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Darkes Forest

Parish: Southend
County: Cumberland

Darkes Forest is about three kilometres west north west of Flat Rock Junction and about one kilometre north of Darkes Forest Park. It crosses the local government areas of Wollongong and Wollondilly.

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Local communities of Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants and Traditional Custodians of Illawarra Land. Their dialect is a variant of the Dharawal language.

Before European settlement, the Aboriginal people of the region lived in small family groups with complicated social structures and close associations with specific areas.

Suburb boundaries do not reflect the cultural boundaries of the local Aboriginal community.

Traditional Custodians today are descendants of the original inhabitants and have ongoing spiritual and cultural ties to the Land and waterways where their ancestors lived.

1844Convict gangs make rapid progress on a new road from Bottle Forest to Chippendale's grant (behind Bulli), with Surveyor Darke in charge (The ups and downs of the early roads to Wollongong 1815-1888, LR388.1 MAR)
1845Surveyor Darke completes a survey of the Bottle Forest to satisfy enquiries about the land (The ups and downs of the early roads to Wollongong 1815-1888, LR388.1 MAR)
1892About 20 families living in the locality (Illawarra Index)
1892Thrice weekly mail introduced in July (Illawarra Index)
1911Best apples of last season grown in the area (Trove)
1915Local orchardist donates apples to make jam for soldiers (Illawarra Index)
1932Local farmers work with Bulli Shire Council to construct a causeway over road (Trove)
1952Bushfires in the area (Illawarra Index)
1957Deepest ventilation shaft in southern coalfields opened for Coalcliff Colliery (Illawarra Index)
1963Area to be served by a new remote control power sub-station being built at Bellambi Creek near Mount Ousley Road (Illawarra Index)
A.O.G-Kern drilling teams begin exploring for oil in May, but abandon the search in July (Illawarra Index)
Homes lost to bush fires (Illawarra Index)
Coalcliff Colliery expands, building new offices in the area (Illawarra Index)
1983NSW Premier Mr Wran mentions Darkes Forest in relation to a second Sydney airport (Illawarra Index)
1998Darkes Forest Woolshed, which opened five years previously, begins catering for wedding receptions (ProQuest)
The area receives 271mm of rain in three days (ProQuest)
2000Glenbernie Orchard, operated by the Fahey family since the 1950s, receives the Heritage & Cultural Tourism Award at the Illawarra & Southern Highlands Tourism Awards, having commenced formal tours and fruit picking for tourists three years previously (ProQuest)
2000Darkes Forest Riding Ranch has been in operation for 31 years; owned and run by the Read family for the last 22 years (ProQuest)
Mission Australia begins its 'Willing workers on organic farms' project at the Honeycomb Lodge hobby farm (ProQuest)
Grant received to construct a new walkway to Maddens Falls (ProQuest)
2007Apex Energy applies to undertake a $7.5 million exploration program to drill up to 50m below the seams in northern Illawarra (ProQuest)
2007Equine influenza infects properties at Darkes Forest and Helensburgh (ProQuest)
Dharawal area elevated to national park status to protect it from coal seam gas exploration (ProQuest)
2012Apex Energy's plans to drill exploratory bore holes hindered by expiry of license (ProQuest)

Do have historical information, family stories or photographs of Darkes Forest ?

We welcome donations of historical and recent material about our region, as long as there are no restrictions on how material can be used.

Contact our Local Studies team to discuss a donation in person, by phone on (02) 4227 7415, or by email.

Top image: Farm of Captain Rice at Darkes Forest. See image details on our catalogue