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 April 2016

Cape St George Light House


The ruins of Cape St George lighthouse are still visible to passing ships today. The remains almost disappear back into the very stone it was built from.  Built in the wrong location the ruins stand as a sad but fascinating reminder of miss management, and tragedy.
Pay a visit to the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and have a look at the fantastic  objects collected from the lighthouse.

Previous Posts about Cape St George.


22 April 2016

Nerriga’s slab house.


After a bit of research I have more information about the old slab dwelling on the eastern side of the road coming into Nerriga.
Previous Post and pictures.

Built around 1860-1870, In two sections,  the kitchen/dining area is separated from the living/ lounge area.
The chimneys are built from timber lined with scraps of flattened tin and corrugated iron,
the ceilings were ply wood and others hung with hessian.
The bread oven is the only one still standing in Nerriga today,  and was possibly built around 100 years ago,  it stands by itself behind the building and is covered with corrugated iron to protect the bricks and mortar.
There was also another large slab shed that stood nearby and was used as a blacksmiths shop by the Donnelly family who lived in the cottage in 1950.
They also made coffins.

Unfortunately the inside is a mess,  ceilings are coming down and some have been removed…the walls are covered in rotting paper and remnants of plaster, old furniture is strewn all over the place.
Such a shame,  hopefully someone with courage and determination will one day soon,  save the old building from rotting away.


Ref: Nerriga on the Wool Road.  A fantastic little book that covers the history of this small historic town and community.  All proceeds from the sale of the book go to the Nerriga Historical Museum.

Previous Post and pictures.

20 April 2016


In a long held tradition of the Royal Australian Navy conducting training exercises in Jervis Bay HMAS Adelaide has been making regular visits to the bay over the last few months.

Today I was lucky enough to get a ride out to HMAS Adelaide to shoot a few close up pictures as the ship was conducting exercises. Large barges were being loaded and unloaded through the large opening in the stern of the vessel.
It was a spectacular site,  at the same time the barges were doing their exercises  helicopters were taking off and landing on the ship.

IMG_4057Reversing out.


19 April 2016


The name "Nerriga" was first recorded by surveyor Robert Hoddle  during a  1828 expedition of the Shoalhaven River.

The village of Nerriga in situated on the southern tablelands around 1 hours drive from Jervis Bay.  The historic wool road which at one time played such an important roll in Jervis Bay’s past,  passes through what is left of the old town.

In 1840, James Larmer surveyed a village site and a route over the mountains from Nerriga to Vincentia. It was intended that this pass, known as the Wool Road would allow movement of agricultural produce to a port on Jervis Bay from the Braidwood and Goulburn districts. The road was completed in 1841, a distance of approximately 37 miles (60 km) at an estimated cost of £997. In 1842, the existing road linking Nerriga to Braidwood was substantially upgraded. Both projects utilised convict labour under the command of Nerriga landowner Colonel John Mackenzie.

While passing through Nerriga last weekend I had the good fortune to meet the son of the current owner of a property where one of the oldest slab houses of the district still stands.  I have passed  it for many years and have seen it slowly falling apart, but never stopped to have a close look.

I was kindly invited onto the property to take some pictures of the old building.

He said his family had only owned the property for 12 months and didn’t know a lot about the old house other than it was used as a residence, a bakery and by a coffin maker.

It’s a shame to see it deteriorating so badly – one day it will probably fall over and another peice of our history will disappear.

old-shedHardwood slab construction
IMG_3899The original bakers oven.
IMG_3911Cloth ceilings, timber walls and rough slab floor.
house-2Slab Walls


REF; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerriga,_New_South_Wales

14 April 2016

Thrills at launch of a new vessel.

The Adelaide 1948



Local name origins and meanings.

Callala Bay – Callala Beach

Thought to derive either from 'kallala' (meaning 'fish') or from one of Alexander Berry's convicts, Patrick Smith, who lived in the area and was born at Calala in Ireland.


Cape St George
23 April 1770. Cook. It was discovered by Cook on St George's Day. The lighthouse built at St George's Head had to be destroyed because it was built in the wrong place, and was a danger to shipping.


St Georges Basin
Takes its name from nearby Cape St George/ Surveyor Thomas Florence recorded the Aboriginal name - Bherwerre - for the basin in 1827.


Erowal Bay
Thought to be an Aboriginal word -  Originally spelt Erowhal


Pt Perpendicular
Named Pt Upright by Cook, 22.4.1770, due to perpendicular cliffs. Changed to its existing name during colonial times.

REF” http://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/discovery/names5.htm

Death at Sea.

A gripping story beautifully presented.

Follow the link below to an amazing web page dedicated to the first graduates of the Jervis Bay Royal Australian Naval College.


In July 1963, 26 midshipmen graduated from the Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay, NSW. They presented a Bible to the College chapel with their names inscribed in it. Excited to begin their Naval careers, none suspected that within the year eight would die.

Continue reading this story - http://www.theirsacrifice.com/story?id=10


12 April 2016

Jervis Bay Bits.


During the construction of the new Naval College at Captains Point men from all over the district found employment.   The college attracted a lot of attention and provided the local newspapers with a constant source of news.

This small article appeared in the Shoalhaven News in 1913.

First child born on Federal Territory.

Mr. L. Bellett had to go in last week to the local doctor at Nowra suffering from rheumatism of the heart.  Much sympathy is felt for Lou, in his trouble, as he has gradually risen to be on the permanent job here. Lou is anxious not to lose any time as he is about the longest man on the works. 


He had the honour of being father to the first child born on Federal Territory,  and so pleased were the office staff that they presented him a child's silver mug bearing the inscription, “Presented to the first child born on Federal Territory.” Lou intends to keep and hand it down to succeeding generations.

I wonder what became of that mug?


11 April 2016

Old Tomerong News

The end of ‘Neddy”
Times have certainly changed.
From the Shoalhaven Telegraph 1895.
Meaning of “Neddy”  - Horse



Jervis Bay, a safe haven.

Jervis Bay looking wonderful.
The bay has been used by mariners as a safe haven from tempest since explorers and merchants first sailed along the east coast.
Time and again stories appear in old papers of ships of all sizes coming into the bay seeking shelter, some suffering from storm damage,   they used the safety of the bay to undertake repairs and rest,  before continuing their journey once the weather cleared.
This pattern has continued right into the present day.



Argus 1860.
Argus 1864.
The Age 1874.
The Telegraph 1905.
The Age 1911.

Daily Advertiser 1927

Sydney Morning Herald 1927.
Nowra News 1937.
These are just a few of the many reports you can find.