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.

26 August 2015

1919 – Huskisson, population 200.


When these pictures appeared in the Western Mail Perth in 1919 along with a short story about the neglected but beautiful Jervis Bay,  there was only around 200 people living at Huskisson,   most people were employed in the timber, fishing,  and ship-building industry.

Gone were the days when large bullock teams loaded with wool, tallow and hides from the big Monaro and Riverina Stations lumbered to the bay along the wool road to be loaded onto ships waiting safely at anchor near Lambs Point, known then as South Huskisson,  they were loaded from a stone wharf built  near the present day suburb of Vincentia at a place  better known these days by local surfers as the  “ Viny boat ramp”.

The bustling township that once thrived, comprised hotels, blacksmith shops, and stores that grew around the wool industry had long since disappeared back into the landscape,  the wharf had fallen into disrepair and most of the people had moved away. – Continue reading about South Huskisson


Sydney Mail 1931


Huskisson was now the only town existing on the shores of the bay, timber was still being cut from the surrounding forests of Wandandian and Tomerong and transported to Huskisson to be loaded onto waiting steamers.  Despite having to go further back into the forests  and deep gorges to secure the slowly disappearing timber,  a new timber mill was built near Huskisson employing the latest technology available for the time.


Tourism was becoming more important, a look through local papers from the time reveals many stories about how good the fishing and shooting was.

”The bay was an ideal but little known tourist resort, offering splendid facilities for fishing, shooting,  boating and surfing”. 

  The Shoalhaven News and South Coast Districts Advertiser – 1919.  

“Schnapper fishing is the order of the day.  Many large catches are reported by visitors.  Several men make big money by schnapper fishing.  Many are caught weighing from 14ib, to 20 lb.  These fish sell at 1, shilling 3 pence,  per pound”.

”Last Sunday Mr Timbery made one haul,  and landed about 80 box’s of beautiful bream.  Fishing is good if not better than dairy farming”


The Dents and other ship-builders were still building wooden ships,  steamers and sail,  on the banks of Currambene Creek.

Whaling was still being carried out from the bay,  an application was made to the Land Board for 80 acres on the north side of the bay fronting Montague Roadstead to build a new whaling station and factory to extract oil and treat the residue. This proposal was eventually rejected on environmental grounds.   Despite these activities the bay was still relatively unknown.
Whaling Jervis Bay, Continue reading
Progress was slow, local business people pushed for progress,  but they were constantly frustrated by the lack of interest shown by politicians from all parties to see the bay for what it could offer the colony.


Big hopes for the prosperity of the bay".
At this time the biggest change to come to the bay and one that many hopped would once again attract industry and prosperity to the bay was the Australian Naval College constructed on a small protected headland on the southern shores of the bay known as Captains Point,  400 men were employed in it’s construction, promises of naval dockyards and repair shops and the work being carried out on a clearing for the long promised railway line that would connect the bay with the Federal City gave local business people great hope for the future prosperity of Jervis Bay.


By 1919 most of the work had been completed on the college,  but right from the beginning there were protests coming from Sydney politicians in opposition to the facility because of the costs associated with training the cadets.

195-bullock-teams-timber-for-Creswell-1912-aBullock teams bringing timber for the construction of the Australian Naval College - 1912

The base came under further attacks when a Shoalhaven News report had a story about a meeting being held in Nowra to protest against the proposal by Sydney to convert the the Naval College into a quarantine Station.
Fortunately this proposal never saw the light of day.

But like so many other grand visions,  the promised railway was never constructed, no major industries came to the bay, and the bay essentially stayed the same as it had always been,  a tranquil beautiful place.



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