Postcode: 2533 | Location: 114 KM From Sydney
Jamberoo is a village approx 11 km inland from Kiama on the
South Coast of New South Wales in the Municipality of Kiama. At
the 2016 census, Jamberoo had a population of 1,636. The town's
name is derived from an aboriginal word meaning 'track'. It is
well known for the Jamberoo Action Park, Jamberoo Hotel (Pub)
and the local dairy-farming community. The Australian Illawarra
Shorthorn cattle breed originated in here. It is the birthplace
of politician Joseph Cullen.
European history in the valley began in the early 19th century when the cedar-cutters moved through the rainforests gathering this valuable timber. Pioneer settlers followed in the early 1820s with William Davis receiving the first land grant in 1821, followed by John Ritchie and John Cullen shortly afterwards. Michael Hyam was a property owner by the late 1830s and he laid out the private village of Jamberoo in 1841. The Main South Coast Road formed the northern boundary of his village and at the western end of the town he gave out lots for Protestant Churches. The Presbyterian church of St Stephen stands on the original lot. The Methodist church around the corner in Wyalla St is now the Uniting Church and still hosts services, while the land given to the Church of England, now Anglican Church of Australia has been sold off and the Anglican Church is located north of Hyams Creek on Tates Hill. The old Presbyterian, Anglican and Uniting cemeteries are still located on the original lots, although they have been closed to burials since at least the 1920s.
A sign outside the only fuel station in Jamberoo proclaims the town as the birthplace of co-operative dairy production in Australia. The first co-operative butter factory in Australia was begun at Jamberoo in 1884 adjacent to the old Main South Coast Road (now Jamberoo Road), 2 km from the Princes Highway and just west of Spring Creek and the monument marking the old toll gate. The location is better described as Kiama. An obelisk marks the spot. In time, there were other butter factories: Woodstock and Wauchope which became the main factory in Factory Lane to the east of the town.
Jamberoo sits at the western end of Minnamurra Swamp, known locally as The Swamp. The Minnamurra River flows from Minnamurra Falls along the northern side of the swamp. Just east of the old butter factory on Factory Lane the river enters a man-made channel that keeps the river flowing on the northern side of the swamp; the original channel meandered through the broad eastern end of the swamp before crossing Swamp Road and running along the south side of the swamp. In times of high tide and high rainfall, the river resumes its old course closing Swamp Road.
The valley of Jamberoo and the Minnamurra River is steep-sided and reasonably narrow. As a result, the town and valley is not subject to the extremes of weather that nearby Albion Park is. This is a significant observation because the climate data for the district is recorded at Albion Park. Local research (unverified) from Jamberoo weather stations suggests that wind speeds in Jamberoo are approximately half that experienced at Albion Park, while rainfall varies significantly depending on the altitude and proximity to the steep valley sides. Air temperature is not as extreme as recorded for Albion Park.
Jamberoo was declared a municipality on 21 November 1890. The butcher's shop in Allowrie Street is the former Council Chamber while the bridge over Hyams Creek that joins the northern and southern sides of the village was opened in 1937 by Mrs Fredericks, Mayor of Jamberoo. Jamberoo is a part of the Municipality of Kiama, State seat of Kiama and Federal seat of Gilmore which, apart from Jamberoo, consists mostly of the metropolitan area of southern Wollongong and Shellharbour.
Jamberoo has a 'self-perception' of being a town of older folk and dairy farmers. However, research undertaken by the Anglican Church in Jamberoo reveals that the most significant age-group bands cover the age groups 40–49, followed closely by 10–19, in turn followed closely by 0–9. The "missing years" of 20–29 and 30–39 are significantly small by comparison, as are the 'golden years' from 50 and over. Further research reveals that the "professional" is the major employment category for Jamberoo workers. The vast majority of workers classed as "professional" are teachers and most of them are women. Their partners/husbands are very often tradespeople or supervisors in trade-related roles. Dairy farmers are a tiny minority as are retirees.
Education in Jamberoo was first provided by the Church of England (now Anglican) on the site of the original grant of land from Michael Hyam. School commenced early in 1842 in a building partly funded by private subscription and government money. After a school teacher left in August 1873, there was talk of converting the school house into a Public School however this did not occur and it reopened in March 1874 with 40 students. The Public School came into operation in January 1878 which led to the closure of the denominational schools.
John Thomas (Tom) Cole was a dairy farmer and stud-breeder born in November 1854 at Jamberoo. He played a leading role in the dairy industry and was involved in local politics.
Sir William Portus Cullen, born on 28 May 1855 – A chief justice and politician: Admitted to the New South Wales Bar Association in 1883. He passed in retirement in 1935.
Solomon Herbert Hyam, born on 16 May 1837 – Produce merchant and politician. He established himself as a wholesale produce merchant, elected an alderman of Balmain (1874) and mayor (1876-1879). Hyam died on 7 November 1901.