Berry is proud of its history. Several of its buildings are listed on the Shoalhaven City Council’s heritage list and the Railway Station, the Gate House of the David Berry Hospital and the Courthouse are on the NSW Heritage List. Many parts of the town are also listed with the National Trust.
Before European settlement the Wodi‐Wodi people lived in the area which was known as Boon‐garee. Alexander Berry took up a land grant at Coolangatta in 1822. Alexander Berry was introduced to this area by an indigenous person named Toodwick who was born in this area. Toodwick was also known as Broughton. The creek and township were named Broughton Creek after him. It wasn’t until 1890 that the town was renamed Berry.
When Broughton Creek began, it was settled by loggers and sawyers who had come for the splendid stands of red cedar. A sawmill was built, close to where the railway bridge now crosses Tannery Road on the way to David Berry Hospital. The settlement was established here because this was the first place the creek could be crossed easily. The creek was navigable up to the wharf which was at the junction of Broughton Creek and Broughton Mill Creek.
At that time, the only means of travel to this area was by steamer. Many of the people who came to this area were convicts who were assigned to Alexander Berry and their overseers (freemen).
Tenants, employees and free settlers followed later. The estate store house was at Coolangatta with rations being distributed by cart to the outstations, such as the tannery near the foot crossing on Broughton Creek.
Because of flooding, the settlement moved to the ridge where Pulman Street and the Princes Highway are now. The store, church, post office, police house, council chambers, court house and school were built later. In 1868 the population was 300 and the town was proclaimed a municipality.
Broughton Creek was a private town, part of the Coolangatta Estate. Alexander Berry died in 1873, and the estate passed to his brother David.
The town spread to the southwest over Broughton Mill Creek, around the Inn that David Berry built so travelers could stay overnight before proceeding to the Nowra ferry. This is where the main part of Berry now lies.
In 1883 a rectangular grid of streets was first proposed. Many of the town’s public areas were planned, including the showground, the post office, the public school, the court house and 2 acres each for four churches located at the four corners of the town. After the death of David Berry in 1889, the name of Broughton Creek was changed to Berry by Act of Parliament in 1890 in honour of the Berry family. The estate was inherited by John Hay, a cousin, and most of the estate was sold off to meet the large bequests of David Berry’s will that included the David Berry Hospital. John Hay died in 1909. A new subdivision plan for Berry, with some changes from the first, was drawn up in 1912 and Berry was sold off by the trustees of his estate. The streets bear names to commemorate members of Queen Victoria’s family.
In 1972 the community proposed a scheme in to plant trees in the streets of the town, with every street having different trees or shrubs. And so Berry became known as the “Town of Trees”.
The Berry & District Historical Society in conjunction with the Berry Chamber of Commerce and Tourism have developed the short historical walk around the commercial centre of Berry below.
The Berry Township Historical Walking Trail is available via pdf format. Download here.
The Trail starts at the drinking fountain on Prince Alfred Street, near the corner of Queen Street. From here the walk moves into the southern side of town, where the heritage is more from the Late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Going down Prince Alfred Street the walk takes you into Railway Street to look at Berry’s heritage-listed train station, before taking in Alexandra, Victoria and Princess Streets, where you can admire classic weatherboard cottages, the historic Courthouse and other original buildings.
Returning to Prince Alfred Street, you can take a little detour to the north side of town, crossing over the main street then turning into Albert Street to view two of the churches there.
The final section of the walk takes you slightly out of town, crossing over Broughton Mill Creek and exploring Pulman Street, where the original settlement of Broughton was located. From here you can enjoy a pleasant stroll past dairy farmland to the David Berry Hospital on Tannery Road.
The Berry Short Historical Walking Trail will take approximately 1/2 hour to complete. The longer walking trail will take around 2 hours, but it is easy to do shorter sections of the walk at a time.
Yes, if your children have an interest in history or have patience with their parents’ interest. Be careful of children when crossing roads.
Yes. Dogs must be on a leash at all times.