The name Kiama is from the aboriginal word Kiaram-a, to which some sources give the meaning "Where the sea makes a noise" as reference to the famous Kiama Blowhole. For a history of Aborigines in the Kiama area visit the Kiama Library web site.
The first recorded reference to the district was by George Bass who anchored his 28ft whaleboat in the sheltered bay (now known as Kiama Harbour) in December 1797. Cedar getters were the first to the area, among those was David Smith, who became the first permanent white settler when he built a residence in Kiama in 1832.
The site of Kiama Township was reserved by the Government in 1826 and proclaimed in 1836. Kiama was proclaimed a Municipality in 1859. In the 1870's the dairying industry was supplemented by basalt (blue metal) quarrying, now one of the district's major income earners alongside tourism. Many of the historical buildings can still be viewed in the township.
The Pilot's Cottage Museum is situated on Blowhole Point adjacent to the Visitors Centre, this beautifully restored cottage operates as a Maritime and Regional Museum is run by the Kiama & District Historical Society. Detailed pictorial records of Kiama's colourful past can be seen including cedar getters, the basalt quarrymen and shipping history.
Exciting News a new Exhibition on Charmain Clift is now on at the Pilot's Cottage Museum
Jamberoo Valley was settled in the 1820's when it abounded in dense vegetation and rainforest. Clearing of the land over the years gave way to grazing runs and dairying and it is reputed to be the home of the famous "Illawarra Shorthorn" cattle.
Some seven cemeteries are to be found throughout the village which still retains many of its old buildings including Churches, country pubs and schoolhouse.
Historic homes from the 1800's add charm to the township of Gerringong. The orignal Police Station and several churches are also still viewable.
Pick up a copy of our "Heritage Walks" brochure, which covers Kiama, Jamberoo & Gerringong from the Kiama Visitor's Centre on Blowhole Point. For a further look into our local history visit the Gerringong Heritage Museum or Pilot’s Cottage Museum.