foxygroundFoxground was originally known as "The Flying Foxes Camping Ground". It is a scenic valley, north of Berry, surrounded by mountains. Curries Hill to the east, Saddleback on the north-east, Jamberoo Mountain on the north and Bong Mountain on the west. The main stream is Broughton Creek which rises in the Barren Grounds near Robertson and flows out by the southern end of the valley to the Shoalhaven River. It seems that the area was named prior to the early settlers and grant holders arriving, possibly by the cedar getters or surveyors.

The roburite explosions in 1890 planned and detonated by the combined forces of the Director of Agriculture, Kiama Agricultural Society and the railways in an attempt to remove the flying foxes that gave the valley its name, would have disturbed the peaceful ambience of this quiet and secluded valley.

John Blow was the first person to take up land in the Foxground Valley, which adjoined the large Berry estate. The Blow family farm started out as 330 acres of dense rainforest. Travel to the farm was via a bullock track, from Gerringong, through Willow Vale and around the southern end of Curries Hill. Floods and heavy rains often prevented these early settlers getting goods to market. The first Blow homestead (like most early settler buildings) was built of split timber slabs and a bark roof, but with developing prosperity, a new home was built, "Willow Glen" and is still standing today.

Foxground families would have been mostly self sufficient with milk, butter, meat, maize, fruit and vegetables. As the local dairy farms developed, butter was made and packed into wooden kegs and transported by horse or bullock on a long journey over Saddleback Mountain to Kiama Harbour. The milk had to be laid out in large flat dishes, skimming off the cream and then churned into butter. The "Dairymaid" steamer began trading from Boat Harbour in 1875, giving Foxground residents a much shorter trip to Gerringong for their salable produce.

There was a strong community in Foxground, with school operating from the 1850’s until final closure in 1950. The last permanent teacher, Mr Kemp, cycled from Gerringong to teach daily. Church services were held in the school house, and then in a weatherboard Wesleyan Church built in 1861 and sold in 1901. In 1873 a Church of England was built and had continuous service until destroyed by fire in 1954. Foxground had a co-operative butter factory built in 1889 with 33 local shareholders. The first milk shipment sent from Foxground to Sydney by train from Gerringong occurred in 1908. A milk depot was built 1917, to cater for the Foxground dairy farmers fresh milk suppliers. The post office also operated out of the Butter Factory, which would have been a community hub for the Foxground residents.

 

 

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