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.

22 December 2014

Cape St George Lighthouse 1873.

Despite its isolation, and what appears to be a confusing journey on unmarked tracks, numerous newspaper correspondents of the time suffered the difficulties and made their way to Cape St George.
Before cameras, correspondents would be accompanied by artists, whose task it was to sketch the scenes they arrived at. Newspapers from the 1800’s give us beautiful hand-drawn images of many places along the south coast. The lighthouse appears to be a popular destination for the above, appearing in many issues of country and city papers.

Short paragraphs read in isolation, can reveal an insight into life around Jervis Bay.

The image and article below is from the Illustrated Sydney News, 1873.



This building is situated about thirty miles from the town of Nowra, in New South Wales, on the south side of Jervis Bay, and is the direct rout of vessels proceeding from Sydney to Melbourne. The light shown is a bright revolving white and green.
The road winds along the edges of swamps and over rocky hills, and at the time our illustration was made not marked out, and our artist and his companions were, in consequence, obliged to put up their tent and pass the night in the bush, having been unable to find the way before it became dark.
As it was a moonlight night, two of the party searched around the camp, and followed a path which they discovered. Coming back with their cloths and boots wet and muddy from the small streams of water they had crossed, they made a fire and cooked their supper.

A bed of rushes served to sleep upon, and the wild howling of the native dogs did not long keep them awake.
Next morning, at sunrise they breakfasted and started for the lighthouse, but the horse stopped at the first high sand hill and part of the luggage had to be left on the road. With some difficulty the spring cart was drawn to the coast, and the superintendant kindly sent his own horse for the articles left behind.

The tent was pitched near the stable of the establishment, and during the next fortnight a series of drawings were made of the wild and beautiful coastal scenery, including the lighthouse.
Although the headland is a great height from the sea, in a storm the foam dashes right over it; and once, when a strong wind came on, the party had to raise from their beds in the midst of a pouring rain and secure the fastenings to prevent it’s being blown over the cliff.

Passing storm taken from the exposed Cape St George headland.image-0116
Following he gives us and insight into the hardships and inadequate facilities the lighthouse keepers endured in their daily tasks.

The want of a verandah to the superintendant’s quarters is much felt in wet weather, as there is no shelter either from the rain or foam when he has to be on the lookout for vessels. Neither is there a spare room for ship-wrecked persons or strangers, as there should be as such and isolated station.

It’s hard to imagine a time when children might have been in such isolation, facilities must have been very primitive with regard to their education.

At a mile distant a schoolhouse has been erected for the children of the fishermen, who live a few miles off, and of the officials stationed at the lighthouse.

The entrance to Jervis Bay is two miles wide, and inside there is a harbor from three to four leagues in length and two in width. It is considered a safe port of ships of all sizes and is 80 miles from Sydney. The harbor is large and commodious, easy of access, and will affords shelter from all winds, having room for 200 sail of ships, with plenty of water and wood.

The bay was discovered by Lieutenant Boen, in August, 1791.

Hoping to visit the picturesque village a future time, the party left the coast when they had completed  their sketch, and with the aid of a lent horse reached Nowra, much pleased with the kind attention from the superintendant while visiting the lighthouse.

Elyard, Samuel, 1817-1910. Cape St. George Lighthouse, South of Jervis Bay, New South Wales, ca. 1864 [picture]

  • Elyard, Samuel, 1817-1910.
  • Cape St. George Lighthouse, South of Jervis Bay, New South Wales, ca. 1864 [picture]
  • ca. 1864. 1 watercolour ; 36.2 x 56.2 cm.

    League - On land, the league was most commonly defined as three miles, though the length of a mile could vary from place to place and depending on the era. At sea, a league was three nautical miles (about 5.6 km).


  • No comments :

    Post a Comment