Heritage – Back to Bulli Celebrations -1989

In 1989 the Bulli Township Committee organised a fantastic “Back to Bulli” celebration.  Joan Adams (nee Callcott) and Kerrie Christian (nee Adams) prepared a family tree and story for the celebration’s historic displays …. read on…

The Hicks Family – 1830 to 1989

The Hicks family, who were farmers for many years, have been associated with Wollongong’s northern suburbs since 1830. Evidence of the Hicks family in the northern suburbs can still be seen in the various streets and creeks named after the family. And today there are eleven fourth and fifth generation descendents of James Hicks still living in Bulli, Woonona and Thirroul.

In 1830 James Hicks (Jnr), then resident of the Windsor district, applied to Sir Ralph Darling, Governor of NSW, for a land grant of 50 acres adjoining Broker’s Estate, ie near Russell Vale Golf Course and South Bulli Mine. However it was not until 1842 that the Hicks family took up residence at the South Bulli property. They did not remain there for long. In 1843  James purchased “Sidmouth”, the 300 acre estate of Captain Robert Westmacott at North Bulli (now Austinmer). Captain Westmacott is best known for his part in finding a route down the escarpment in the northern suburbs – the Bulli Pass – which was then known as Westmacott’s Pass. Westmacott had unfortunately been bankrupted by disastrous speculation in coal mining.

Later, (pre 1860 ?), James Hicks was to play a part in bringing other families to North Bulli when he subdivided the “Sidmouth” estate into farm and orchard lots of 40 acres. These families included the Fords, Carricks, Dalys, Mitchells, Maddens and Hopewells.

The Hicks family played an early role in various community activities – in 1890 James’s son Henry Thomas, was made honorary captain of the Bulli-Woonona Rifle Company. Around the turn of the century, members of the Hicks family participated in sporting activities in the northern suburbs, including cricket and soccer.

The Hicks family were also involved in the early schools in Bulli, North Bulli (Austinmer) and Robbinsville (Thirroul). James Hicks served on the North Bulli Public School Board from 1867, and his son Captain Henry Thomas Hicks JP, from 1868. Henry also presided over the opening of the Robbinsville (Thirroul) Public School on 24th May 1989. Henry’s daughter, Ida McKenzie Hicks, taught at Bulli Public School in 1901. And in 1922, her husband, Arthur Webb, constructed the two room building at Bulli Public School, which is now the oldest remaining part of the school.

Further south, Fairy Meadow Public School had been established by a number of early Balgownie-Fairy Meadow area residents, including the family of Henry’s wife, Mary Ann- viz the McKenzies, who had emigrated from the Isle of Skye in Scotland in 1837.

Although Henry Thomas Hicks lived in Thirroul, on the family farm, which bordered Seaview Terrace, Fords Rd and Hicks Rd, he also played an active role in the Bulli area. In the 1880’s he was one of the first wardens of St Augustine’s C.E in Park Rd Bulli. Several stained glass memorial windows for Henry Thomas Hicks and other family members can be seen in the church – and since the 1880’s members of the Hicks family have been baptised, married and buried there. The four generations of Hicks buried at St Augustine’s include James Hicks, Henry Thomas Hicks, Edith Florence Joy (nee Hicks) and Mary Constance Callcott (nee Joy).

Edith Florence Joy, who was buried there in 1958, had lived in Soudan St Thirroul – her home was subsequently purchased by the parents of current Wollongong City Council alderman, Brian Tobin of Woonona.  The last Hicks descendent to be buried at St Augustine’s was Mary Constance Callcott – in 1960. Mary’s mother-in-law, Lucy Callcott (nee Midson), a great-grand daughter of first fleet convicts, is still remembered as “old Mrs Callcott” who played the organ at St David’s C.E. Thirroul. And Mary’s father-in-law, Alfred Freeman Callcott, was the real estate agent who rented the cottage “Wyewurk” to the author D.H. Lawrence. Wyewurk was then owned by his sister-in-law Beatrice Southwell (nee Midson). Lawrence used the family name “Callcott” in his novel “Kangaroo” – a novel in which various places in Bulli, including the Sandon Point coal jetty, are described in detail.

Four generations of the Hicks family have married at St Augustine’s, including Edith Florence Joy (nee Hicks), Mary Constance Callcott (nee Joy), Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott) and Daryl James Adams. The most recent marriage, that of Daryl James Adams to Jennifer (Jenny) Gail Green, took place in January 1986. Jenny’s family have also been part of Bulli’s heritage. Green’s Pinch on Bulli Pass is named after Jenny’s great great grandfather, Bill Green, who lived on a farm on the Pass. Jenny’s grandfather, Harold Victor Green, was a well known publican of the Royal Hotel, later Hoopers, at Woonona from the 1930’s tp 1960’s. Harold and his son, Jenny’s father Jack Green, were actively involved in the Bulli Trotting Club. Both served on the Committee and were made Life Members – with Harold serving as President in the 1950’s.

During the 1950’s-1970’s, twelve of the fifth generation of James Hicks’ descendents were born in the Bulli Hospital maternity ward (since closed in 1988 by the IAHS). Three of the fifth generation attended Bulli Public School, and nine of the fourth and fifth generation were educated at Bulli High  School. The most recent were cousins Mark Joy and Marissa Risk. Their second cousin, Julie Maree Lock Lee (nee Adams), served as girls school captain in 1973, and Julie’s sister, Kerrie Anne Christian (nee Adams), appeared on the Honour Roll for 1972.

Following in the footsteps of Captain Henry Thomas Hicks J.P.,  his great grandchildren and great great grandchildren have continued to be involved in community activities in Bulli in recent years. Ken (William) Joy, and sons Grant and Mark, have been part of Bulli Surf Lifesaving Club. Ken’s sister Margaret Risk (nee Joy), was an active member of the Bulli Kennel Club. Her daughter, Julie Risk, now continues that involvement as a kennel judge. Their second cousin, Kerrie Anne Christian (nee Adams), former Bulli resident and now NIRAG member, helped prevent coal bins being built at Sandon Point several years ago; and was narrowly defeated as the Active Community Team candidate in the 1989 Wollongong Council aldermanic city-wide by-election across over 100,00o resident voters.

Today, Kerrie’s mother, Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott) is the unofficial keeper of records for the Wollongong descendents of James Hicks. Joan regularly corresponds with distant cousins from as far away as Cairns in an effort to piece together the Hicks family history. Although the Hicks family members are now widely scattered, they still retain a strong interest in their family’s heritage and in the protection of the heritage of Bulli and Wollongong’s northern suburbs generally. It is hoped that in 1992 that family members will be able to attend the 150th anniversay of the arrival of the Hicks family in Wollongong’s northern suburbs.

2012 Postscript.

Well, we never did get to hold that 150th celebration. However at Joan Adams (nee Callcott) 80th birthday celebrations in October 2012, and at her funeral in Parsons Funeral Chapel Bulli in November 2012, we honoured the 170th anniversary of our Hicks family in the northern Illawarra and the 175th anniversary of the arrival of our McKenzie family from the Isle of Skye Scotland.

Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott) was an active member of the Northern Illawarra Stroke Recovery Group and was awarded Life Membership by NSW Stroke Recovery in 2010. Joan was also an active member of the Woonona Bulli RSL Laurel Club, plus War Widows Guild and Legacy.

And since 1989 we’ve seen interment of the ashes of Ross Adams, husband of Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott) at St Augustine’s Bulli – with Joan’s soon to follow. The ashes of Lola Elspeth Callcott (nee Martin) wife of Ian McKenzie Callcott, and their son, Ian Craig, have also been placed at St Augustine’s Bulli. Taking it to six generations laid to rest there.

We have also seen the baptism of Clare May Adams, daughter of Daryl James and Jenny Adams (nee Green) at St Augustine’s in 1991.

Daryl’s sister, Kerrie Anne Christian, was elected as an Alderman-Councillor, and faithfully served the Northern Illawarra on Wollongong City Council from 1991 till 2004. She also served as Patron of a number of organizations, including the Bulli Show Society. Interestingly we have now discovered that Henry Thomas Hicks was an alderman on the North Illawarra Council in the 1890’s and in the decade following his son Alexander Henry Hicks became the Mayor of the North Illawarra Council.

Katrina Elise Christian (daughter of Kerrie), Clare May Adams (daughter of Daryl), and the children of Marissa Hando (nee Risk) are now the seventh generation of their family to have lived in the Northern Illawarra since 1842.

Katrina Christian has also  continued the Hicks’ sporting tradition in soccer and cricket in the northern Illawarra. She has played for both Thirroul Junior Soccer Club (as goal keeper in final and grand final matches), and briefly for the Northern Suburbs Cricket Club. Katrina has also been an active member of Girl Guides in Thirroul, Fernhill and Gwynneville. She has recently achieved the Queens Girl Guiding Award, which is to be presented by NSW Governor, Marie Bashir at NSW Government House in November 2012, after having previously achieved the Junior Baden Powell and Baden Powell Awards.

And with interest in the Hicks family history being shown by Illawarra descendents of James Hicks, ie  Kerrie and Katrina Christian, Daryl and Clare Adams, plus Brad and Leah Coussens, and Alana Savell, it means that there can be confidence that the stories,cherished and passed along by Joan Lois Adams (nee Callcott), look certain to continue.

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