HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

28 May 2014

Beautiful artwork


Can you tell us who painted this image?
One for the  budding art historians out there?

A small segment
from a beautiful painting in the museums collection.
If you don’t know, I will post the answer and the full painting next week.

The paintings detail, tone and characterisation are beautifully handled.

If you would like to comment you can do so via the link below the post.

Moona Moona under the stars


25 May 2014

Unearthing History

beer-bottle-90-years-old beer-bottle-1916-years-old

Beer, Gin, & Wine.
It appears by the amount of alcohol bottles recovered from around the property it is safe to assume the visitors never suffered from thirst.
Following on from our previous story we can see two more beer bottles unearthed at Croppers Cabins, one clearly marked 1916.
the entrance to Hourigans Inlet Camp

23 May 2014

Mokau and the Croppers Cabins


Today I travelled down to the entrance of Sussex Inlet,to the amazing location of the Croppers Cabins to meet Sonya and her husband Danny.
Sonya was the person who started my investigation into the wreck of the Mokau back in January 2014. Sonya reported seeing the wrecks outline clearly in the shallows near the entrance to the river.  Sonya has lived there for many, many years and had never seen so much of the wreck exposed before.
     From observations today the wreck appears to have been covered in sand again, we were very fortunate to be able to record it’s brief appearance, who knows when it may appear again.


recovered-bottle-1Unearthing history.
The cabins Sonya and Danny own have a fantastic and long history themselves, dating back to the early 1900’s, Sonya had an interesting collection of historical photo’s and papers from those days as well as a large collection of old bottles.
In the early days before plastics, all the food scraps were thrown into the river, all the paper and cardboard was burnt on site and the glass and bottles were buried.
During excavations they have unearthed old bottles of all descriptions, but especially beer bottles.

Blow molded, Richmond Brewery Tiger beer bottle around 1962.

recovered-bottle-2H&A Gilbey Ltd Gin bottle early 1800’s to 1900’s.
photo in front of cabins 1918

Visitors enjoying themselves In front of the cabins 1918, not much has changed

REF: Croppers Cabins
Previous stories including photo’s and video of the Wreck

20 May 2014

Lady Denman collides with Submarine.


DAMAGE TO DENMANOn this day 20th May 1960.
50 years after being launched at Huskisson the Lady Denman was still in service on Sydney Harbour. After successfully crisscrossing the harbour thousands of times full of passengers, she suffered severe damage to her hull after colliding with HMS Anchorite
The collision with HMS Anchorite took place at night, it must have been a frightening experience for all on board, the repairs to the ferry took a week.

hms_anchorite 1_p_422 . HMS Anchorite was an Amphion-class submarine of the Royal Navy, built by Vickers Armstrong and launched 22 January 1946.
. In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
. Anchorite was, in 1960, the 1st RN submarine to visit Tonga since the Second World War.
. Meaning: ( meaning, female: anchoress from Ancient Greek).

ANCHORITEAnchorite was damaged on 3 October 1960, striking an uncharted rock in Hauraki Gulf off New Zealand, The rock is now known as Anchorite Rock on the nautical charts of the area at depth, 16 m, 36°26'S 175°8'E.
The Anchorite was broken up for scrap in Troon Scotland in 1970.
The Royal Navy HMS Anchorite was one of ten submarines stationed in Sydney during the years 1949 to 1969. They were offered to the Royal Australian Navy for training purposes, the flotilla usually comprising 3 or 4 ships. The Anchorite was one of the “A” class (others were Aurochs and Andrew) in service during the period 1957-1960, and they were replaced by the “T” class submarines in 1960

collision with ship trove capture - newspaper article  


Lady Denman Ferry collides with Royal Navy Submarine

trove capture - camberra times On this day May 20 1960 - The Lady Denman collided with the Royal Navy submarine HMS Anchorite.
Full story soon.

Jervis Bay moon rise

This photo was taken at 7.30pm. the normal grayish blue of the moon has been replaced by bright orange and yellow, this was caused by smoke caught in the light offshore wind drifting across the Bay from a reduction burn behind Callala.


19 May 2014

seechange2014 festival.

The museum currently has the seechange 2014 art exhibition running.
I snapped a couple of quick pics of a few of the exhibits.





16 May 2014

Cape St George Lighthouse - Time capture.

Time exposure taken at 1am with a full moon overhead.

SS Mokau.


The fascinating story continues and more relics found.

mokau-sheeting mokau-sheeting-side-two Copper sheeting found recently near the wreck.
The green patina and distortion have made this usually flat featureless metal into something quite sculptural.

We received a letter from Sue Rogers who’s ancestors were at one time owners of the
SS Mokau.
Sue has a book written by her great uncle Jack, below is the letter from Sue as received and the extract from the book.

Sue Rogers.
Hi, I am sorry it took me a couple of days to reply.

It was great to see a photo of the sets and dies that were on the Mokau, I visited my father today and he was very excited to see your website, I will definitely come down to the museum one day, I live near Camden so we are not too far away, last year we had a short holiday at Berrara beach, my daughter and I went for a walk south of the beach, I never realised how close we were to the Mokau.

mokau-sheeting-close-up-of-copper-nails mokau-sheeting-close-up-of-copper-nails-2 Close up of the copper nails used to fix the protective sheeting to the hull.

I have an extract from a book my great uncle Jack wrote about the Mokau:

On April 5, 1904 Barty purchased the ‘Mokau’ (Reg No 112543) from the Taranaki Collieries Ltd. of Sydney. He had a section of extra hull inserted amidships by Rock Davis on April 11, 1904, increasing its length from 98.7 to 115 feet and its registered tonnage from 98.28 to 112.5. This made the vessel more stable and more suitable to carry general cargo. ‘Mokau’ was a single screw steamship, two-masted schooner rigged, built at Balmain by David Drake in 1901 with a wood carvel hull and elliptical stern.

Bartholomew was 65 in 1904, his wife died later that year so his older sons (one son was Dominic (Jack’s father and my great grandfather)).

Bartholomew died in 1910, and I just found a notice in the Sydney Morning Herald 8th July 1919 saying the ship was sold to Messrs Kirton and Earnshaw Ltd

The book also goes on to say :
During these years, some of the vessels were carrying timber to the northern rivers for railway construction linking the towns and cities. They did not know that the construction of the railways would bring about the demise of the shipping industry.

In 1920, B.M. Corrigan’s sons decided to split the company and sold the shipping interests to the NCSNC. The ship chandler business was continued by John Francis Corrigan until April 1st 1928. His widow Lillian and one of her nephews carried on the business until about 1939-40. Dominic Corrigan designed the ship’s flag, which was green and white with the initials BMC on it.

The flag on the painting in the picture is the Corrigan flag.

SS-MOKAU Painting of the Mokau with the flag flying on the rear mast designed by Domonic Corrigan, Sue’s grandfather.

Barty’s story is very interesting (as probably most people’s were in those days, he grew up on a farm in Ireland, worked in an Uncle’s factory in London before obtaining his cousin’s ticket to Australia, as his cousin went to America instead, so he came out to Sydney with his cousin’s name, and worked hard, married his bosses daughter, and slowly built up the company, he also had a partner William Reidy for a while. He had a shipping chandler business on Market and Sussex st Sydney, and the shipping business.

I also found on trove an article in the Hobart mercury on 2 February 1914, and the Sydney morning herald 2/2/1914  where the ss Mokau was involved in a collision with a paddle steamer, the paddle steamer sunk, (passengers and crew survived) with the Mokau not damaged (there was a witness in the  Sydney morning herald from the Tay 1, this ship was also owned by the Corrigans). The captain of the Mokau.

Richard Davis was charged in March that year and had his captains certificate suspended for 3 months, he was also in court in Feburary19 1914 for stealing whisky.

Kind regards
Sue Rogers.

glass-bottle-fragment-and-bubble-2 glass-bottle-fragment-and-bubble This piece of bottle was also found on the sand near the wreck.
It has a large air bubble trapped within the glass.
The glass is quite thick and you can see many small bubbles all trapped when this bottle was hand made.
The glass has a slight greenish tinge to it.

I wonder if there is any air left in the bubble,,,It would be air from 100 years or more ago..it makes you think!

Patina – meaning - A thin greenish layer, usually basic copper sulfate, that forms on copper or copper alloys, such as bronze, as a result of corrosion.

Previous information and stories.
   1 - The Mokau wreck story makes a connection.
   2 - The coastal steamer Mokau – pictures and underwater video of the wreck as it is now.

14 May 2014

SeeChange Festival.

posterEvery year the Denman host an Art show as part of the SeeChange festival.
Drop into the museum and see what our local artisans have produced this year.
10am –4pm daily 16th May – 9th June

Latest Newsletter is out.

To find out about some of the things that have been and are about to happen at the museum don’t forget to have a look at the museum’s newsletter, NEWSLETTER LINK

Jarkan Yachts

kanga Another chapter of the maritime history in the Jervis Bay region comes to a close.
Kanga Birtles long regarded as one of Australia’s leading fibreglass boat builders, founded in 1976, owner and operator of Jarkan Yachts has retired and closed his business after 38 years.

No fan fair, no celebration of a life’s work, just a quiet closure that typifies the man.

Following in the footsteps of local boat builders from the 18th and 19th century, like the Dents and the Settree’s, Kanga Birtles chose Huskisson as the place to build his world renowned range of yachts.

Kanga Birtles is a name synonymous with Australian yachting – personally sailing in every major east coast regatta including 16 Sydney Hobart races. He has won Trans Tasman double handed events, and placed second in the 1988 round Australia race. In 1991 he became the fastest Australian to circumnavigate the world, placing fifth in the BOC Challenge single-handed yacht race, and in 1998 set the record for fastest non-stop circumnavigation of Australia.

a-39-pic-1-244x300 Jarkan Yachts has manufactured an amazing variety of boats, small and large pleasure yachts, round the world racing yachts, the unique solar sailor catamaran, house boats, dive boats, whale watching catamarans, one with whale viewing windows below the waterline and the largest vessel built at Jarkan, the 100 passenger sailing catamaran the “Passions of Paradise”, that was designed to cruise to the reef out of Cairns. Kanga has always stayed in pace with the latest innovations and in some cases been a head of his time.

solar_sailor Jarkan custom yachts have circled the globe, and competed with distinction in Australian and international regattas. The key focus of Jarkan was the manufacture of seaworthy true ocean going yachts regardless of size.

One of his more unique projects, the Solar Sailor

Just after starting Aurora no. 3 and Passions, and with the fifth 46 hull in the mould the Xmas bushfires burnt out his factory, destroying the moulds for the 10, the deck mould for the 46, the J24 moulds that we had started to build again and all the 12.5 moulds. A 38 was in the yard and also ruined.
This was a devastating time for Kanga, but he came through and kept going.

The recession.
When the recession hit in 1988 Kanga realised that Jarkan would not be building as many boats in the future.
Trying to compete with international manufacturers over recent years with lower manufacturing costs, has seen a dramatic downturn in the Australian boat building industry. passions of paradise


My association with Kanga

When i first moved to the south coast Kanga was operating out of a factory in Nowra. Wanting a break from my own trade, and having some fibreglass experience I approached Kanga about getting a job on more than one occasion, he always said the same thing,,,come back another day…we will be starting a new boat soon and there might be something then, it never happened.
But many years later and back in my trade as a designer and sign manufacturer, I received a call from Kanga, who by then had moved to Woollamia, that led to a long association doing designs and signs on many boats, the largest project for me was the ‘Passion of Paradise” as mentioned earlier.
Jan-2010-Rumdoodle Craftsmen
Building a yacht is a fascinating process to see, stating from a timber structure to form the plug, then the moulds right through to the finely crafted timber finishes that gave every boat a unique signature, the skill of the various craftsmen involved in all parts of the project under the watchful eye of Kanga made Jarkan yachts one of the respected builders of yachts in Australia.

 passions-of-paradise-2 Reminiscent of the early days.
The day a new boat was launched caused a lot of fascination, especially some of Kangas larger vessels, reminiscent of the early days when a Dent or Settree vessel was launched, crowds of people would come to the waters edge to watch the process.
For Kanga and his crew the day started early, with the factory away from the water at Woollamia there was a complicated process to go through, every yacht had it’s challenges, the height and width of some of the vessels caused different problems, slowly crawling along the road from the factory to the Woollamia Boat Ramp was a nervous time for the owners, Kangas crew and especially Kanga. The process of lifting many months of work from a low loader via a huge crane, the boat precariously hanging and slowly swinging in the air across the rocks until it touched down and settled into the water, you would see the nervous faces change to big smiles mixed with relief.

Kanga can now concentrate on what he loves most, sailing, I’m sure there will be many more fascinating adventures for this mariner ahead.

Kangas last vessel was a 45ft catamaran house boat, powered by electric motors with solar panels for charging.


13 May 2014

Another ship about to be launched


You can almost hear the cheers as she slips into the water.

Pomp and Ceremony accompanied the launching of a new ship at Huskisson, At the time Huskisson still had a small local population, but with the ship building industry supporting so many other trades in the area, the town would soon fill with crowds of onlookers. Finely dressed ladies, smartly dressed men, families and workers would come down to the river side to watch another ship being christened, and turn the event into a great celebration.

Dolphin antics.


Dolphins certainly seem to have a lot of fun when there are waves around.
Taken at Sussex Inlet..

9 May 2014

The Wooden Steamer “Hillmeads” – Built at Jervis Bay.

Headline News.

All headlines the Wooden Steamer Hillsmead could do without. But it highlights the dangers associated with shipping in those days. Many ships that plied along the Australian coast had similar situations to bear and some far worse..

365-SS-Hillmeads-at-Bateman's-Bay Built in Currambeen Creek, Jervis Bay 1907 at the Joseph Dent shipyards the Hillsmeads was a 206 ton,twin screwed wooden Steamer, she served a long, hard working life for the people, and for industry.

Her early life was spent trading goods and passengers between Sydney and the south coast ports of Moruya, Bawleys Head and Batemans Bay on behalf of the Numba Shipping Company.

She suffered damage on one trip after hitting rocks of Beacroft Peninsula and had to be beached in Ulladulla to stop her sinking and secure repairs, causing much inconvenience.

C. R. Gotts took picture national lib of aust She was later sold to be used in the Bass Straight timber trade by W.A. Pilbeam.
On one voyage, Hillsmeads suffered a bad leak during a severe storm.
At the time she was carrying 70.000 super feet of timber for discharge at Melbourne.
Sunday night she sought shelter at Hunter’s Island off the north coast of Tasmania.
She continued the voyage to Melbourne early on Tuesday morning. Soon afterwards serious leaks were noticed on the starboard side of the steamer. Three pumps were put into operation, but the water slowly gained. Two emergency pumps were then rigged, the master took the wheel, and all hands, including the mate and the cook, worked feverishly to stem the water. Progress was being made when dirt obstruction caused the pumps to become clogged. The height of water in the engine-room increased until the water was almost touching the bottom of the boiler. The lifeboat was prepared for launching, and the crew packed their kits. Bailing with a human chain of buckets kept the vessel afloat, two of the pumps were working fitfully.
Pic Ref: C.R.Gotts National Library of Australia.

image-of-hillsmead”Abandon Ship”
A call no sailor wants to hear.
The desperate and tired crew was almost ready to abandon ship when the pilot steamer was sighted off Port Phillip Heads. Messages were exchanged and the Hillmeads steamed slowly up the bay, and was met by the tug Eagle off the Gellibrand light.
The tug towed the water-logged steamer to a berth at South Wharf, where the obstruction on the vessel's pumps was removed after several hours' work.

With the assistance of a fire brigade syphon pump, the water was removed, and by late  afternoon nearly all the water had been pumped out.
It is believed that faults in the joints of the hull were the reason for the leakage.

Her Fate.
She had been laid up at Melbourne since 1928. She had been stripped at her berth at Rosny Pier, Williamstown, she was towed down the bay by the tug Plover. She will be blown up and sunk in "the graveyard of ships,"

story trove 1a story trove 1b story trove 1 another story sydney morning herald 1928

Articles about the Hillsmead.  

Joe Dent and crew – another fascinating image.

Trove -
http://www.wrecksite.eu/imgBrowser.aspx?42997 - - for image = hillmeads_scan1