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.

23 May 2015

Lake Windermere – Jervis Bay

 Dune Lake.
Untitled-1 Google Earth image.
The beautiful Lake Windermere and the more well known but smaller, Lake McKenzie  are permanent, closed, freshwater “dune” lakes, home to a population of eastern long-necked turtles who use the lakes in times of low rainfall.  You travel past the gates  to the lakes as you head out to Cave Beach and probably never give them much thought.  But the lakes have quite a story to tell, of failed enterprise, big ambitions and advanced technology.
Lake-WindermereLake Windermere.

image was an important link in the early development of the Naval College.  Lake Windermere’s ready supply of fresh water was used in the construction of the college and later as the main drinking and sewerage water supply for the college itself.

Agave_potatorum_Kichiokan 1891 – The Australian Hemp and Fibre Company made an application for 6400acres of land at Bherwerrie for a period covering 21 years, to grow Aloe, at one penny per acre.

1895 - Mr.T. Marriot cruised Lake Windermere on Saturday last in a boat which he, assisted by a fisherman named Ellmoos,  conveyed across the strip of land lying between the lake and St. Georges Basin.   The Lake,  which is of fresh water,  and about a mile extent,  is prettily situated and has some nice scenery about it.  Mr Marriott is the first person known to have taken a boat over the lake.

1902The Australian Hemp and Fibre Company. After much public discussion, and a  lengthy court case, objections to the project mounted, concerns about locking people out of the water supply, the possibility of polluting the water, and the future development of the area when the much anticipated train line connecting Nowra to Bristol point arrived,  saw an end to the proposal at this site.

nla.pic-an23193352-v 1902The Shoalhaven News and South Coast Districts Advertiser. Land around the lake was at one time leased for 28 years at the annual rent of 17 pounds 10s for the first 7 years,  and 35 ponds for the remainder of the term,  to Octavius Charles Beale a piano manufacturer who tried to grow timber “ Valonia Oak ” for piano frames. An inspection of the site in 1908  showed Beale had planted 2600 trees comprising, oak, redwood,  hickory,  catalpa, and made improvements consisting of buildings,  fencing,  clearing,  tree planting,  cultivation,  to the value of 1670 pounds,  Beale claimed to have expended 5000 to 6000 pounds on the lease.
Beales’ plantation suffered badly,  out of 2600 trees planted, only 100 still survived,  his ambitions proved fruitless and the farm turned into a dairy farm called ' Bherwerre'.  The area was acquired off the NSW Government,  by the Commonwealth Government in 1915.
Photo: Octavius Charles Beale.

bherwerre-farm-location. Bherwerre Farm located on the shore of Lake McKenzie.
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Lake-Windermere1 pumping-station
lake-mcKenzie Lake McKenzie.

1913The Shoalhaven News and South Coast Districts Advertiser  - Nineteen inches, and 64 points of rain fell at Lake Windermere last month, (May) – the heaviest in years.  They are building a big reservoir over there to hold an inexhaustible supply of water for the use of the Naval Cadets and regulars who may be camped here,  and for use in time of war.

1916 – Mr Black, Chief Secretary for the Government, visited the naval college and  Lake Windermere for the purpose of testing the fitness of the waters for  the acclimatisation of fish.   It appeared to Mr Black that perch and carp would thrive in the lake.  He proposed to make some experiments in this direction.

1951 - The Australian National Botanic Gardens Annexe, located between Lake McKenzie and Lake Windermere.   Development of the site as a botanic gardens started in 1951 when the area was selected as the frost free annex of the Australian National Botanic Garden and was called the Jervis Bay Botanic Gardens.

1995 -  Water in the lake would become the first water treated with Australia’s first Ozone Purification Plant, capable of treating up to three million litres a day. It supplies water to the Jervis Bay Village,  Wreck Bay Aboriginal township, HMAS Creswell and recreational sites in the national park.
It was chosen because it’s highly automated,  eliminated the reliance on chemicals, like chlorine and alum and reduced waste products that could pollute the site.

1997 - To reflect the Aboriginal ownership of the Gardens the name was changed to Booderee Botanic Gardens.

2000 - The Gardens ceased to be an annex of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, however strong ties and a close working relationship with the Gardens' staff continues. The collections policy now focuses on the Aboriginal use of plants, as well as the flora of south eastern Australia's coastal environments.     Read more.


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