Woonona Public School became an emergency hospital during the 1919 ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic

MANY folk of the old Bulli Shire were eagerly awaiting their influenza inoculations in 1919. Between January-September 1919, pneumonic influenza, commonly known as the ‘Spanish Flu’, killed 6,387 people in New South Wales, infecting as many as 290,000 in Metropolitan Sydney alone. The Spanish flu infected 500 million people – about a third of the…

The escarpment swaggies: ‘Bandy’ Sam, ‘Dumby’ Henderson, and Bernard the German

NOT even a reigning monarch could shift old Bandy Sam from his bush humpy at Slacky Flat, Bulli. Although authorities were eventually successful in clearing the shanty town of unemployed men and low income families from the blackberry and weed infested flat named after the coal waste that had been progressively washed down from the…

Woonona Bulli barbers and hairdressers: The mysterious Fred Williamson

NOTHING remains of Fred Williamson’s hairdressing salon at Bulli today. Where his barber shop sat, Memorial Drive spews a seemingly endless flow of vehicles onto a congested Prince’s Highway, opposite Hospital Road. Eric Francis “Fred” Williamson was operating a hairdresser or barber shop in front of Pritchard’s Music Hall at Woonona as early as 1906.…

Bill Christiansen and Ed Ball helped fill the lagoons at Thirroul

ONE of nine children – eight brothers and a sister – William John Christiansen was a well-known Woonona ‘grease-monkey’. He loved tinkering with engines, and before regulations were put place, operated one of the northern Illawarra’s earliest public bus services between Austinmer and Wollongong. Born in Woonona to Charles and Mary Christainsen in 1899, he…

Lovely child’s appalling leap

Madge Hope, the 15-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. Hope, of Campbell street, Woonona, threw herself off the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the morning of Wednesday November 8 1933. The teenager survived to tell the tale, with reports saying that her large dress had saved her life. Madge was said to have had “a…

Woonona May Day Dancers 1930

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On the hills behind Woonona

From Woonona, Bulli, Clifton, and other South Coast towns, that are on the edge of the sea, one may turn westward and climb the South Coast Range. The coastal towns dot the plain that is between the hills and the Pacific. The narrow luxuriant strip is fringed with beautiful beaches. Our picture was taken from the heights…

Lonely surfies

Australian Women’s Weekly 1964 Letters Page A sandy’s lot. “WHERE are all the sandies?” the boys are asking. My boyfriend describes a sandy as a brown-skinned, brown-haired girl who carries her boyfriend’s surfboard to and from the beach for him and then sits on the beach in a bikini, watching him catch the heavies. Occasionally…

Bill Ghan’s fair dairy cow

(From Truth’s Bulli Rep) It was a fair cow,  right enough. Ask  Woonona dairyman William Ghan. One of Gahan ‘s herd  forced its way into  a vegetable garden owned by Mr. Percy Ackroyd, and before being led away Strawberry consumed :- 20lb. beans. Three dozen cauliflowers. Three dozen cabbages. A quantity of carrots, lettuce, beetroot and potatoes. The…

Rise & fall of Billiard saloons

By MICK ROBERTS © RELIGIOUSLY every Saturday a steady stream of men crossed backwards and forwards from the bar of the Bulli Family Hotel to the billiard saloon opposite. They were not playing billiards, or even having a haircut or buying tobacco, the men were making their way to a tin shed at the back of…