Berry, New South Wales
New South Wales
Alexander Berry monument in Berry
|Population||1,485 (2006 census)|
|Location||143 km (89 mi) from Sydney|
|LGA(s)||City of Shoalhaven|
History: The indigenous people of the area were the Wodi Wodi people. In the 1810s, George William Evans, Government Surveyor, reported on the Berry district as a possible settlement and on the good stands of red cedar. Subsequently, itinerant timber cutters visited to cut and send cedar to Sydney.
Alexander Berry, with his business partner Edward Wollstonecraft, pioneered European settlement in the Shoalhaven region in 1822. The locality was known as Broughton Creek from its beginning in 1825 as a private town and part of a large rural grant holding called "Coolangatta". The name was changed to Berry in 1889, following the death of David Berry, Alexander's brother, to honour the Berry family.
Geography and landmarks
The township of Berry lies on the South Coast Railway, and on the Princes Highway (Highway 1) between Nowra and Kiama. For much of its early history the town depended on timber cutting and dairy farming, with a tannery and boat building also present, but today, Berry thrives on tourism, with many souvenir shops, art galleries, antiques and collectibles shops, cafes, restaurants, and hotels. A local public hospital bequeathed by the Berry family, the David Berry Hospital, now serves as a rehabilitation hospital and palliative care hospice.
Population and culture
The population of Berry, less than 2,000, forms a mainly urban rather than farming community, with an influx of city dwellers attracted to a rural lifestyle with ease of access back to the Sydney metropolitan area and its attractions ('sea changers' and 'tree changers'). Most dairy farms have been subdivided into 'hobby farms' of small acreages, and the town businesses have changed to meet needs of tourists and the expanding hospitality industry.
Berry is the first truly rural town south of Sydney, and is situated on a coastal plain bounded by the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range to the west, and the Tasman Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean, to the east. The township of Berry is surrounded by the districts of Toolijooa, Foxground and Broughton Village to the north, Harley Hill, Far Meadow, Jerry Bailey/Coolangatta and Back Forest to the east (with the beaches of Gerroa, Seven Mile Beach, and Shoalhaven Heads along the coast), Jaspers Brush and Meroo Meadow to the south, and Bundywallah, Bellawongerah, Cambewarra, Woodhill, Wattamolla, and the village of Kangaroo Valley are situated in the mountains to the west.
Some regular events that draw locals and tourists alike to Berry include: country markets on the first Sunday of the month; the Berry Agricultural & Horticultural Show on the first weekend in February; the Musicale festival held throughout May and June; and the Garden Festival in October. Berry is also home to the Berry Magpies rugby league team, part of the NSW Group 7 rugby league competition.
During the annual Berry Agricultural & Horticultural Show there is held the Annual Berry Showgirl Competition. This is an event where young women aged between 18 and 25 are judged on various attributes including personality, rural knowledge, presentation, communication and speaking skills, and local and international current affairs throughout a full day of judging. The judging panel consists of three judges selected by the Show Committee. Judging involves a sit down luncheon during the day which is attended by showgirl entrants and judges, followed by individual interviews, and then concluding that evening with a ball, or formal dance, where each entrant is required to give a speech. The winner is announced on the Saturday night of the annual show, in the center of the main oval, in front of the crowd. The winner then goes on to represent Berry at the Zone judging which encompasses towns from Milton to the Hawkesbury region. Zone winners then compete at the final stage, which is a weeks judging held at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It is important to note that this event, run by the Royal Agricultural Society, is not a beauty contest but rather a way of promoting and encouraging rural women.
- Berry Directory (published by Berry Chamber of Commerce & Tourism)
- Moeyan Hill
- Group 7 Rugby League
- Coolangatta Estate
- Shoalhaven Coast Wine Industry Association
- Shoalhaven Tourist Board
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