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.

10 November 2015

A journey to Jervis Bay 1908

The Macleay Chronicle (Kempsey, NSW : 1899 - 1952), Thursday 30 July 1908
The following story from a visitor to the bay over 100 years ago paints a different picture to the one we now have of the bay.  Some thing haven’t changed, the beauty of the area is still a sight to behold.

The main change derived from this story are the regulations we are governed by now.   The regulations have taken away some of the freedom people had back then to roam about the bay pursuing their own interests, be it fishing,  hunting or sightseeing.   The rules and regulations are necessary to deal with technology and the rising population,  and the associated pressure this is putting on the bays environment.

Enjoy the story below,  it’s a fascinating journey, there are a couple of inaccurate references,  The “Chimbozaro” did smash into Point Perpendicular, but without any loss of life.

The area described as “Boat Harbour” we now know as “Honey Moon Bay” - there is another “Little Boat Harbour”  it featured in the previous story about the ‘Torpedo Tubes.”

The reference to a waterfall at the head of Moona Creek, there is no such waterfall – I think the story refers to Currambene creek and the waterfall at Falls Creek.


The route from Nowra for the first eight miles passes through dairying country,  and over the last 81/2 miles through dense hardwood forests,  which have, as yet, only been partly touched by the woodman’s axe.

Here and there are to be seen busy little saw mills with large quantities of logs waiting to be turned into girders, paving blocks, and other commercial sizes.

Emerging from the timber at the end of the road,  the sudden view of the bay is one of the grandest imaginable. 

Straight in front is the entrance with it's bold headlands - Perpendicular Head,  with Bowen Island in the centre,  and Governor Head at the south - standing like sentinels on guard.  At the blush the entrance might be taken for Sydney Harbour,  but is of greater width,  being 2 miles across,  while the headlands are much higher.

Point Perpendicular is a most imposing mass of rock,  raising abruptly from the ocean to a height of 250 feet.
It was against this rock the "Chimbarazo."  some years ago,  in a most unaccountable manner,  ran full tilt,  the impact being terribly disastrous and attended with considerable loss of life.

The bay is nearly circular in form,  and almost landlocked,  being 10 miles across as the widest part.  A distinct charm of the bay is the regular manner in which it is divided into beaches of beautiful white sand,  alternating with rocky points jutting into the waters,  which constitute excellent fishing grounds.

Jervis Bay is destined to become one of the favourite fishing resorts in Australasia,  as capital bream and schnapper fishing can be enjoyed in any weather close to the hotel or accommodation houses,  the later being most comfortable and moderate as regards tariffs.  The transparent waters of Currumbene Creek literally make the most lackadaisical fisherman's mouth water,  as he perceives immense quantities of bream, blackfish, mullet, garfish,  and many other members of the finny tribe looking vainly for a hook and line.

It is a common occurrence for 3 and 5 pound bream to be taken,  indeed the bay is the veritable paradise for the angler.

Shooting enthusiasts are also well catered for,  bird-life of all kinds being most prolific,  The marsupial also abounds,  and many stirring stories are told of immense bags,  by the oldest inhabitant,  who,  incidentally,  has been in and around the bay for fifty years.

There are many point of interest.  the principal being Moona Creek,  with a public oyster bed,  and a splendid waterfall at the creek head.

The salamander,  in search of ideal camping spots far from the maddening crowd,  would do well to select Lamb's,  Chinamen's,  New Bristol,  or Captain's points.  All are charming places, plentifully supplied with with clear fresh water,  tons of fire wood,  and beautiful beaches,  the acme of perfection for sun-hatching; But the spot which eclipses all the rest is Boat Harbour,  a beautifully secluded lagoon at the northern end of the bay. Oil launches,  with a draught of 31/2 feet, can pass through the narrow entrance,  which will only comfortably admit one boat at a time.  Once inside one gets a view of this lovely little place,  an acre of crystal water,  a beach which circles around the whole,  safe bathing,  immune to sharks,  grass trees growing right to the edge of the basin,  fresh water in plenty,  high beetling cliffs surrounding,  and brilliant sunshine,  and you have a view of campers paradise.

imageHoney Moon Bay. 

Visitors to the bay should not neglect to land on Bowen Island,  on which are to be seen large numbers of penguin.  The antics of this strange bird are indescribable,  and one gets great amusement in watching the beautiful creatures walking awkwardly about.   There are also numbers of rabbits,  hares and wallabies,  and snakes are in-numerable.

The fishermen of the bay,  especially the brothers Dent,  know the bay from end to end,  and,  being equipped with fast launches,  guarantee sport,  pleasure,  and comfort to any visitors who may desire to make a trip to this charming resort for a holiday.



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