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.

30 June 2014

Surveyor Thomas Florence

instrument3 ON THIS DAY – 30th June 1828 Thomas Florence recorded Termeil Lagoon and Lake Tobourie and explores Burrill Lake.
(Burrill, Aboriginal for Wallaby or a tree with a green and white leaf)

Born in England in 1783 he worked in Canada as a surveyor and engineer, he served in the Royal Engineers in the American War until ill health caused him to return to England.
Seeking a milder climate he arrived in Sydney in 1817.
1827 he commenced a survey of the coastline and some of the estuaries between Jervis Bay and Moruya.
His surveys were very comprehensive and he was responsible for many of the names we use now, more details can be seen by following the links below.
He eventually moved to New Zealand and died in Auckland in 1867 aged 84.

27 June 2014

Majestic icon of the coast.




Haliaeetus leucogaster is a large diurnal bird of prey in the family Accipitridae.
Diurnality is a plant or animal behavior characterized by activity during the day and sleeping at night
I bet your glad i explained that!
If there is one iconic symbol that describes the coastal regions of Jervis Bay surely the White Breasted Sea Eagle is it.
Seen soaring effortlessly above the coastal fringe, along the cliffs, rivers, and across the bays in it’s endless search for food, one can feel at times envious of the beauty and grace of this majestic animal as it silently glides by, the female adults can have a wing span over two meters and sometimes you are only made aware of their presence by the shadow they cast on the ground as they fly overhead.





The Eagles call in unmistakable and has anyone in ear shot scanning the skies or trees hoping to get a glimpse.
Often seen in territorial pairs while others are nomadic.
The Mating ritual.

I was fortunate enough to witness the mating ritual performed high in the sky above Wreck Bay, this elegant aerial dance involved dipping and diving, calling and following close to each other mimicking each others moves, at one stage one swooped upside down grabbing the others talons causing both to plummet straight down in a cartwheel fashion dropping at least 30 meters only letting go around 20 meters above the ground. it was quite remarkable and repeated a number of times.
The White Bellied Sea Eagle is the guardian Animal of the Wreck Bay Community and the official emblem of the Booderie National Park.

All these images were taken in Booderie National Park.

063 022

The visitors centre at Booderie has taxidermy examples on display. Its a sad way to see these animals up close but they were the result of accidents and their bodies recovered and preserved. Sad as it is, they are impressive creatures and probably the only way you will ever get that close to one.

26 June 2014

Whale migration


Each year at this time we get to see a remarkable event.
Here is a picture of two Humpback Whales doing a bit of tail slapping with Pigeon House Mountain as a backdrop. These whales eventually made there way right into the Wreck Bay area right in front of the village and slowly cruised past only 20 meters from the rocks, giving a few lucky tourists a fantastic experience, and to make it even more exciting one was almost totally white.

white-whale white-whale2

If you get a chance head out to one of the headlands and do a bit of Whale watching. The lookout near Cape St George Lighthouse is a particularly good spot to see them heading north.
The museum has plenty of material available at the visitors centre to help you along.

24 June 2014

On going management

The museum houses a unique collection of objects, and
non more so than the Halloran Collection.

cleaning-photographing-collection-2-2014The staff from the Collection Management Team headed by Curator Graham Hinton have the task of monitoring and safeguarding the collection.
At the moment the Halloran Collection is being systematically photographed and cleaned, a large and challenging task.
This process is ongoing and throws up all sorts of challenges, the management and monitoring of the humidity is one of the most important issues facing any museums collection, light is another, odors from paint can cause problems all have to be managed carefully, Graham attends many conferences where issues such as these are discussed and solutions gathered and shared.
detail detail-2
The team use magnifying classes to examine and clean the collection, in the process the fine detail can be seen and the magic of these amazing objects is revealed.
IMG_1669 IMG_1678
This first photograph illustrates the problem, mould can be clearly seen on the bottom plate of this surveyors instrument, the ladies during the cleaning process and above the object after cleaning.

23 June 2014

George Dent Snr house.

Another amazing image from the Lady Denman Museums archives.
George Dent seniors house overlooking the bay.
Click on the image to enlarge.


21 June 2014

Thomas Davidson, a remarkable life cut short.

On this day 21st June - 1822 - Two of the crew of Alexander Berry’s settlement party Thomas Davidson and one other were drowned trying to enter the Shoalhaven River.

imageDepiction of the tragic loss by painter Ian Hansen on display in the museum.

1795 – 1882. A life of adventure and tragedy.
Aged 15 Thomas joined the 395 ton Brigantine convict ship the Boyd as an apprentice bound for Australia with a load of Irish convicts. Once the convicts are unloaded in Sydney 2 Maori are added to the crew and they continue on with their journey back to England via New Zealand.

Melancholy catastrophe of the Boyd.
While visiting Whangaroa to collect timber for spars the local Maori were greatly insulted by the actions of Captain John Thompson on the Boyd. During the trip Captain Thompson had the chief's son “Te Ara” or George as he was named by the Europeans lashed for refusing to work on board the ship as he was the son of a Chief and should not do such work. Once George went ashore still bearing the marks from the lashing and seeking revenge, the enraged Maori lured the captain and some crew ashore where they were slaughtered, the Maori dressed in the sailors uniforms boarded the ship and killed all the passengers and crew, around 70 people. Only the second mate, Mrs. Morley, her baby daughter, a young girl Betsy Broughton and George are spared.

An orgy of cannibalism.
At the time of the massacre Thomas hid in the ships hold, staying there for four days while the Maoris aboard conducted a victory orgy of cannibalism.

Thomas is believed to have survived because he had befriended George during the voyage, had disliked the captains treatment and flogging of the crew and convicts on board, after Gorge was flogged Thomas attended the wounds and smuggled food to George during the trip.
Enslaved by the Maori. 
george George tells Thomas that the Boyd crew was killed and eaten in revenge (utu) for a previous ship’s crew they had made welcome. Many of the tribe caught diseases after this European contact and died. The natives believed it was caused by an evil curse uttered by the ship’s captain. They waited for the next ship to extract revenge for this curse and now to avenge George’s cruel lashing.

A portrait of George.
Rescue arrives  -  Alexander Berry.
800px-Louis_John_Steele_-_The_blowing_up_of_the_Boyd_-_Google_Art_Project Alexander Berry hearing of the massacre and survivors headed for the scene, he found the Boyd completely burnt out.
The Maori while ransacking the ship had accidently set alight strewn gunpowder with a musket flint, resulting in a huge explosion killing a number of Maori including Te Ara a local chief.


Berry showing great courage and threatening retribution made the Maori release Davidson and two others a Mrs. Morley her baby daughter and a 2 year old child named Betsy, the second mate had been put to work making fish hooks but the natives grew tired of his efforts and killed and ate him two weeks after the initial attack.

Thomas Davidson returned to England via South America, finally arriving in 1811. During the journey home he survived an horrific hurricane, there was a mutiny on board and he was suspected of killing Kee, the ships bully. Thomas jumped ship in Puru and worked his way back to London.

He later returned to Australia and worked for Berry accompanying him on many exploratory expeditions along the South Coast.

pigeon-houeOne of these adventures resulted in Alexander Berry, Hamilton Hume and Thomas Davidson making the first recorded ascent of Pigeon House Mountain near Ulladulla in 1822.

Pigeon House, iconic symbol of the south coast landscape near Ulladulla.

Unfortunately at the age of twenty seven, seeking a passage into Shoalhaven River his boat was overturned and Thomas Davidson was drowned, an accident that Berry bitterly regretted.

The story of the Boyd massacre is compelling reading, you can find more information in the following links.
below is a documentary of the Boyd Massacre, well worth watching.


19 June 2014

Beautiful detail on display.

dd8 dd6
dd7 dd9

Following on from a previous post here are a few more examples of the fine detail that adorns the museum’s collection of swords.
Again please excuse the slight glare as they were shot through glass.

17 June 2014

HMAS Creswell


June 12th 1930 the Navy abandons HMAS Creswell
As the depression worsened it was decided the College was to costly to maintain and the operation was moved to HMAS Cererus.





The first settlement at the Naval College site…The Workers and motorised buggy.

”Westward Ho”

After the Navy left the site's buildings were leased out as houses, hotels and holiday accommodation. The cadet's accommodation blocks became "Jervis Bay Guest House" and "Westward Ho", the wardroom became "College House Hotel", the hospital "Naval Lodge Hospital" and the Captain's Residence "Canberra House".


Guests seen here using the facilities at Creswell for holidays.

1945 Australia became involved in World War Two, Jervis Bay plays a vital role in the war effort.
World War Two saw extensive use of Jervis Bay by the Navy, Air Force and the Army. This included a RAAF rehabilitation unit that was established on the eastern side of the Quarterdeck. From 1944-46 the facility treated injured airmen and ex-prisoners of war.
In the early 1950s overcrowding and the less favourable location of HMAS Cerberus prompted a Navy decision to return the College to Jervis Bay.
In its absence many of the site's original problems had been fixed, including connection to the electricity grid, and increased infrastructure in the area due to a growth in tourism. Some local residents resisted the Navy's return.

The College was re-opened in 1958 and commissioned HMAS Creswell, in honour of William Rooke Creswell, whose lobbying had helped to create the RAN.

P00444.162Vice Admiral Sir W R Creswell (1852 – 1933)

was a very important leader in the establishment of Australia’s own Navy as a separate entity to the Royal Navy.  After a distinguished career with the Royal Navy, Creswell retired in 1875 and came to live in Australia. In 1885 he was encouraged to join the Colonial Navy in South Australia as second in command of the Cruiser HMCS Protector before later moving to the Queensland Naval forces and then to Melbourne.



16 June 2014

Another beautiful part of the South Coast

Rennies Beach Ulladulla.
The early explorers must have been amazed at the beauty of the South East Coast.
This photo shows a slow moving storm approaching from the SW.

14 June 2014

Newsletter out now

Our monthly newsletter is out now just click on the link on the right.

Lady Denman – The end of an era

On this day 14th June 1979 at 7.30pm the Lady Denman commenced her last run as a Sydney Ferry from Circular Quay to Victoria Street, Hunters Hill.

Built at Huskisson by Joseph Dent and launched in 1911. The ferry served the people of Sydney for nearly 68 years, not bad for a vessel only designed for a working life of 15 years.
The Lady had a few adventures in her life, as you would expect for a vessel plying the busy waterways of Sydney Harbour, previous posts have highlighted some of those.

Her outlook was bleak, like so many other ferries she was destined to be scrapped, but with luck, hard work and the determination of a group of Huskisson locals, she was returned to Huskisson in 1981 and is now the centrepiece of the Museum.

Bring your friends and family, explore the decks of the ferry, revisit a time long past,  I'm sure for many of you, relive a time when you once enjoyed a ride across Sydney Harbour on the Lady Denman.


Take a journey below the decks of the Lady Denman. http://jervisbaymaritimemuseum.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-rare-look-below-decks-of-lady-denman.html


12 June 2014

On this Day June 12th 1930

As the “The Depression” worsened The Navy Budget was much reduced and the decision was taken on this day to move the Royal Australian Naval College from Jervis bay to the Flinders Naval Depot.
I will be adding to this story next week…

11 June 2014

It’s all in the detail

dd3The museum has an amazing collection of historic swords and the handles in particular are adorned with extraordinary detail.
You just have to take the time to look.

dd1a dd1
dd2  dd4

These images were shot through glass so please excuse the glare.
The top 3 images are examples of British Officers Pattern Swords introduced to the Royal Navy around 1805
the same pattern sword that Lord Horatio Nelson used at the time of his death during the Battle of Trafalgar.

10 June 2014

Caves Beach

Shaped by fire.
The Shoalhaven has many beautiful natural areas, rich in wildlife and vegetation.
This panorama was taken from a position overlooking Caves Beach, normally you would not be able to get this sort of photo from here, but the bushfires have stripped all the vegetation back and opened up the view.


9 June 2014

The Schooner “Gleaner” wrecked June 8th 1901

IMAGE OF SCHOONER If you have been following this blog, it can be seen by the number of wrecks along the south coast that the south coast can be a considerably dangerous place for shipping.
Frequent large storms and strong coastal currents caused many ships to be lost, many simply left port and the ship and crew were never heard of again.

Example of a Two masted schooner from the time.

Many of the coastal ports were exposed and lacked protection.
In the 1800/1900’s Bawley Point had a thriving industry, ship building and the shipping trade were vital to the local economy.

Driven ashore.
On June the 8th 1901 the small 115 ton, two masted coastal schooner “The Gleaner” was loading timber at Bawley Point during a storm.
The ship was driven onshore when the hawser from the permanent mooring parted and the consequent parting of the two lines to the shore and the dragging of the anchor which allowed the vessel to go on shore and be wrecked.

The loss and replacement of any vessel would have been a major economic burden to the company involved, especially during the 1890’s depression.

1901 - The Marine Court Inquiry found that no blame is imputable to the master or any one else.

Hawser-laid_rope_(Seaman's_Pocket-Book,_1943)hawser (ˈhoːzə) noun - a thick rope or a steel cable for towing ships or tying them to a dock





Saturday 7th 2014
The Museum played host to the World Environment day celebrations on the grounds surrounding the museum.
It was a huge success, The place was abuzz with people, Children and adults all having a fantastic time.
There was a large variety of stalls, different environmental organisations were represented.
Booderie National Park, Marine and fisheries, solar power,  the Native Plant Society and many more.

enviro-day-5Wildlife rescue
The wildlife rescue stand was a real feature, large slithering pythons had everyone fascinated, live music drifted across the grounds from four locations.
The smell from the B,B,Q made you hungry, a fantastic day culminating with a spectacular light show and ceremony accompanied by the sounds of beating drums surrounding the fish pond that night.
I'm sure there will be some very tired volunteers, every one of you is appreciated and the Denman thanks you for your hard work and making it a such a memorable day.

enviro-day-1 enviro-day11 enviro-day-3
enviro-day-6 enviro-day-7 enviro-day9
enviro-day10 enviro-day-2  


Video by the Lady Denman Production Unit