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In 1822 Alexander Berry (see entry on Berry) began the settlement of the district when he obtained a land grant at Mt Coolangatta.

Using convict labour he joined the Crookhaven and Shoalhaven Rivers by having a 209-yard canal dug.

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His five wins were unmatched until Bart Cummings achieved the same feat in the 1970s.That same year the racehorse 'Archer', bred in Braidwood but trained at Terrara by Etienne de Mestre, won the first Melbourne Cup and repeated the feat the following year.Etienne had set up a stud, stables and race track at Terrara in his twenties and held unofficial races that were professionally handled and well-attended.The first church in the district was erected in 1855; an iron-frame Presbyterian building at Numbaa.The first public school in the area was also opened at Worragee.Other local income derives from vegetables, timber, flour, light industry and a large paper mill.Prior to European settlement the area was probably inhabited by the Dharawal Aborigines.They then descended to Broughton Creek and struck out to the coast before returning to Appin.In 1818 James Meehan returned in the company of explorers Charles Throsby and Hamilton Hume.Nowra lies on the southern shore of the Shoalhaven River, while Bomaderry is on the northern bank, east of the highway.With a combined population of 21,942 in 1991 the two towns constitute the largest population centre on the South Coast beyond Wollongong and are rapidly expanding as more and more people move to the area.

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