From the very early days of settlement, sport has played an important part in community life in the Kiama area.
The first recorded sporting event was held on 27th January, 1846, when Menzies of Jamberoo won the Illawarra ploughing match at Dapto.
On 17 July 1858, Kiama Cricket Club was formed. The game was recommended for relaxation but obviously the snake that joined the 1980 Primary School cricket match at Bonaira Street Hockey Field hadn’t heard about this. Unable to make the snake return to its natural habitat, Mr. Nichols, the coach borrowed a cricket bat and reluctantly dispatched it. It must have put the other team off as Kiama won the match.
Fishing was apparently a rather dangerous sport and is probably why it isn’t included in the modern Olympics. On 30th November 1871, Robert Baker Fry went fishing off the rocks near the sea cave just south of Kendall’s Beach and was washed from the rocks and drowned. Friar’s (a corruption of Fry) Cave is named after him. With its wonderful seaside location, the beach features prominently in articles and photographs from the past.
In December 1893, the Kiama Swimming Club was established. The new public baths were completed at the same time and were regarded as one of the finest in the colony, with spring boards and a sluice valve.
On 9th March 1894, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Kiama Football Club held their first meeting at the Brighton Hotel. In July 1903, the first Kiama Golf Club was established on Chapman Point.
March 14 1908 saw the formation of the Kiama Surf Bathers Club - but all swimmers were required to wear neck to knee costumes.
Kiama Cycle Club was established in February 1909, with 40 members. At the time it was formed, the club held road races from Kiama to Jamberoo and back again.
In September 1909, Central Park Tennis Club was established in Kiama and in May 1910, Jamberoo Tennis Club officially opened.
The Kiama Surf Club was formed in December 1911. The role of the Surf Club at that time was to check for anything improper or unbecoming and to regulate surf bathing. In November 1914, Gerringong Surf Club was established. In 1915 it was agreed that ‘the baths and surfing were the greatest pleasure of a holiday in Kiama’.
Certainly the most dangerous and exciting sport was conducted on Seven Mile Beach at Gerringong. More than 2000 spectators came to watch speed trials by the Royal Automobile Club of Sydney in March 1925, and by October 7th that same year, Don Harkness became the first to break the 100mph barrier on Seven Mile Beach. His official speed was 107.75mph. Seven Mile Beach became known as the Gerringong Speedway and it was a popular outing to attend the races. The horse races, previously held on Seven Mile Beach since the 1860’s, couldn’t compete with the speed and excitement of motor.
But perhaps the greatest sporting event almost held in Kiama was the proposed boxing match between aldermen in July 1890. A member of the public attempted to present boxing gloves to a couple of aldermen who were having an altercation and it seemed the only way to solve their problems was a boxing match. His offer was declined and he was ejected from the council meeting.