Whispering Gully – Photo of the day
- Whispering Gully
This is one of the images from the Tyrrell Collection that was taken on the NSW South Coast. At the bottom of the photo there is written ‘1785. Whispering Gully, Shellharbour. Kerry. Photo: Sydney”. Research by the local studies librarians from the Wollongong City Library indicates however that the correct name of the place shown on this photograph most likely is Whispering Gallery. Wollongong Library has in its collection not only a postcard with the same photograph, but also another photograph (part of the Weston Collection) depicting the same location and titled Whispering Gallery.
A search on the Geographical Names Board of NSW shows that the name “Whispering Gallery” was formally assigned to “’a locality about 2 km WSW of Gooseberry Hill locality and 4 km SE of Tullimbar” in 1996 but the term “Whispering Gallery” appears in the local papers as early as 1872. The article in Illawarra Mercury on the 10th of May 1872 reads [Whispering Gallery] “is on a creek which runs through Mr Farraher’s farm, about three miles from Jamberoo, on the bridle path to Shellharbor [sic]. The bed of the creek has been sunk and severed by some convulsion of Nature, so as to leave a deep circular space in which a regiment might bivouac – a cave of some seventy or eighty yards in circumference, and over which there flows a stream of water that falls in a cascade into the abyss below, and escapes from it by a broken valley leading towards the sea. The walls of this cave are many feet in depth, and so smooth that a whisper can be heard from one end of the circuit to the other (…)”.
In the following years Whispering Gallery was mentioned in the local newspapers on several occasions as a tourist attraction worth calling on whilst visiting Kiama’s Blow Hole or Minnamurra Falls (e.g. Kiama Reporter, 1887 & 1927; Sydney Mail 1872; Kiama Independent & Daily Telegraph 1909). Illawarra index on the Wollongong City Library shows detailed records of those publications.
For me the most eye-catching feature of this photograph is striking disproportion between the trees, rock formations and the two women in the background – they look small, insignificant and barely distinguishable from their surroundings.
Photography by Charles Kerry Studio
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Post by Iwona Hetherington, Rights and Permissions Officer
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