A story behind how the existing railway station Dunmore (Shellharbour) featured in the 2004 book All aboard!: Tales of Australian Railways by Jim Haynes and Russell Hannah.
The story goes that in the mid 1980s David Hill, the one time general manager of the ABC, was chief executive of NSW State Rail.
At the time the station was known simply as Shellharbour.
According to the book David Hill liked to enjoy the joys of train travel from the point of view of an ordinary punter rather than from the pampered luxury of the commissioner’s car.
The story goes, that once a month David Hill would select a destination from the list of stations and travel incognito, checking on staff, service and comfort as he went.
‘‘Inevitably, one day his selection was Shellharbour and thinking this would be a pleasant trip to a seaside resort he boarded the train at Central and enjoyed the scenic trip down the coast,’’ the chapter reads.
‘‘When he reached Shellharbour Station he found himself surrounded by cow paddocks with the straggle of houses on the other side of the road.
‘‘Now David Hill was no dill and he realised that this couldn’t possibly be the resort town of Shellharbour even though the station signs were telling him so – after all he couldn’t even see the sea.
‘‘It was still the days when the railways employed people and there, waiting to collect his ticket, was a 16-year-old junior station assistant.
“Well” says David to the kid; “This clearly isn’t Shellharbour Township”.
“No mate” says the kid (he didn’t know who David Hill was, you see, or he would have called him sir). “This is Dunmore.”
“Well where’s Shellharbour?” asks David.
The kid points up Shellharbour Road and says “its up the road there a bit, just over the hill – it’s about four or five kilometres away.”
“That’s a bit strange,” muses David. “Wouldn’t you have thought that they would have built the station a bit closer to the town than this?’’
Well, the kid looks at David Hill like he’s a bit simple and says; “No mate, it’s much better down here near the railway line.”
Within weeks of David Hill’s visit the station got a name change to Dunmore – Shellharbour.