Hill 60/ Illowra Battery | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Hill 60/ Illowra Battery

Item details

Name of item: Hill 60/ Illowra Battery
Other name/s: Red Point; Illowra Trig Station; The Hill
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Aboriginal
Category: Historic site
Location: Lat: -34.4866259394 Long: 150.9168733130
Primary address: Military Road, Port Kembla, NSW 2505
Local govt. area: Wollongong City
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT108 DP1013971
PART LOT  DP1146913
LOT1 DP531524
LOT1 DP614555
LOT1 DP706046
LOT2 DP706046
LOT3 DP86079


Comprising the area defined by MM (North) Beach, Hill 60 Park, Boilers Point and Fisherman's Beach.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Military RoadPort KemblaWollongong City  Primary Address
Gloucester BoulevardPort KemblaWollondilly  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Wollongong City CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

Hill 60 and its environs (MM Beach, Boilers Point, Fisherman's Beach and Hill 60 Park) contains a rare suite of Aboriginal sites which demonstrate the evolving pattern of Aboriginal cultural history and the Aboriginal land rights struggle. The quality, extent and diversity of the prehistoric archaeological remains at this place are rare on the NSW coast particularly in the local region. These include extensive shell midden deposits rich in stones, artifacts and burials (Dallas, 2000).

There is demonstrated cultural affiliation with the place by the Aboriginal community, through near continuous occupation of the place, a history of struggle to gain land tenure and ongoing association and use of the place. The historic Aboriginal occupation was characterised by a relatively isolated and self sufficient Aboriginal community that participated in the economic maintenance of the wider community by the provision of labour to local industry and produce (seafood's) at a commercial level. The people also maintained a culturally distinct Aboriginal lifestyle firmly based on the maintenance of family connections over the wider region and traditional economic practices (ibid, 2000).
Date significance updated: 08 Jan 02
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Physical description: Hill 60 Park is dominated by the rocky headland of Boilers Point and the sheltered embayment of Fisherman's Beach. Hill 60 rises steeply above Fisherman's Beach to a peak of 71m a.s.l. at which point is situated the Illowra Trig Station. The elevated areas of the park are largely cleared and grassed and contain a public recreational Lookout, car park, access road, walking track, a hang-gliding launch pad and a Coast Guard radar operations unit. There are a number of defence installations, including gun batteries, tunnels, engine houses, search and spotlight positions, communications cabling, defence personal housing and amenities, and local defence earthworks, a transformer site, security post and underground tunnel and installations, on the upper elevations of the Hill and along its side slopes. The peak of Hill 60, in the vicinity of the Illowra Trig Station was subject to considerable landscaping including infilling with coal wash which effectively increased the ground level in that area by several feet. While many of the installations were decommissioned after the war and sold off by the Commonwealth, a number are still in place in the study area to this day.

An established walking track is cut into and traverses the upper elevations of the Hill below the Lookout between the Red Point sewerage treatment site access road and a viewing area on the north facing side of the Hill . The walking track is narrow but well formed with a series of post and rail handrails and wood and metal stake steps. Erosion control measures on the side slope of the Hill above and below the track has included re-vegetation and slope stabilisation. A stepped gravel path links the car park with this viewing area along the western slope of the Hill. An informal walking track traverses the west facing side slopes of the Hill between the lower viewing area and the Playing Fields of the Senior College eventually linking to the Boiler Point car park and walking track. There are a small number of wooden and metal stake retaining steps in the steeper upper portion of the track. The lower portions of the track are totally informal and numerous side tracks criss-cross the vegetated lower slopes. Some of these tracks lead directly to the Fisherman's Beach Access Road and some cross the slope above the playing fields.

The dunes above Fisherman's Beach which form the east facing side slope of Hill 60 are very steep and partially de-vegetated as a result of erosion accelerated by recreational use. Natural vegetation includes some established Banksia and coastal heath but the slopes are heavily infested with bitou bush and lantana. Access to the beach is over these slopes is possible only with difficulty. The sand dunes at the toe of slope at the west end of Hill 60 are support a variety of native and exotic vegetation. There are a number of blowouts in this area which contain extensive evidence of prehistoric Aboriginal occupation. The Aboriginal shell midden and artefact scatters have, in the past, been exposed by erosion and de-vegetation and covered over by aeolian sand. It is most likely they were continuous over these lower sand dunes to the end of Boilers Point but have been bisected by the construction of the Fisherman's Beach access road.

Aboriginal sites previously recorded within and adjacent to the study area comprise the following:
A burial discovered eroding out of midden material at Port Kembla High School: An unregistered burial at the Australian Fertilisers Ltd site to the west of North Beach: A midden containing a wide range of shell species and stone artefacts inclusive of cores and secondarily worked flakes located on the lower slopes of Hill 60 at Boilers Point: A midden site on a small hill in the Red Point sewerage treatment site: A midden with stone artefact scatters eroding out of sand dunes over large exposed areas at the northern end of North Beach.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Boilers Point has been extensively impacted upon by activities associated with the military, including the installation of an Electric Beach Searchlight, an engine room and WWII defensive trenches. Numerous 4WD roads and walking tracks criss-cross the Point. Use of these features has to some extent been limited by the installation of access blocks and a formed formal walking track. Aboriginal midden deposits that were exposed in these features are now being covered over by regenerating grass and heath or have been partially covered by the formal walking track. A watercourse which may have contained a natural spring on the north western side of Boilers Point is now largely re-shaped by the formation of a wetland area and 'frog hollow'. This landscaping has disturbed Aboriginal shell deposits adjacent to this feature. A small sandy beach between MM Beach and Boilers Point contains Aboriginal shell deposits at the interface of the beach and the toe of slope below the watercourse and 'frog hollow'. Other Aboriginal shell deposits are located at the interface of the upper elevations of the rock walls around Boilers Point and the soil deposits on the Point itself. Some of these have been exposed by the military installations on the Point and some by the creation and use of access tracks to these features.

MM Beach has been truncated along its western dunes by the formation of Gloucester Boulevard. The Boulevard is formed and guttered along most of its length. The formed portion to its intersection with Darcy Road also contains a pavement, bus lay-by, car park and cycle track. A short length at the northern end of the road is tarred but contains no kerbs or gutterings. A number of informal sidetracks and turning circles have been formed along the eastern side of the road over the sand dunes. There are a number of 4WD roads and numerous walking tracks between the boulevard and the beach at the northern end of the beach. The southern end of the beach, from the carpark to the end of the beach, is flanked by steep rocky slopes and rocky bluffs which topographically prohibits access to the beach.

There are, or were, a number of military installations located at the northern end of the beach, including a machine gun post , the main command building, a coarse aggregate concrete service trench and gun emplacements. There has been considerable ground disruption associated with these installations and access to them. The middle and southern portions of MM Beach contain a WWII semi-circular brick gun emplacement, stormwater drains, the remains of a possible early jetty and coarse aggregate and swimming baths on a rock platform. Extensive deposits Aboriginal shell midden are located in the dune formations of MM Beach between the rocky headland of the military land and middle portion of the beach. Here the sand dunes have either been massively disturbed by stormwater drain construction or are truncated by rising rocky bluffs and the construction of Gloucester Boulevard.
Date condition updated:30 Jan 13
Current use: Recreation, public use
Former use: Aboriginal land


Historical notes: Pre-history of the Illawarra:
The earliest evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the Illawarra region comes from an archaeological site located within Bass Point, NSW. This shell midden site has been dated to 17,000 years BP. At the time, this site would have been located further inland due to sea level changes and it is approximately 20km south of the subject area. During this time the Five Islands of the current Five Islands Nature Reserve would have been accessible on foot. Lake Illawarra formed 3000 years ago, once sea levels stabilised. Early ethnographic accounts suggest a highly mobile, largely dispersed population of Aboriginal people living in the Illawarra region, with higher population numbers around Lake Illawarra. The Coastal Plains of the region are characterised by a combination of warm temperate and subtropical rainforest communities, interspersed with patches of sclerophyll forest, woodland, estuarine and swamps. These communities supported a range of resources that would have been used by Aboriginal poeples alnog with those coastal resources that would have been available, both for food as well as to fulfil social and cultural needs (Niche, 2015, 6).

The Port Kembla area is the traditional country of the Tharawal-speaking people. Tindale has identified the Tharawal boundaries as being from the south side of Botany Bay to north of the Shoalhaven River, and running inland to the Campbelltown and Camden Area (Attenbrow, 2010, in Niche, 2015, 7). Tharawal people distinguished themselves as Fresh Water, Bitter Water or Salt Water depending on where in the wider language boundary their traditional lands were - the inland hills and valleys, the plateaux and swamps or the coastal plain respectively (DEC, NSW, 2005, in Niche, 2015, 7).

The arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788 was followed the next year by a smallpox epidemic, which spread to the neighbouring regions and, although the exact effects are not known, likely killed over half the Aboriginal population of the areas affected (Organ, 1990, in Niche, 2015, 7).

An overview of historical and ethnographic sources... notes resource gathering, camping and occpuation, laws, customs, ceremonies, burial practices throughout the Illawarra (ibid, 2015, 7).

Hill 60 and Port Kembla have a long and significance Aboriginal history, both pre and post contact. This is reflected in the abundance of Aboriginal archaeology at the site and the ongoing Aboriginal communities (both local and otherwise) attachment to the site.

Colonial era:
Charles Throsby was one of the first Europeans to settle the region, having had a hut and cattle in the area of present-day Wollongong prior to 1816 (Organ and Dale, 1994, in Niche, 2015, 8). In 1816 John Oxley, Surveyor-General, was sent to the Illawarra region to carry out a series of surveys and observations, one of which was to locate areas of land for grants that Governor Macquarie had promised to certain people. On 24 January 1817 five people were issued grants in the region. They were Richard Brooks, George Johnson, Andrew Allen, Robert Jenkins and David Allan (ibid, 2015, 8).

Allan, Deputy Commissary-General of the Colony, received a grant of 2200 acres on 24/1/1817, which he called 'Illawarra Farm'. It was located at Five Islands and included Red Point (ibid, 2015, 8). In 1822 Allan left the colony and leased out Illawarra Farm. An advertisement for it described a 'good cottage and offices, the whole being enclosed, with 200 acres clear and subdivided into excellent paddocks' (Sydney Gazette, 22/6/1824). In August 1826, Captain Bishop, a Magistrate of the Colony, was appointed Commandant, Civl and Military, at the Five Islands. He was dispatched as Captain of the 40th Regiment with a detachment of Foot Troops for the preservation of order. A notice was given that 'all communications respecting the Police of said District are to be to that Officer' (Sydney Gazette, 22/7/1826, 1: The Australian, 5/7/1826, 2). An article in 'The Monitor' newspaper at the time suggested that as more settlers received grants in the area, the cedar cutters found they had less xcedar available to them since many settlers would not permit them to cut cedar on their property. In response, cedar cutters began employing bushrangers to harass settlers. 'The Monitor' claimed that Captain Bishop was sent to Five Islands to deal with bushrangesr and that his very presence would scattere them ('The Monitor', 28/7/1826, 3). It seems his main role was Magisterial as he would settle disputes and deal out sentences. Within five months at Illawarra he had reportedly brought the distict into complete subordination. (Sydney Gazette, 2/12/1826, 3). That month he was removed from the Illawarra and sent to the new settlement at Moreton Bay (Sydney Gazette, 27/12/1826, 2). Dallas (2000, 20) and Organ and Doyle (1994, 19) report that Bishop's post was at Red POint where he established a stockade, however this is not confirmed by any primary sources. Newspaper articles confirm that the posting was at Five Islands, but letters published in 'The Australian' from Bishop and Nansy Woolehan show that he occupired two rooms of a cottage on the property of Andrew Allan (The Australian, 23/8/1826, 2). Allan was one of the first five grantees in the Illawarra distric t. He was not, however, allocated land at Red Point. David Allan was granted the land including Red Point and the present-day Hill 60. It is thus unclear where Bishop was actually posted. If at Red Point, it seems Andrew Allan had taken over David Allan's property by mid-1826. This is possible if the two men were related. Further research and analysis of primary sources is required to confirm occupation of Red Point by Bishop. According to Organ and Doyle (1994, 19) Bishop's official quarters of his original posting were transferred from Red Point to Wollongong in 1829 (Niche, 2015, 9).

In 1828 Illawarra Farm was advertised for sale, comprising 2200 acres, bounded to the north by Tom Thumb's Lagoon to a bend of Allen's Creek, to the west side of a salt marsh, tot he south west by Illawarra Lake and (to) the east by the coast line. It was for sale by the Sherriff's Office as part of the court hearing 'Widow Rowe vs Allen and mother' (Sydney Gazette, 22/2/1828, 1). The following week the sale was postponed until further notice (Sydney Gazette, 26/2/1828, 1)(ibid, 2015, 9).

In the late 1820s the property was sold to Richard Jones who then on-sold it to William Charles Wentworth. Under Wentworth the property was renamed 'Five Islands Estate'. In 1843 it was advertised to let as 2200 acres, 120 of which had been cultivated, with the right to an adjoining Government Reserve of 2000 acres. Several small portions of the land were being let (Sydney Morning Herald, 5/9/1843, 3)(ibid, 2015, 10).

Wentworth died in 1876 and his son, D'Arcy Bland Wentworth inherited Five Islands Estate. The construction of Port Kembla Harbour required resumption of 500 acres of land from the estate in 1899 and in 1913 a further 1470 acres of land was resumed for the harbour works (Wollongong City Libaries, 2015 Warrawong)(ibid, 2015, 10).

With development of the coal mines at Mount Keira, the Port Kembla harbour and growing industry in the area, a portion of the Five Islands Estate was resumed for Port Kembla township on 1/9/1900. Soon after on 1/5/1905 a smelting company was also established on land within the estate. From the 1900s onwards parcels of Wentworth's Five Islands Estate were sold for industry or resumed for public infrastructure, not only for the harbour and the township, but for roads and, in 1909, for Defence purposes (ibid, 2015, 10).

In November 1922, D'Arcy Bland Wentworth died without heirs and his nephew, William Charles Wentworth III inherited what remained of Five Islands Estate (Brisbane Courier, 18/11/1922, 6; Wollongong City Libaries, 2015, Warrawong)(ibid, 2015, 10).

Military history of Hill 60 Reserve (1901-1945):
A desire for a more effective military defence was one of a number of reasons that led Australia to form a federation in 1901. Australia was keenly aware that it was a vast country with a sparse population and, as a nation, felt vulnerable and incapable of defending itself. The colony was located on the other side of the world from its British origins and was rich in agricultural lands and resources. Fears of foreign invasion surfaced at various times during the 19th century (Dibb, 2006, in Niche, 2015, 13).

The first Defence Act was created in 1903. The Australian Army and Commonwealth Naval Force were created by the Australian Government and vantage points for military observation points and potential fortifications were acquired for the defence of the nation. The strategic importance of a hilltop overlooking the harbour at Port Kembla was quickly recognised. Port Kembla was rich in coal - a valuable resource - and three large mining companies operated in the Illawarra area. In 1900 the Port Kembla Harbour had been built with two large jetties and reclaimed land to service coal production. Hill 60 was land acquired by the Commonwealth under the Lands Acquisition Act 1906 for purposes of Defence at Port Kembla. The acquisition wsa dated 21/6/1909 and authorised by Governor-General Dudley. Once Hill 60 was acquired, little was done with it for Defence purposes. The land had always been occupied by the local Aboriginal community and had been reported as an 'Aborigines camp' (Dallas, 2000, 31). After military acquisition, it continued to be occupied by Aboriginal people who had 'maintained a connection to that land for thousand(s) of years' (Dallas, 2000, 31)
The threat of attack in Australia was not strong enough to develop defences on the land at Hill 60 (ibid, 2015, 14).

Aboriginal people continued to live at Hill 60 throughout World War 1. In the late 1920s there was a push to exile the Aboriginal community and newspapers reported a concern by the local Council for preserving the natural landscape of Hill 60. In 1928 a motion to remove all persons living on the Military Reserve at Hill 60 was put forward by Alderman Jarvie and carried. He claimed that the natural herbage was being destroyed by stray cattle, which in turn would cause sand drift and that all buildings on the site should be removed (Illawarra Mercury, 16/3/1928, 11). There was opposition to this, as the Progress Association agreed to protest against the Council's intention to vacate all Aboriginal people (South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus, 1/11/1929, 15). Presumably this local opposition bought the Aboriginal community a little more time at the site (ibid, 2015, 14).

The importance of Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong as industrial centres was recognised in defence policy as early as 1935. Prior to the outbreak of World War 2 the coastal defences were prioritised at Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Freemantle as they were considered easy coastal targets for attack. However the policy emphasised that the greater part of the Australian Army were to concentrate on the Newcastle, Sydney and Port Kembla areas. Defences at Port Kembla therefore relied on the Army's ability to quickly mobilise during an emergency (Wilalrd, 1989, 23)(ibid, 2015, 14).

When war broke out in 1939 Australia had become more independent from Britain than in World War 1 and therefore had greater control over its war-time efforts. On 27/9/1939 a War Cabinet formed to oversee the war effort and defence in Ausgtralia (Kass et al, 2006, 2-8). It was the supreme command from 1939-41 and controlled all Commonwealth government departments (Kass et al, 2006, 2-9, in ibid, 2015, 14).

In September 1940 it was reported that Port Kembla was being supplied with electricity and an extension of Council's electrical mains had been carried out from Reservoir Street to Hill 60 to supply military authorities (Illawarra Mercury, 27/9/1940, 8). Also a new Military Road was being surveyed, intended to allow access to the Port Kembla defence locations via a safer inland route. The Crown Plan for the road shows a number of buildings on its alignment which required demolition, including cottages and a brick surf club and closure of part of the earlier Military Road. It seems, however taht this new section of Military Road linking to Hill 60 was not officially constructed until after the war as part of an unemployment relief scheme (ibid, 2015, 14-15).

In April 1941 a report on defence of Port Kembla by Lt.Col. W.J.Estall idtenfiied six points of vulnerability in the district to coastal attack (on 26/3/1941 SS Millimumul had been sunk through enemy action off the NSW coast). Two of these six points of vulnerability were part of the Hill 60 site and were described as:

2. Red Point: ... owing to the steep sides and rocky foreshore the southern face of Red Point could not be used by A.F.V.S, but only by infantry, armed with L.M.Gs (light machine guns) or M.M.Gs (medium machine guns);

3. Red Point Beach: ...the only still water beach on the front under consideration, being screened from the open ocean by Perkins Island...this land to the rear of the beach rises steeply to the top of Hill 60 (Illowra Trig). An enemy landing on this beach with A.F.Vs (armoured fighting vehicles) would only have two courses open to him:
a) attempt to scale the hill behind which would be difficult;
b) advance to the north along the beach and work his way on up to the level ground lying west of point 915406...

The appreciation noted the likelihood of two types of enemy attack on Port Kembla: one of magnitude whereby the military should have 7 days of warning of a raid without warning with the object of destroying vital industries (shipping port, which in 1936 was used by 551 vessels with a value of cargo of over 3 million British pounds). The coal industry remained strong and Australian Iron, Steel and Metal Manufacturers at Port Kembla played a significant role in Australia's wartime efforts...the steelworks at Port Kembal was only one of two in the nation and produced the steel needed for machinery and equipment as well as non-ferrous metals needed for equipment such as electrical cable, bullets, shells. Local coal was required to provide power (Kass, 2010, 126, in ibid, 2015, 16).

The Breakwater Battery was completed in 1941 and under the command of Lt. H.G. Morton. This Battery, the Illowra Battery at Hill 60 and the Drummond Battery were to become a linked network called the 'Kembla Fortress'. The Breakwater Battery was initially the headquarters. It was primarily used as a training facility for the Volunteer Defence SErvices (VDS). They comprised men who were 45-plus, too old for regular servgices and many of whom had served in World War 1...The 13th Garrison Battalion were men from the VDC and they serviced the 'Kembla Fortress'. They camped at Port Kembla to undergo 21 days of training (likely to have been at Breakwater Battery) after which they were organised into platoons to service the Port Kembal defence posts (ibid, 205, 17).

Coastal defence preparations accelerated and Australia's independence from Britain became urgent when Britain's great naval base at Singapore fell after Japan's entry into the war in late 1941 and their rapid advance southward towards Australia. Prime Minister Curtin appealed to the United States seeking help to defend Australia. America responded by sending armed forces to Australia (Kass et al, 2006, 2-3). However Australia also had to set up defence points along the coast, with command and control points that acted as headquarters. Control centres were established at Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong (Robertson & Hindmarsh, 2006, vol.2, 11, in ibid, 2015, 17).

On 26/12/1941 additional coastal defences in the Newcastle to Sydney to Port Kembla area were ordered by a secret telegram resulting in construction of the battery at Illowra (Hill 60). A radar was set up at Illowra and worked in conjuncction with the battery. The ports of Port Stephens, Newcastle, Sydney and Port Kembla were protected by large groups of batteries. Each had a series of structures: gun emplacements, section posts, searchlight posts, command posts, fortress observation posts, magazines, power generators, water suppliers, land defence networks, etc. Each was designed to suit the topography and geology of the particular site, although common design principles were used (Robertson & Hindmarsh, 2006, vol. 1, 183, in ibid, 2015, 17).

Anti-aircarft guns and search lights arrived on Hill 60 in December 1941. In 1942 Hill 60 became the control centre of 'Kembla Fortress'. The 13th Garrison Battalion patrolled the whole area from Lake Illawarra to Tom Thumb Lagoon (Herbent, 2000, 45, in ibid, 2015, 17).

A requisition issued on 13/1/1942 to construct emplacements for heavy coastal guns in the eastern command, which included Illowra Battery. Funding of 50,000 pounds was authorised. Supplies of surplus naval 6" guns were converted into coastal batteries, creating the 6" Mk. XI gun on a P Mk. 6A mounting. These were eventually stationed at Signal Hill battery in Sydney and at the Breakwater and Illowra Batteries at Port Kembla (ibid, 2006, vol.2, 65, in ibid, 2015, 17-18).

On 19/1/1942 a secret memo was sent informing that rear protection shields for these guns be of concrete rather than originally intended steel. Guns were to be installed with (at Illowra) a 3 pounder gun at the Southern Breakwater and accommodation for 11 officers, 42 sergeants, 225 O.R. Requirements were 'mssing, kitchen, officers, recreatuion, latrines, ablutions and stores to be built, and in 'cottage' formation. Sleeping to be in well-dispersed and camouflaged tents'. On 19/2/1942 Japanese air raids on Darwin commenced, making installation of such guns and searchlights and HQ facilities at Illowra all the more pressing. It was around this time that all the Aboriginal poeple who lived at Hill 60 were evacuated for defence purposes. To ensure they left and did not return, their houses were burnt to the ground (Wollongong Advertiser, 9/8/2006, 9).

Hill 60, MM Beach and Aboriginal people:
The area of Hill 60 and MM Beach was home to a group of Aboriginal families who continued traditional fishing practices, maintained their cultural attachment to the place by community, built and maintained their houses and maintained connections with family elsewhere on the coast. This area saw the prolonged struggle of the Aboriginal community to remain on traditional lands. The Wadi Wadi community of the south coast region, which includes people who were born and lived in the study area prior to forced removal, have consistently asserted their cultural affiliation to the place.

The relatively isolated and economically self-supporting Aboriginal community maintained good relations and participated in the wider community post contact, through the provision of labour to local industry (in steelworks) and produce (seafood) at a commercial level. They maintained a culturally distinct Aboriginal lifestyle firmly based on the maintenance of family connections over the wider region and traditional economic practices.

A highly successful Aboriginal fishing enterprise was established at the Hill in the late 1800s supplying the local and Sydney market up until WWII. The Hill was used as a fish-spotting lookout providing direction for the boats and netting operation below at Fisherman's Beach. This practice continued a traditional fishing method common along the south coast.

The area of Hill 60 was also an integral part of the network of coastal military installations constructed to protect NSW's two major industrial areas of Newcastle and Port Kembla during WWII, in particular the coal industry, which was vital for the manufacture of iron and steel for the war effort. These installations included gun batteries, tunnels, engine houses, search and spotlight positions, and communications cabling. Hill 60 was also chosen for its 360 degree views of the coast and escarpment.

Hill 60 was listed on the State Heritage Register on 14 December 2001.

MM Beach:
An interpretive plaque for Hill 60/Illowra Battery that was approved in 2016 commemorates 100 years of manufacturing by Metal Manufactures Ltd. (MM) at its Port Kembla plant on Gloucester Boulevarde. Today the company trades as MM Kembla and is synonymous would the famous Kembla brand. MM Beach is the affectionate name locals give the adjacent beach. A number of cottages still stand in Port Kembla that were previously owned by MM and housed former employees. These cottages are part of the rich history that Port Kembla and MM Kembla continue to share. The Australian copper manufacturing industry was born out of wartime necessity. In 1914 Commonwealth Government embargoes on the export of base metals led the Australian mining indujstry to partner with British cable manufacturer BICC Ltd. to forge a local manufacturing industry with the development of a Copper Rod, Wire and Tube manufacturing facility in Australia.

In 1915 an expansive site was chosen at Port Kembla, due to its central lcoation close to raw materials, power, harbour and railway access and a central geographic location. A 28 year old engineer fromt he UK, Harold Greenwood, was chosen to plan and supervise construction of Australia's first rod rolling and wire drawing mill that would provide Australia with local supply of copper wire to service the expanding telephone network and electrification of the railways at the time.

On 22 March 1916, Metal Manufacturers Ltd. was incorporated and foundations for the Port Kembla factory laid. The arrival of plant and equipment from the UK was delayed when the original ship transporting it was torpedoed and sunk in the English Channel.

In 1918, the original Rod and Wire Factory commenced operation with its first official order of 15 miles of hard-drawn bare copper cable from the Sydney City Council. By 1920, the Tube Mill was established to procude copper brasss tubes for use in steam locomotive boilers, ships and general engineering work.

MM Kembla's D Mill holds a place in industrial history as the only tube manufacturing mill in Australia to be operated entirely by women. A wartime manpower shortage int he 1940s led to the Department of Labour and Industry grantnig the company permission to employ female labour from the local community.

By the mid-1950s, 30% of the plant's employees were immigrants, largely from Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece and Germany. Women also continued to feature prominently in the workforce following their wartime working experiences.

This Port Kembla based manufacturing company achieved its centennary in 2016. Its long history is testament to the tight-knit community that exists both in its workplace and the Port Kembla area. Today MM Kembla continues to produce copper tube out of its Port Kembla manufacturing plant for sale across Australia, New Zealand and Asia and provides employment opportunities to residents of the Illawarra and beyond (Interpretive sign, 6/2016).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. (none)-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Processing copper-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Wadi Wadi Aboriginal community of the south coast region, which includes people who were born and lived in the study area prior to forced removal , have consistently and persistently asserted their cultural affiliation to the place. A highly successful Aboriginal fishing enterprise was established at the Hill in the late 1800's supplying the local and Sydney market. The Hill was used as a fish-spotting lookout providing direction for the boats and netting operation below at Fisherman's Beach. This practice continued a traditional fishing method common along the south coast to the present.

The are of Hill 60 and MM Beach was an area on the southern coast of NSW that saw the prolonged struggle of the Aboriginal community to remain on traditional lands. The struggle was characterised by:

1. A relatively isolated and economically self-supporting Aboriginal community that maintained good neighbor relations and participated in the wider community. This was achieved by the provision of labour (in local steelworks and other industry) and produce (supply of prawns, fish and shellfish on a commercial basis), and maintained a culturally distinct Aboriginal lifestyle firmly based on the maintenance of family connections over the wider region and traditional economic practices.

2. A government bureaucracy at the local level and a white community which had experienced similarly severe deprivations as a result of economic depression in a predominantly working class community which was to some extent sympathetic and alternatively jealous of the Aboriginal communities which had remained relatively successful in 'white terms'.

3. An Aboriginal community that remained resolute in their attachment to important traditional lands in spite of efforts to transplant people to local Aboriginal Reserves.

Aboriginal sites within the area demonstrate the evolving pattern of Aboriginal cultural history and their land rights struggle.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This place exhibits the qualities of an exceptional traditional Aboriginal-fishing environment that required organisation and co-operative endeavours to secure success.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
This place is important to the Aboriginal community for social, cultural and spiritual reasons. The Wadi Wadi Aboriginal community of the south coast region, which includes people who were born and lived in the stud area prior to forced removal, have consistently and persistently asserted their cultural affiliation to the place. The place has evidence of prehistoric occupation in the form of significant and extensive shell middens and camp sites. The place was home to a group of Aboriginal families who continued traditional fishing practices, maintained their cultural attachment to the place by community, built and maintained their houses and maintained connections with family elsewhere on the coast. The site has particular importance in representing a focal point of the Aboriginal communities' ongoing efforts to secure recognition of tenure.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW's Aboriginal cultural history, occupation patterns, stone tool technology and burial practice.

The archaeological research potential and educational value of the Aboriginal occupation sites (shell middens and artefact deposits) is extremely high. The middens are extensive and retain stratified in situ remains of occupation of a diverse nature. The place has in the past been used as a burial site. The likelihood of further buried humans remains is high.
SHR Criteria f)
The place is a rare example of an Aboriginal community successfully maintaining traditional affiliation and a group presence at this place continuously throughout the modern era until forced removal in 1942. It is unusual in that this took place in a fast developing urban coastal setting. The richness and diversity of the prehistoric occupation remains is rare in the local and regional context.
SHR Criteria g)
The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of Aboriginal coastal occupation including dispossession and the struggle for land rights.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0149214 Dec 01 19010038
Potential Heritage Itemfrom World Wars thematic study 02 Feb 09   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAHMS2013Due Diligence Advice MM Beach, Port Kembla
WrittenMary Dallas2000Hill 60 Port Kembla Conservation Management Plan
WrittenNiche Environment & Heritage2015Hill 60 Reserve, Port Kembla NSW Conservation Management Plan - Supplementary Report
TourismTourism NSW Hill 60 Lookout View detail
TourismWollongong City Council2007Hill 60/ Illowra Battery View detail
WrittenWollongong City Council2015Hill 60 Reserve Landscape Master Plan

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5052361
File number: EF10/20260; H00/271

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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