Nowra. On the Shoalhaven River. Tudor Gothic style War Memorial Gates to the Nowra Showgrounds. Built 1931. Architect was Cyril Blacket son of Edmund Blacket the 19th century architect. The sculpture in front was designed by Otto Steen in 1968.
Nowra.The name Nowra comes from a local aboriginal word meaning “black cockatoo.” After the explorers had been through this district and James Berry had take up land at Coolangatta near the estuary of the Shoalhaven River an ex-convict Mary Reibey, who established the bank of NSW and went on to become an extremely wealthy woman, took up land along the Shoalhaven River here. That was in 1824. Mary of course was a businesswoman and would never have lived here as her base was Sydney. Other settlers moved in and in 1852 the town of Nowra was surveyed and gazetted but nothing much developed here until at least 1861 when the first postal service was inaugurated in 1861. Timber, especially red cedar, maize, wheat and even tobacco was shipped from the Shoalhaven River area via Jervis Bay to the markets in Sydney. Over at Coolangatta Alexander Berry had had convict dig the first canal, some 210 metres, in Australia around 1823 to provide access from the Shoalhaven River direct to the ocean. Although Nowra grew slowly today it has around 36,000 people with its twin city of Bomaderry and the broader City of Shoalhaven has 96,000 residents. If you look at the historical walk brochure for Nowra you will see that most old structures date from the 1880s and 1890s. Those were the decades when the following were built: the Police Station (1900); Courthouse (1896); most of the school (1892); Anglican Church (1900); Meroogal House (1886);Wesleyan Methodist Church (1878); School of Arts (1892); Albion Hotel (1880); the former Post Office (1883); Bridge Hotel (1886); Catholic Church (1877); the three storey Empire Hotel (1886); Prince of Wales Hotel (1883); the National Bank (1888). The first church to open in Nowra was St. John’s Presbyterian in 1875. It was designed by John Horbury Hunt who designed buildings at Kangaroo Valley for the Osborne family. The Shoalhaven had its first bridge in 1881 but the railway of 1893 stopped at Bombaderry as there was no bridge for it across the river.