Before Berrima - Bong Bong Township: An Exhibition


Before Berrima – Bong Bong Township


April 21- June 17 (Saturdays and Sundays only )

Harper’s Mansion is pleased to host an exhibition of documents and photos curated by the Bong Bong Common Management Committee which illustrates the history of the original Bong Bong settlement site from its beginnings in 1821 to the present.

Bong Bong was established  by Governor Macquarie beside a cobbled ford across the Wingecarribee River on the old South Road, which ran from Liverpool and the Camden district south of Sydney through Bong Bong to Sutton Forest then on to Goulburn, Yass and the Riverina. Travelling south were optimistic settlers with flocks of sheep and herds of cattle looking for cheap land and a new start: travelling north were drays pulled by up to 10 oxen, loaded with wool for the Sydney market. To service their needs were the Argyle Inn,  blacksmiths, wheelwrights and stores. If the river was in flood the wait to cross brought healthy profits to innkeepers and merchants,alike

All were protected by a twenty-man strong military establishment, a government commissariat and civil police.

Bong Bong was the centre of the rich agricultural area known as the Sutton Forest district. Around it were the homes of prosperous settlers and the road was lined with multiple provision stops.

Fifteen years later, in 1836, it was left to quietly wither away. Military barracks and all the civilian administrative personnel had shifted to Berrima, on the new line of road established by Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1831.

The exhibition on the second floor of Harper’s Mansion will feature documents and photographs to illustrate this first settlement, the several attempts to improve the river crossing and how the site has been used to the present day when, thanks to Wingecarribee Shire Council, the entire site of this settlement has been preserved for the future as public land within the Bong Bong Common and is considered worthy of state significance for its unique heritage values

Admission to the Exhibition is free with entry to Harper's Mansion.