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Traditional Custodians of Illawarra Land
Local communities of Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants and Traditional Custodians of Illawarra Land. Their dialect is a variant of the Dharawal language. Before European settlement, the Aboriginal people of the region lived in small family groups with complicated social structures and close associations with specific areas. Suburb boundaries do not reflect the cultural boundaries of the local Aboriginal community. Traditional Custodians today are descendants of the original inhabitants and have ongoing spiritual and cultural ties to the Land and waterways where their ancestors lived.
It is believed that Mount Ousley was named after Ousley Condell who owned land in the area from 1839-43. It is also possible that Mount Ousley was named after an early Methodist preacher called Gideon Ouseley. The Kiama Reporter of 31/1/1900 mentions the death of a John Armstrong and states that he once lived on a government block of land "near Mount Keira" and "was wont to describe services in his father's house by that prince of early Methodist preachers, Gideon Ousley". There is a "Life of Gideon Ouseley" written by William Arthur and published by the Wesleyan Conference Office, London in 1976. A copy of this book is held in the Methodist Historical Society Library in Sydney.
In 1839, five acres of William Wilson's 60 acre grant "at Keira Illawarra" was conveyed to Ousley Condell of Sydney. Wilson's 60 acres was an area immediately west of the Princes Highway at Fairy Meadow and extended from the southern boundary of the parish to Cabbage Tree Lane. The land conveyed to Ousley Condell was "apparently a long narrow block running back to the west of the highway just south of Mount Ousley Road". Ousley Condell owned this land from 1839-43 and it is believed that Mount Ousley was named after him. There is, however, another theory about the origin of the name Ousley.