The Bellevue was constructed in 1890 as a residence for  George & Margaret Wood. The Wood family played a significant part in Kiama history. George Wood owned 5 cottages in Minnamurra St and 6 in Devonshire St, all of which are still standing……

Devonshire St is reported to take it’s name from the English county Devonshire, where George Wood was born. Cottages  also built to house workers during the basalt boom included the Collins St Terraces.

The Boxing Day tragedy of 1893. A part of  Kiama history….

The Wood family faced  tragedy in 1893 when their son George Wood (Age 38)  his 3 children Eliza (Age 9) Elsie (Age 7) and Harry (Age 11) together with his sister in-law Miss Charlotte Pike (Age 53), his brother in law Captain Thomas Honey  and sister in law Elizabeth Honey (nee Pike)  all drowned in a tragic boating accident on the Minnamurra River on Boxing Day 1893. The only surviving member of the tragedy was Mrs Mary Wood (nee Pike). Mrs Wood was the daughter of another the well known Pike family. The widow and her daughter Florence (14?) who did not attend the boating expedition were now the only survivors of their immediately family and moved from their residence at Clover Hill to reside with her in-laws at the Bellevue . In another sad chapter to this tragic life her only surviving daughter Florence, who missed the boating trip, never recovered from the shock and died 3 months later of pneumonia. Each Christmas after the tragedy she would lock herself in her room and not exit till the festivities where over. Mrs Wood resided at Bellevue for a further 25 years.  She died on Sept 8, 1932.

Her father Joseph Pike was 1 of 180 convicts on ‘The Claudine’ who arrived in Sydney on Sunday December 6, 1829. Occupation listed as reaps, sows and ploughs. Height 5 feet, 3 inches. He committed the offence of housebreaking . Joseph was originally sentenced to hang but this was subsequently reduced to 14 years transportation to NSW. . He received his ticket of leave in 1836 and  married Mary Talbot, also a convict, who obtained a cloak by deception. Joseph moved to Kiama NSW and became a very successful storekeeper. According to his obituary in the Kiama Independent, he opened the first store in Kiama on Jan 1, 1847. He was also a farmer, landowner and businessman in  Kiama. He was a foundation Alderman of the Municipality of Kiama in 1859, until his death on Dec 5, 1886. He was also elected Mayor of Kiama on four occasions.

**The Weston Family ( Kiama Independent) in 2000 included the story in their Collectors Edition Issue June 2000″Our History in Print” A copy of which can be found at the Kiama Family History Centre underneath Kiama Library

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