwood decking. Notice when you walk over the bridge how it moves to calmly take the weight of traf c. The bridge and approaches are 280 long and about 20m above the water level of the Kangaroo River. Local timber was used and the 28 steel cables were manufactured in England and shipped to Nowra. Opened on 2nd February 1898, it is now the only surviving wooden suspension bridge in Australia of this era.
Pioneer Museum Park – Heritage Listed
Here the Kangaroo Valley Historical Society showcases family life and farming methods of the early settlers. A remarkable collection of original settlers homes, an old school house, saddlery, blacksmiths shop and lifestyle exhibits that together make it the most significant museum of early settler life in the greater Sydney metropolitan region. There are also two good bushwalks to be enjoyed in the grounds behind the Museum buildings, accessed by the historic, recently renovated, suspension bridge on this property.
Barrengarry General Store and Post Office – Heritage Listed
A separate settlement north of the Kangaroo River was served by the Barrengarry post of ce and store from 1874. The store was run by the manager of the Osborne’s estate.
The General Cemetery – National trust Listed
The ground was consecrated in 1870. All denominations are allocated separate areas including “infidels, pagans and suicides”. It was originally part of the outer settlement of Maguires.
- Historic Village WalkMoss Vale RdKangaroo Valley NSW 2577
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