History: Looking Back

Looking Back: The Chamberlains and the Bulli jetty

The Bulli Jetty after a section fell into the sea in 1907

The Bulli Jetty after a section fell into the sea in 1907


PETER Chamberlain has vivid memories of his dad telling him yarns about working on the Bulli Jetty.

His father George and Grandfather Arthur Chamberlain earned a living as bridge and wharf contractors moving around the country in search of work early last century. George was born in Richmond Victoria in 1893, the first child of Arthur and Isabella Chamberlain and was destined to follow in his father’s foot steps.

Peter Chamberlain said his grandfather Arthur worked on Australian icons such as the Circular Quay wharves and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

His grandfather’s first visit to the Illawarra was when he supervised the construction of a jetty at Port Kembla in about 1907. Later he was awarded the contract as supervising foreman to repair and extend the Bulli Coal Company’s jetty at Sandon Point in 1912.

Nineteen-year-old George and his 16-year-old brother Neild helped their father on the 18 month repair project.

The 800 feet long jetty was constantly at the mercy of the elements and had been rebuilt only five years earlier after 260 feet collapsed after a storm.

Read more about the Chamberlains and Bulli Jett at the Looking Back website.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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