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 Directory 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.

Sherbrooke Sisters’ 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.

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.

One Place Study

  • Study Owner – Sherbrooke Sisters
  • Study Contact – email to Sherbrooke Sisters
  • Study Website – https://shadowlanduncoveringsherbrooke.wordpress.com/
  • Twitter Account – SherbrookeSisters
  • Google+  –


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 in 2013.

Bron Chamberlain - Sherbrooke Sisters


The Sherbrooke Sisters began to 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 (2018, 2015, 2014) are held; and one sister is also active in the Illawarra Family History Group. See photos from the 2014 National Trust Festival below :

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A focus in 2015 was 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, our theme for the National Trust Heritage festival was Disasters – Bushfires, Floods and Shipwrecks – and Sherbrooke was part of the bushfire theme. Another focus was “Finding Sherbrooke’s Children in WW2” – but that research continues. Also a renewed effort to cataloguing items in the Blinkco collection on eHive commenced. And the sandstone Sherbrooke School sign was located.


2018 saw a major focus on Sherbrooke and in particular the Blinkco family :


  • Possibly Sherbrooke’s descendants in Thirroul eg Hunt, Martin – Kimbrey, Jones-Spinks – Reeve, Cavill – Blinkco-Reeve,

Of course ongoing research into Sherbrooke families continues.That researching and documenting of the stories of the families is going to take quite  a number of years to be honest! Not to mention cataloguing items from the Blinkco collection

Study Resources to be Reviewed 

European Settler and Aboriginal history records – including the following …

  • Births, Deaths and Marriages Registers – commenced
  • Newspapers via Trove – commenced – Sherbrooke, Bulli Mountain, Cataract Dam
  • Electoral Records – commenced -Federal NSW electorates  1903  – also 1870-1871 & 1878 – 1879 for NSW electorates
  • Census Records – commenced – 1891 Census extract shown below :32094_223340-00585 1891 Census
  • Grevilles Postal Directory 1872 – Bulli – see Bulli Mountain entries
  • Obituary Notices – commenced
  • Probate Notices – commenced
  • Land, Legal & Court Records –  Timeline – commenced
  • 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 – Boat People of Sherbrooke Bulli Mountain – Aboriginal Connections – Origins 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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