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 June 2015

“The look of disappointment as he hauled up an old boot”


This funny and fascinating story takes us back to Huskisson when life was much slower,  people lived in the moment, where the very simple things were enjoyed and appreciated.

This article has not been corrected,  it’s as it appeared..
Shoalhaven News Saturday June 6 1891

   "Queen's birthday" came this year on the 25th May.   The natal day of Her Most Gracious Majesty,  for whom we have one person of "gross" individuality who ever has a verse of 'Rule Britannia"  on his lips,  brings pleasant outings to many persons who otherwise would not think of having a day's pleasure and recreation.

This fact shows very loyal attachments,  some twenty Shoalhaven gentlemen,  representing Nowra,  Terara,  Berry,  and  Kangaroo Valley,  proceeded to Jervis Bay the day preceding the abovementioned holiday to have a run with the schnapper.  One of Mr.  Robert Thornton's coaches was engaged for the occasion,  and the team of five fine horses  (of mixed colour)  was well handled by Barney M'Ternan.


Coaches and the Prince of Wales Hotel Nowra, on the right, early 1900’s

Several of the party raised objection, - they did not like the journey started on the Sabbath.  Leaving Lawrence's Prince of Wales Hotel at 3p.m. Sunday the Bay was reached at 7,  after a very pleasant drive.

The road was in A1 order,  the portion from Tomerong to the Bay having recently been considerably improved,  a fact over which it was hard to restrain several of the tourists giving three cheers for Mr. P. H. Morton,  MP.,  who has been of great assistance in procuring money for the permanent improvement of the highway.  "Never mind,  boys," exclaimed one of the party, " give him your vote when the time comes," this being right royally applauded.

The Bay reached,  the first thing to be done was the kindle a fire for the manufacture of tea,  this duly being relegated to Messrs. A. Wolf and R.  Leeming.  With the aid of a frying-pan some of Morrison's best steak and chops were prepared in quite a recherché style and served to the company with plenty of 'modarimin" as the aboriginal would term bread.

After a hearty meal,  the company proceeded to arrange a programme.

It was agreed that a levy of one shilling per man be made and awarded to the person catching the first fish from Dent's wharf.  Several who did not favor this proposal wrapped themselves in their rugs and went to sleep by the fire. The "pool" party had some fun at the wharf,  and the way lines were drawn in at every little nibble was very amusing.  Barney was declared to be the most scientific in the angling biz,  and the beautiful moon shining full in his face revealed a determination quite repulsive to his companions.

Suddenly his face gave out a smile and he announced "a bite,"  and in a few seconds Barney,  with a strong and long pull,  landed the coveted water denizen,.  'hanging"  to which was a bright half sov.   A rush was made to eye the monster,  which on close examination was found to be of the whiting species,  but which had evidently been in the hands of a landsman before,  as it gave out a flavor strong.  Barney,  in truth,  was "had,"  and the company became hilarious.  Another of the company known as "Mac",  was also "had" at the same time,  and the look of disappointment he gave as he hauled up and old boot was sufficient to make a protectionist candidate tremble.  This fishy affair was called a "leather jacket"  by some, but old friend Dent termed it a "canary."

Soon afterwards the company made themselves comfortable at the fire for the night,  but three of the company were bent on some fun,  and they had it,  such as hobbling those who were in blissful repose.  The biters were however bit before 4 a.m. as they themselves were hobbled before they rose.  Shortly after 4 the company made for the boats,  laden with baskets of edibles in large quantity.

The steamer, just arrived from Sydney,  could not reach the wharf,  but she was boarded just as daylight was breaking in the west.  The Marvel is a nice little steamer for fishing excursions,  with an agreeable and obliging crew.  Old Mr. George Dent was aboard and was welcomed by the visitors in a hearty manner.  The steamer got under way at sunrise.  Oh, for another sight of that beautiful sunrise - nature in it's best attire;  the large expanse of calm water before the eye,  and it's silvery boarder:  the birds singing in the air as the steamer hugged the shore on her way down - all combined to fill the heart of any man who is nothing of a crank.

The first place cast anchor for fishing was near North Head,   and here several fine schnapper were secured.  Sweepstakes had been previously arranged, of 10s., 6., and 3s. for the first fish,  the heaviest fish,  and the most fish,  and curious the relate, Messrs, Marriot, Wolf,  and Lambert each landed on board a schnapper at the same time,  so the sweepstakes had to be divided between the three.  Speculations were rife as to who would be lucky enough to catch the largest fish,  and as they were drawn up one after the other they were eagerly scanned.

Many other places were 'prospected" during the day,  but not with any great success.  At 4 o'clock the steamer turned her head homewards,  being then much further down the coast than Wreck Bay,  upon the rocks at which place were to be seen yet the remains of the ill-fated steamer Corangamite.   The steamer got into Jervis Bay and anchored about 5 o'clock,  when the prize for largest fish was awarded to Barney,  whilst that for the largest number went to A. Wolf.  The gong rang for tea as we proceeded up the Bay,  and judging by the style the party adopted,  each of them enjoyed tea very much.

Talk about Lawrence's best-laid out table,  of which much is heard ! Tis nothing to the table this fishing party provided.  On leaving the steamer three hearty cheers were given for Mr. Dent and his crew,  and returned by them.

Horses and coach were looked to by the party's  "whip"  and "shine all over." but it was decided to await the moon before starting the return journey.  All hands once more then drew around the fire,  for the weather was then very cold,  and during the short attachment to the glowing embers Mr. Marriot took the opportunity of proposing a vote of thanks to Messrs Miller and Leeming for organising the days outing,  mentioning especially the quality and quantity of the editable supplied by Mr. Leeming .   The vote was carried by hearty acclamation,  and Messrs Miller and Leeming thanked the company for the unexpected compliments.  On the return trip to Nowra which was reached at 11 p.m., Messrs "Barney." Lambert,  Newmark,  and Notley contributed largely the the amusement of the party by their songs and witticisms.


This is an unrelated photo from the period.

On examination this article gives us some interesting details from 1891

1 - Jervis bay road didn’t exist as we know it, the only way to get to Huskisson was by going all the way to Tomerong, taking 4 hours.

2 - George Dent famously know as a Huskisson shipbuilder, was always looking to diversify and expand his opportunities, in 1891 he was conducting fishing excursions in his steamer the Marvel inside the bay and around the surrounding coast.

The Marvel has it’s own story to tell – that's for another post soon.

3 - The wreck of the Corangamite ran aground inside Wreck Bay in 1886, wreckage was still visible on the shore in 1891.

4 - And something I had never thought about before this article, Travelling at night by coach was best done while there was a full moon.

Continue to a previous post about the wreck of the luxury ship the Corangamite.
Meaning: Recherché - rare, exotic, or obscure.
             Nimrod – From the Biblical Nimrod, a mighty hunter,

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