The town of Bundanoon is quickly heading towards it’s 150 centenary and today it’s one of the most unique and vibrant communities in the Southern Highlands. Read more about it’s past and future here.
The History of Bundanoon…On the 29th of March 1818 Charles Throsby and his party visited the locality that he recorded in his journal the name of the town as “Bantanoon”. In October 1824 Surveyor Harper was ordered to reserve 1200 acres of land in the locality. One of the boundaries of this land was “Boon-doo-noon” Creek, which is where the present spelling of the name was adopted. In the 1830’s the country near Bundanoon was known as “Barren Ground”.
After the passage of the 1861 Land Act selectors began to take up land in the district. A man by the name of Jordan owned some land, which the railway ran through so a crossing was made to enable him to reach his house and then when a platform was erected it was called “Jordan’s Crossing”. Residents partitioned for a change of name in 1880 and on the 2nd of April 1881 the post office and station became known as the town of Bundanoon.
In the late 1860’s to the early 1870’s settlement began in the town of Bundanoon and in 1872 a non-official post office was established with James Cambourn being the first postmaster.
In the 1870’s timber getting became an important industry. By September 1881 the town had two sawmills that worked constantly and a sandstone quarry. Bundanoon also had a butcher shop and two stores. The local people made a complaint as they wanted a township laid out but this was not possible as proprietors who would not build for themselves nor sell an allotment held the land on either side of the railway line. In 1882 Bundanoon was described as being “incipient state”.
A land sale, situated three quarters of a mile from the station, was held in 1883 with 16 lots selling at prices varying from 6/- per foot to Â£12 per block. Two more land sales were held in 1884, EA Bakers lots were sold from 25/- to Â£2/15/- per foot and Grice’s 14 blocks averaged 11/- per foot. In 1928 67 business sites were sold from Â£7/10/- to Â£13 per foot with 107 residential blocks being disposed of.
An 1891 news reports tell of new buildings in course of erection and more land was cleared. At this stage a blacksmith’s store, a store for a man named Martin and a fancy goods and refreshments store were being constructed. In 1911 the first local bakery was established, which meant bread no longer had to be delivered from Moss Vale. In April1904 it was noted that the village was progressing with a boarding house being erected for Mrs Tyler amongst many other structures, which were being built. During 1919 Bundanoon was said to be progressing in many different ways and during the following year the building trade picked up very quickly and in 1925 a building boom was reported with many new houses and additions to boarding houses being carried out.
During the late 1880’s tourists began to visit Bundanoon and in early 1891 the boarding houses were doing very well. In July 1901 a tender was let to build a track from Fairy Bower down to the Bundanoon Creek in the recreation reserve. In April 1903 about 300 tourists visited Bundanoon with the boarding houses being taxed to there utmost. In 1906 more tracks were made from the Fairy Bower steps and trout were liberated into the Bundanoon Creek. May 1907 saw a new road being built to access the beauty spots. In December of 1933 a swimming pool was opened with the clearing of the adjoining land being carried out voluntarily.
The Primitive Methodists built the first church in Bundanoon in the 1870’s with an appeal in 1877 coming from the members of the Church of England in Bundanoon for services to be established there. In November 1879, a wooden church was built and opened, only to be burnt down in the disastrous bushfires in December 1904. The construction of the new church began in March 1905 with the foundation stone being laid on the 8th of March by Sir Harry Rawson. Whilst the new church was being built services were held at the Methodist Church. The building was a rubble structure built by J. R. W Walker of Kareela at a cost of Â£530. It was opened in 1905 but was not dedicated until the 18th January 1907 by the Archbishop of Sydney.
Land for the Roman Catholic Church to be built was promised, free of charge by WA Nicholas in 1890 with the owner of the Bundanoon Sawmill H Larkins offering the timber for it. The church was known as St Brigid’s with the foundation stone being laid by Cardinal Moran on the 10th March 1891 with Â£80 being subscribed at the function. The money for the construction of the church was lodged at the E S & A Bank, which closed its doors, so the money could not be withdrawn. As a result there was no work done for many years. Another start was made in September 1894 with the church eventually being completed in March 1895. The Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Rt Rev Dr Higgins, visited Bundanoon to bless and open the church in March 1895. In November 1935 extensions to St Brigid’s were opened and blessed.
In October 1870 a meeting was called at Jordan’s Crossing where it was decided to apply for the establishment of a provisional school. S Tooth offered a building free of charge with Mrs D Osborn being nominated as the teacher. A committee was appointed to further the movement and consisted of Messers, Grice, Tooth, Osborn, and Dimmock. The application for a public school in Bundanoon was made in late 1876.
A new building had been established by 1882 with 64 children on the roll. In August 1908 a tender for a new school was accepted with the job being completed in February 1909. The Hon. JA Houge, Minister for Public Instruction, opened the school on the 12th February 1909.
In 1872 the non-official post office opened but was converted into an official establishment in October 1890, Louisa Tobin was postmistress. In March 1958 a new building was opened at a cost of Â£28,000.
Discussions regarding a War Memorial for Bundanoon began in 1922 with the foundation stone being laid for the Memorial Hall twelve years later by the Hon. JM Dunningham, Minister for Labour. The building was opened on the 22nd February 1935. Brigadier F Galleghan opened a gift of War Memorial Gates from Mr & Mrs C J Ross on the 19th May 1951.
A meeting was held on the 18th January 1945 where it was decided that Bundanoon needed a fire station. The land was resumed by the Shire Council, a loan of Â£500 at 1% interest was offered by N Catts and the building was erected by N Boag for Â£335, Â£100 under the estimated cost. On the 18th January 1945 the new station was opened. The town Fire Brigade was formed in 1959.
The Bundanoon branch of the Country Women’s Association was formed in 1927 with a Rest Room for the organization being built in 1930. In March 1930 a younger set was established and in 1934 it was decided to set up a Baby Health Centre.
Cricket was played in Bundanoon in the 1870’s. At a meeting in October 1882 the players decided to re-establish the Erith Cricket Club. In August 1921 a race club was formed and named the Bundanoon Jockey Club with a management committee being appointed and a works committee, which inspected the track and decided on improvements. The racetrack on the reserve was ploughed and rolled and a new fence erected in 1922. In 1925 there was headway being made with the golf links at Bundanoon with the Terry’s Park Links opened for play on the 21st October 1934. The Golf Club was dormant from 1941 due to the war but play resumed in 1946. In 1951 the clubhouse was burnt down. Bundanoon Park Bowling Club was opened in October 1951 with a bowling green being constructed in 1955 and a clubhouse being erected in 1956.
A welcomed improvement of electricity came to Bundanoon, with the first light being switched on the 28th August 1929.
A hotel had existed in Bundanoon since 1884 when AW Nicholas got a license for the Commercial, which he opened in a house, owned by him. A new hotel was built and opened in 1892.
A dam was constructed on the Bundanoon Creek at a cost of Â£516,000 and will hold 450,000,000 gallons. The dam will supply water to Bundanoon, Exeter, and Moss Vale.
The Bundanoon History Group manages and maintains extensive collection of photographic, written and oral history material related to the town of Bundanoon from it’s first settlement to the present day. The Old Goods Shed in Railway Avenue which holds our archive is open on the first and third Sunday of each month from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, also on Brigadoon and Garden Ramble weekends, or by appointment.
The Bundanoon community is very active in a diverse range of interests and activities with the aim to be of benefit to the town as a whole. The Bundanoon Community Association acts as an umbrella organisation for many projects which are direct products of the efforts of the many volunteers that make up the Bundanoon Community Association Inc.
Bundanoon Community Association meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month (except January), at 7:30pm. Meetings are held in the Supper Room of the Soldier′s Memorial Hall (opposite the post office). Members and visitors welcome!
The idea for ‘Our Future Bundanoon‘ came about as the result of a gathering of several passionate and community minded people who were interested in creating a greater community cohesion in the community of Bundanoon as well as being concerned about the future growth of Bundanoon in the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.