click here to
Illoura Walk map
click here to
Illoura Walk map
Davistown Illoura Reserve Walk - A Step Away
Get the Ferry to join
the Illoura Walk.
Pick up the Central Coast Ferry Service from Woy Woy Wharf.
1st Ferry Stop: Veteran Hall.
To reach the Veteran Hall Pioneer
Cemetery, walk east along Henderson Road. To rejoin the Illoura Walk proceed
another 15 minutes walk (approximately), including a right turn into Malinya
Road , then
the next right into Pyang Avenue
will take you on to the Illoura Reserve. Walk to the left along the reserve
and you will come across Lintern Street Wharf.
2nd Ferry Stop: Lintern Street Wharf. This is the beginning
of the Illoura walk along the waterfront.
Illoura Reserve Walk Points of Interest
(Numbers refer to reference numbers on map)
1) Indigenous Habitation
2) Brisbane Water Ferry Services
This area of the Illoura Reserve, adjoining the Lintern
Street Wharf, was reputed to have been the location of
the largest Aboriginal camp in the district during the days of early white
settlement. Davistown was home to coastal Aboriginal people, whose
country stretched from Sydney Harbour, to Lake Macquarie.
Signs of habitation in the Davistown area include a rock shelter and shellfish
middens. Evidence of the middens can still be seen on the ground today.
The middens were so large that in the years after European settlement,
they were excavated to support a lime burning industry supplying the lime
for building works in Sydney.
Before the opening of the Rip Bridge in 1974, the many
small communities around Brisbane Water relied heavily on
small ferries to get them to Woy Woy and Gosford. Ferries were used for
many purposes before reliable road transport; crews and passengers relayed
social news around Brisbane Water. Daily newspapers, mail deliveries and
produce were regular cargoes. More infrequent cargo included the bodies of
deceased persons being taken to Gosford for burial. Every second Thursday
the ferries of the district would take shoppers to “Market day” at
Pioneer Ferry Service
In 1905 the Sisters of Saint Joseph commenced operating the Pioneer Ferry
Service for the patrons and visitors of Kincumber Orphanage, located at
Kincumber South. This was the beginning of a regular ferry services on
Brisbane Water. The fleet included ferries such as the San Jose, Southern
Cross, and Stella Maris, which were well known and loved by holiday makers
and locals alike.
Kincumber Growers’ Ferry Service
The Kincumber Growers’ Co-operative Company Ltd formed as the result
of a public meeting held in July 1921. Local farmers required a simple and
rapid means of getting produce to market and rail transport at Woy Woy.
The Growers’ Ferry serviced Davistown, Empire Bay, Woy Woy, Sunnyside
(Bensville), Kincumber South and Kincumber Creek. The last Growers’ Ferry Service terminated on 30th June, 1944.
3) Riley’s Island & Illoura Peninsula
Across the channel from the peninsula is Riley’s Island.
In 1855 when it was known as Shell Island it was bought by
John Riley for 140 pounds, 17 shillings and sixpence. Initially the Riley
family farmed and ran a few cattle at Shell Island. Later Riley established
a banana plantation, using seaweed for fertiliser. In the 1860s at least two
ships, and possibly a third were built on Riley’s Island. To this day
John Riley’s descendants still live in the area.
Riley’s Island is one of three large islands in Brisbane Water.
It is a low-lying island with a large expanse of mangrove swamp around
the edges, and dry schlerophyll forest in its’ interior.
Mangroves provide valuable habitat for a wide range of marine and
terrestrial creatures. Riley’s Island contains two species of mangroves,
Avicennia marina (Grey Mangrove) and Aegiceras corniculatum (River
Mangrove). However, the recognition of the environmental value of
mangrove habitats is a comparatively recent development .
In the 1960’s, there were plans to develop canal subdivisions on both
Rileys and St Huberts Islands. Following a major environmental battle supported
by the late comedian Spike Milligan, Riley’s Island was saved and is
sanctuary for local fish and bird life.
4) The Yow Yow Estate
This was in the vicinity of the Yow Yow Wharf.
Originally the 100 acres that later became Halloran’s Yow
Yow Estate was owned by Robert Henderson, the son of convicts, who
was born in 1796 at Parramatta. Henderson, with his wife, came to
Brisbane Water in 1824, when he was appointed District Constable.
He was by all accounts a shrewd and enterprising man, who was also
implicated in rum smuggling around Broken Bay and the Lower
Hawkesbury. Robert Henderson is best remembered locally for his
connections to his adjoining property Veteran Hall, where a private
cemetery contains his remains along with several family members.
5) Exploration by Governor
Only five weeks after the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, it
became clear that reliable supplies of water and food must be found if the
settlement was to survive. In early March 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip led
a small party of officers and marines on an exploratory voyage along the
coast to the north of Sydney Harbour.
On this first voyage Phillip passed the site of Davistown, but found
little of immediate use to the Sydney Cove settlement. In June 1789, a
more thorough investigation of the land was conducted and discounted
for agricultural use, owing to the rugged nature of the area. During this
voyage, Phillip and his companions explored what we know of today as
Brisbane Water, reaching as far as Green Point. An opportunity was taken
to investigate the Kincumber Broadwater, and once again Davistown was
passed on outward and inward journeys. 3rd Ferry Stop: Central Wharf On Sunday,
29th March 1936, two cars drove
down Davistown Road, and plunged off the wharf into Cockle Channel. Six
of the eight occupants were drowned. Apparently the driver of the first car
mistook the wharf for a bridge. Locals rescued survivors in rowing boats,
and they were cared for at Glenorie boarding house.
6) Restella Guest House
While Davistown had its beginnings in the serious business
of shipbuilding, by the 1920s it had become a very popular
holiday resort. Davistown had much to offer, with regular ferry transport
to and from Woy Woy railway station, several well-appointed boarding
houses, furnished cottages, boating, fishing and bathing facilities. Horse
races were held on a six-furlong racetrack built by Bill and George Davis.
The straight of the track is marked by today’s Davis Avenue. In this vicinity
stood Restella Guest House, run by local identity Mrs Sarah Ellen Jenkins.
The Restella Guest House was noted for its hospitality, with a feeling of
home, and a complete lack of formality.
A 1928 Tourist guide announced: “there is every provision for all holiday
makers’ needs; no one need make a burden of their vacation by dragging
up boxes and hampers of provender. Prices locally are very reasonable.”Weekender
cottages that were once so plentiful in the area. Made of fibro
and timber, many of these buildings were sold as inexpensive kits from
local sawmills, or larger suppliers such as George Hudson. You may choose to
deviate at this point and walk up Davistown Rd, turning
right to visit the Davistown RSL for refreshment, a bite to eat or a game of
bowls. You could ring the club on 4369 1291 to call the club bus.
7) Origins of Brisbane Water
James Marks was one of the first settlers of this area, naming his 60
acre grant, Burramun. In 1851 the shipwright Benjamin Davis purchased
Burramun, which lies to the east of today’s Davistown Road.
Benjamin subsequently sold portions of his land to his shipwright brothers
Thomas, Rock and Edward. The area came to be populated with the Davis’s
and their families, hence the name Davistown.
8) Cockle Channel
9) The Fienberg’s General Store
Messing about in putt-putt boats is an enduring part of
the charm of Davistown. Small vintage wooden boats, typically
driven by 2 ½ to 10 horsepower engines, can often be seen chugging along
Cockle Channel. Beautifully maintained, the putt-putts come together
every year in a regatta during October, with activities held on the water
and Davistown foreshores. Here, enthusiasts mutter about Chapman Pup’s,
Blaxlands and Vincos, and admire boats with names like Cockle Queen and
Bal-e-nah. The putt-putts are guaranteed to transport you back to the
glory days of Davistown.
The local general store was the forerunner of today’s
supermarket, and kept communities supplied with a wide
range of everyday commodities. The humble General Store was also often
a place for exchanging news and gossip, for booking theatre tickets and
even buying household insurance. The surviving heritage listed store here
has had many owners. In 1928 you could “make your holiday cheaper by
getting your goods at “Fienberg’s”,they had “everything
you want at city
prices”. Like many General Stores in this area, the owners also rented
furnished cottages for the holiday trade.
Continuing along Illoura Reserve there is a playground for children,
enclosed swimming area and an amenities block decorated by a mural
depicting the history of the locale..
Davistown Illoura Reserve Walk Map
on the map.
along the walk, containing additional information about the area.
We hope you enjoy your walk and after you finish, the Davistown
.S.L club look forward to seeing you for a refreshing beverage
or delicious meal before you return home.
For connecting CityRail services
from Sydney and Newcastle to
Woy Woy station please refer to the cityrail timetable, which can
be obtained from your local station or by visiting the website at
www.cityrail.info or you can call 131500. As
check with CityRail for further details.