Carpenter Lane is the new name approved last evening by the Shoalhaven City Council for a laneway that runs off Huskisson’s main street, Owen Street to the grounds of the former Anglican Holy Trinity church graveyard.
This name remembers Mary Carpenter, the ‘queen’ of Aboriginal leader James Golding, aka King Budd Billy II, and it links the line of sight of her burial place in Myola with his burial place in the church graveyard.
When Mary Carpenter died in 1928, she was believed to be about 105 years old.
That means that she knew this part of the world from long before any Europeans came to settle on the banks of the Currambene Creek. The Nowra Leader, 2nd March 1928, recorded that her funeral provided ‘a scene which will live long in the memory of those who were privileged to witness it.
Honoured by all, a kindly and gentle soul, her century long life will remain a fragrant memory in the history of her people and the district at large.’
Many newspapers also recorded her death, including the Sydney Morning Herald. Few, if any Huskisson citizens have achieved this recognition.
While being called ‘Queen’ by the local settler community has colonial overtones, there is no doubt that she was a much loved member of Huskisson’s community.
A postcard of King Budd Billy 11 and Queen Mary, was sent all over the world by visitors to Huskissson and it is arguably one of the most distributed photos from South Coast NSW at the time.
When it was proposed to name this lane in mid-2023, the local community saw a rare opportunity to honour Huskisson’s Indigenous history.
The Huskisson – Woollamia Community Voice recommended the name Carpenter to the Council, supported by the Jerringa Local Aboriginal Land Council and descendants of Mary.
The ‘Voice’ noted that it was regrettable that the NSW Geographic Names Board does not allow double-barrelled names, but to many locals, the lane will probably become informally known as ‘Mary Carpenter Lane’.
She has many descendants in the Shoalhaven and throughout NSW – Carpenters, Wellingtons, Goldings and so on.