Berry township, once called Broughton Creek, was formed around a grouping of farmlets and timber cutters’ dwellings which sprang up as a result of the discovery of the fine cedar trees and grazing country.
Timber was bought from the bush to ships which took the logs to Sydney and beyond for use in the expanding housing markets of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
George Williams Evans was one of the first to be established here and, in 1812 he is quoted as noting optimistically that “this part of the country would make a beautiful settlement”. Others agreed, and soon settlers began to arrive by ship to take up residency and establish farms and other businesses.
Ultimately, at the turn of the 19th Century, the village was named after the Scottish brothers David and Alexander Berry, pioneers forever linked to the Shoalhaven area. As more settlers arrived, a community of hardworking farmsteaders developed.
In 1850, a parson passing through the district positively glowed with praise, “Tis pleasing to pass the number of small farms you see on either side of the road; the possessors of which appear to be independent men, made so by being industrious and expending their labors upon the fertile soil.
“Many of them have cattle and horses, besides their farmsteadings, and those who have been any length of time here possess all that is useful and comfortable in conducting the operations of a successful farm”.
Walk down any of Berry’s main streets today and you’ll see some handsome Victorian buildings, including banks, hotels and a Court House in Victoria Street, now used as a spectacular venue for art exhibitions and boasting a classic garden with water features.
The modern town is an answer to a browser’s prayer with a large number of craft and antique shops as well as galleries, furniture and book shops which cater to all tastes from classics to kiddies.
Berry Monthly Markets are held on the first Sunday of every month at the Showgrounds, the Flea Markets at the Great Southern Hotel each 3rd Sunday and the Annual Show comes around each February.
Wineries in the district include some prolific award winners – names such as Coolangatta, Jasper Valley, Seven Mile, The Silos and Two Figs. Visit them during your tour and sample the produce.
Restaurants here use excellent local produce in season while, for a light meal and cuppa, one cannot pass up the cafes which are forever popular.
While here, take the time to drive up to Cambewarra Lookout on Cambewarra Mountain. From here one may see the Shoalhaven River Basin stretch out in all directions, giving a breathtaking panoramic view of the lush pastures and other villages in the area.