7. Sherbrooke on Bulli Mountain – A One Place Study

Sherbrooke, the Lost Village on Bulli Mountain, and the Bulli Mountain Black Diamond Districts  are now listed with the Register of One Place Studies under NSW, Australia, joining the Gerringong One Place Study in NSW.

Taking fruit down Bulli Mountain

Taking fruit down Bulli Mountain by bullock wagons

Sherbrooke on Bulli Mountain & Black Diamond Districts – One Place Study Overview

About Sherbrooke, formerly known as Bulli Mountain, above the northern Illawarra in NSW, Australia, the village existed for a relatively short period, before it was resumed for the construction of Cataract Dam, and its associated catchment area. Much of its history was hidden for decades, but slowly it is emerging from its Shadowland.

Timber and fruit orchards were key activities of the area, and some men went down the Bulli Mountain to work in the coal mines, others came up the mountains to pick blackberries for Sydney’s jam factories, or to husk corn from Sherbrooke’s farms. And tourism had begun to emerge – conducted by women at the orchards.

A group of women with deep connections in the Illawarra, and a passion for its heritage, came together via Back in Time – Photos from the Past and formed the Sherbrooke Sisters.

Bron Chamberlain - Sherbrooke Sisters

Their aim ? To collect stories and records of Sherbrooke and its interconnected families; where did they come from; of how they interacted with the Black Diamond coastal villages below the Bulli Mountain; how they face tragedies of bushfire, drought, flood and mine disasters. Then came the Cataract Dam  with its impacts during conception, construction and operations, as well as its rangers, the public shut out from Sherbrooke – and Sherbrooke’s residents forced to leave after it was resumed for the dam – where did they go ?

The Sherbrooke Sisters are now collecting and sharing these stories and records via events, as well as using social media-internet technologies (Web, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc) – ensuring Sherbrooke’s stories never die.

A focus in 2015 is documenting the stories of Sherbrooke’s Sons in WW1 – her descendants served from Gallipoli to the Western Front, the Middle East and even into the Indian Army. Some re-enlisted in WW2 – one was Commandant of the Cowra POW Camp at the time of the Breakout.

In 2016 we focused on the Chilby descendants of Sherbrooke – they are part of the Spinks family. The Against All Odds Chilby exhibition at the Black Diamond Heritage Centre from September to November 2016 was part of the study. Just after the exhibition was completed, Wollongong City Council resolved to name a lane in Bulli to Chilby’s Lane, which has delighted the Chilby family. More on the Chilby Family – click here.

Coincidentally in 2016 a Sherbrooke descendant who served in Vietnam emerged quite unexpectedly as part of the Black Diamond Heritage Centre’s Vietnam Exhibition.

And in 2017, a focus will be “Finding Sherbrooke’s Children in WW2”

Of course ongoing research into Sherbrooke families continues.That researching and documenting the stories of the families is going to take quite  a number of years to be honest!

And not forgetting that before European settlement, there was an older Aboriginal culture there too, which had been greatly  impacted by the encroaching European settlement of the 19th Century – and thus to acknowledge this history as part of Sherbrooke’s history – see Aboriginal History at Black Diamond Heritage Centre web page.

The Sherbrooke Sisters operate in association with the Black Diamond Heritage Centre, Bulli Railway Station East, where Sherbrooke events, including our National Trust NSW Annual Heritage Festival events (2015, 2014) are held; and several Sisters are also active in the Illawarra Family History Group.

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Study Owner – Sherbrooke Sisters

Study Contact – email to Sherbrooke Sisters

Study Website – https://shadowlanduncoveringsherbrooke.wordpress.com/

Twitter Account – SherbrookeSisters

Google+  –


Study Resources to be Reviewed 

European Settler and Aboriginal history records – including the following …

  • Births, Deaths and Marriages Registers – commenced
  • Newspapers via Trove – commenced
  • Electoral Records – commenced
  • Census Records – commenced
  • Obituary Notices – commenced
  • Probate Notices – commenced
  • Legal & Court Records – yet to commence
  • Monumental Inscriptions – commenced
  • Military Records – commenced
  • Church Records – commenced
  • Trade Directories – commenced
  • Old Photos – of Places and Buildings – commenced
  • Old Photos – of  Past Residents – commenced
  • Old Postcard Views – commenced
  • Council Library Local Studies Collections & Heritage Resources – commenced
  • NSW State Records & NSW Lands Department Archives – yet to commence
  • Sydney Catchment Authority Archives – yet to commence
  • Shipping, Immigration and Convict Records – commenced
  • University of Wollongong Archives for Illawarra Region – commenced
  • Local History & Family History Organisation and Museum Archives – commenced
  • Local History Timeline – commenced
  • Family Histories and Memories – commenced
  • Recorded Memoirs – commenced
  • Professional Journals – commenced
  • Additional Sources as available, eg
    • as provided by Event attendees – commenced
    • as shared via Web, Local History Blogs & Social Media channels – commenced


This One Place Study was inspired by the photograph collection of Robert Trevis Clifford Jones who bequeathed his primary collection to his granddaughter Sandra Jones, who has generously shared them with her fellow Sherbrooke Sisters.

Robert Trevis Clifford Jones - his collection of photos inspired this Sherbrooke web site.

Robert Trevis Clifford Jones – his collection of photos inspired this Sherbrooke web site.






One response to this post.

  1. […] Sisters – running a One Place Study on the Lost Village of Sherbrooke on Bulli Mountain to uncover stories of the families who lived there and finding her sons in […]


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