I'm a blogger living in Wollongong, NSW Australia. I enjoy travelling and exploring my hometown.
Published February 5th 2017
Step back in time
Last year as part of the Heritage Festival, Wollongong City Council put on a guided tour of the Heritage Trail. The tour was conducted by Wollongong's Heritage Officer. I had seen the brochure and had been wanting to walk the 3 kilometre trail for a while. The trail walks the rectangle of Harbour Street, Smith Street, Church Street and Crown Street. The trail brings out buildings that you could walk past a million times over and not notice as some of the oldest buildings in town. The Council is not sure which building is our oldest, though.
So this fine Saturday in May, I joined a group of 15 people on the trail. We started at Market Square, which was and still is a meeting place, dating back to the 1800s. We made our way past St Mary's College which used to be one of the four hotels around the square.
We continued down Harbour Street to Wollongong's second Court House, opposite the Harbour. Our guide pointed out where the Brighton Hotel used to sit, now being the Harbourfront Apartments.
We made our way back to Smith Street. On the corner of Harbour and Smith Street out the front of the apartment block is a plaque for Charles Throsby's Stockmans Hut.
Who is Charles Throsby? He is the first documented person to come down the escarpment. He was one of the first people to own land here and was the owner of the first cattle station. This was way back in 1815. His land was where the trail takes you. It is really amazing.
So as we walked down Smith Street we noticed the different styles of houses and apartment blocks on the street.
We moved to number 4 on the map, being Little Milton. The house is believed to be from the 1830s but they are not sure. The house was home to the Minister of our first Congregational Church. In the 1850s a doctor moved in and built a surgery at the front. The house still has a well that you can go down, the servants hall and bell. This house is currently being renovated and I am happy to say looks way better today than three years ago.
We moved on stopping to check out the old School of Arts and the original Public School building which once held five different schools.
We made a left up Church Street where we took in Allowrie Terrace, which now houses two law firms.
Our tour finished out the front of what is now the Illawarra Museum. The building was the old post office and has had two extensions on the original building.
While there our guide pointed out the original curbing on the other side of the street and remains of what may have been the western wall of another hotel. The Council are waiting for the site to be developed so that they can see underneath.
This walk is well worth the trip. If you can't find a guided tour (I've only seen three of them) then do it yourself. Read the brochure, go for a walk and see what you can find.