The History of Helensburgh
Helensburgh is bounded by National Park, water catchment reserves and the Eastern seaboard of Australia. Clubs, pub, sporting facilities, churches, schools and a shopping centre, cater for a population of some 5,000 people. We think it's God's own country.
The Helensburgh and District Historical Society records and preserves the social history of Helensburgh and the surrounding villages of Waterfall, Garawarra, Stanwell Park, Stanwell Tops, Otford, Lilyvale and Cawley. The records cover coal mining, railways, forestry, education, sport, social clubs, religion and all other aspects of village life. Helensburgh is situated on the Southern fringe of Sydney, an hour by train to the city.
The objectives of the society are both scientific and cultural
- Scientific. The advancement of historical science in the study of Australia, and the factors in general history that have had particular consequence in Australian development with special regard to those bearing upon the development of the area of Helensburgh and its environs.
- Cultural. The promotion of the knowledge of the history of Australia and of the traditions of our heritage.
Membership costs only $10 per year for an individual or $15 for a family. Members receive the regular business papers, Society News and Snap Shot histories produced by members.
We would love your support so please consider joining the society. Subscriptions are made to:
The society usually meets at the Old Mine Surgery, 78 Parkes Street, Helensburgh on the last Thursday evening of the month from 7.30 - 9.30 pm. Meetings are either business, educational or practical, and are open to new members. Please phone 4294 2877 to check the date of the next meeting. The society also organises special displays of historical material at the Surgery, along with lectures from visiting speakers.
A new home for the Society
Geoff Cox, one of the founding members of the Historical Society, formed a trust for the preservation of his father's surgery as a resource centre for the society and as a venue for displays. The surgery was originally in Robinson St, and after the death of Dr. Cox, was moved behind his house.
After two years of organisation by Geoff's niece, Robin Wines, the surgery was moved in 2001 to its new home next to the Band Hall site. Sadly the Band Hall had only months before been destroyed by fire. The town had lost another historical building.
The Old Surgery is seen here at the right of the picture, next to Dr. Cox's home in Robertson St. Helensburgh. The home was later replaced with a modern home, and this was recently demolished for a new residential development. Dr. Cox is seen here at the front of his home with his businessman's coupe.
Members of the Historical Society are presently archiving the resources of the society, now numbering close to 1,000 items. These will be stored in duplicate form both at Wollongong library and in the Old Mine Surgery. Attached to the surgery is a newly constructed resource centre to store the many historical documents and photos held by the society. Members are also preparing displays for the waiting room which will serve as a permanent setting for exhibitions of historical interest. The consulting room is being prepared for a permanent exhibition of medical equipment used in the early twentieth century and medications of the period are being collected for the dispensing room.
The Society gratefully receives items of historical interest - letters, documents, photos, old pharmaceuticals, etc. Print and photographic items are professionally archived under the watchful eye of Allan House, in duplicate and with the original or copy returned to the donor if required. Please contact 4294 2877 if you have items which you would be happy to donate or have scanned.
- President, Allan House
- Vice President, Jim Powell
- Secretary, Jan Lee
- Treasurer, Merilyn House
- Collection Coordinator, Allan House
- Researcher, Jenny Donohoe
Foundation of the Society
The Helensburgh and District Historical Society was founded in 1979. The first General Meeting of the society was held on the 12th of April that year. Regular meetings were held along with guest-speaker evenings. The Society took the lead in shaping the Helensburgh Centenary celebrations in 1984. Leading lights in the Society at the time were Pat McAuliffe, Annette Blackwell, Ruth Rook, Mary Davis and others. Sadly the key foundation members, Laurie Hill and Geoff Cox have now become part of history themselves, along with Mr. History, Bill Simpson.