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.

30 May 2016

Canal type subdivision for Huskisson

Another fact you may not have been aware of.

In 1960 there was a proposal to build a canal style subdivision near Huskisson similar to what they have at Sussex Inlet.  The plan was called the “Miscellaneous Plan”.  It would have been bounded on the east and north sides by Currambene Creek and the south and west sides by crown lands including swamp lands.




27 May 2016

Local facts


The mail contract of the year for Tomerong and Huskisson would run twice a week – James Tyrrel delivered the mail by hourseback at the rate of 24 pounds for the year.

The mail service between Tomerong and Huskisson was approved by the Post Master General to run 3 days a week. – The contractors fee was increased by 14 pounds p.a.

Vehicle licence fees were one shilling per vehicle and sixpence for a drivers licence.


I bet you didn’t know Huskisson had it’s own golf links.
In 1930 a minature golf course was installed at the side of the Jervis Bay Hotel Huskisson, It had natural turf giving full opportunity for golfers and other players to practice difficult approach and putting shots.

When the “man-o’-war’s’ came to port the minature links proved quite an attraction,  with onlookers showing great interest in the game.

A motion was put to the Clyde Shire Council by Mr Harrison, tourist and publicity agent for the Shoalhaven on behalf of the Huskisson Progress Association for a 9 hole golf course to be built on Crown Land west of Huskisson  -

The links were prepared by the council on the provision the locals people helped as well.
Local men and women rallied to the cause,   nearly every Huskisson resident pitched in, while the men swung axes, cleared timber and brush  the women folk raked the fairways and burnt off the rubbish.


Nowra Leader 1937.

1938 - Unfortuantely the venture fell through, some thought the distance of about a mile and a half out of town hindered patronage of the course. The club paid the council what money it had raised to the amount of 12 pounds to help towards the council’s expenses in building the course..


After much lobying by locals,  power to Tomerong and Huskisson was supplied in 1938,  but only to the street lights between 7pm to 10pm, connection to houses proceeded soon after.


26 May 2016

East Coast Low – ”There was a roll on”

25th May  - Today we had a very intense east coast low that produced 5-6 meter swell along the south east coast of Australia.  The normally flat protected waters of Jervis Bay saw large rolling waves hitting the points and beaches.

Today was exceptional in it’s beauty, westerly winds groomed the bay, soft whispy, wind swept clouds in a crystal blue sky, and the warm winter sun making a journey to the sea shore a very pleasant experience…

The New Zealand Navy are still using the bay for training exercises, even from a distance you could see them rolling from side to side in the large swell sweeping through the entrance of the bay.

Here are a few photos from today.

IMG_5423Refueler - HMNZS Endeavour entering the bay early Wednesday Morning.
HMNZS Endeavour rolling in the swell as she crossed the bay.
IMG_5394Large plumes of spray smashing the reef at longnose point.
IMG_5580HMNZS Tekaha behind a rolling sea.
IMG_5613HMNZS Tekaha

“East coast lows”  have been responsible for some of the worst maritime disasters along our coast.  I have posted  other stories about this type of intense system and the tragic consequenses of being caught at sea during one of these events.
Continue reading.



24 May 2016

Mystery object.

What was it used for?

This tool is part of the museums collection. There wasn’t any information about what the tool was,  or what it was used for. 

Until today! the mystery has been solved.

Fortunately the tool gave us a clue.
The wording on one side of the long handle – “THE BERG RIM TOOL”.
The other side of the handle has “PROV. PAT. No 20095/24”.

In the age of spoked wheels and split rims.
”It was used for removing demountable split rims from tires and replacing said rims upon the tires”.

The tool was invented by Australian “Francis Henry Berg” around 1924,  and released onto the Australian market in 1925.

Francis Henry Berg invented  other products for the automobile industry including a Steering stabaliser around 1932,  Improvements in shock obsorbers 1937,   Improved piston and valve assembly for tubular hydraulic shock absorbers 1929, 1930, and 1936. 

Description of the tool at the time of release.
"The instrument consists of a rack and pinion with three arms that lengthen or shorten as required,  and with little effort on a lever the rim is quickly broken or replaced".

The distributing agent for was A. G. Healing & CO., PTY., LTD.,  and  cost 32 pounds and 6 shillings.





23 May 2016

A very fishy tale – another story concerning sharks in Jervis Bay.

With all the histeria and sensational headlines that surrounds sharks these days this small “amusing” story only made page 2 of the Kiama Independent in 1896.


This is just one of many  fascinating stories concerning sharks in Jervis Bay –
continue reading




Jervis Bay Items.




20 May 2016

Jervis Bay Bits

A strange incident as reported in  the Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser 1939.

Whaling Jervis Bay

Nowra Leader 1913 - How times and attitudes have changed for the better.

See previous posts about whaling in and around Jervis Bay. Continue Reading




Point Perpendicular Lighthouse.


The images above were taken around 1996,  3 years after the erection of the skeletal structure that replaced the old tower in lighting the mariners way.
The new tower certainly doesn’t have the beauty or romance of the old tower constructed in 1889.




19 May 2016

Warden Head Lighthouse.

Also known as Ulladulla light house.

Originally built on the Ulladulla Breakwater in 1873, the light was shifted to Warden Head in 1879. It is one of only two lighthoses in New South Wales made from wrought iron plates, the other is Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse.

The Warden Head Lighthouse in 1879 at its original location on the Ulladulla Breakwater. Public Domain.

In  1920, the original oil lamp was replaced with a flashing light powered by acetylene gas for automatic operation, and the station was unmanned. The next conversion was to electricity in 1964. The light is now battery operated and float charged from 240 volt mains supply.

Its keeper's house was relocated to a different location in the 1920s. Public Domain.

This image is a slide from my own collection  - 1978.

12th July 2016
Today I was at Ulladulla and thought Id take a quick detour out to the old lighthouse.
It has been a quite a few years since I was there.    Standing in front of the lighthouse  was a group of people with binoculars in hand peering out to sea hoping for a glimpse of a migrating whale during their journey north to breed.

The Lighthouse.

I was a bit shocked to see the condition of the lighthouse,  the structure needs some serious work done,  there is rust starting to run down the outside of the steelwork,  some of the hand rails are starting to deteriorate badly and look like they are not far away from breaking in half.  What a shame,  lets hope the relevant authorities get together and save this beautiful old light,  it would be such a shame to see it left to fall apart as the Greenwell Point Lighthouse was.

There is an obvious difference between the 1978 image above and todays image.




18 May 2016

The schooner Eugenie. Captain buried at sea

Captain and mate die at sea.

These terrible headlines appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1909 and were the first indications that something terribly tragic had taken place.
The story tells of the tragic circumstances by which  Captain Gorman of the auxiliary fore and aft schooner Eugenie found his maker,  and the brave actions by the first mate Mr. Anderson in saving the vessel and it’s crew,  before he himself was overtaken by the endless sleep. 


The Eugenie was a fore and aft schooner built by Joseph Dent in 1904, to the order of Messrs. Darbishire and Harding of the island on Guadalcanar,  in the Solomon Group.  She was fitted with a 12 horse-power Victor motor for taking her in and out of port, in her official trials she steamed over the measured mile at a speed of 31/2 knots.  Described as a handy little vessel of about 70 tons gross and 84 tons net,  measuring 101 ft in length,  beam 19th,  depth 8ft 3 in. Her frames and bottoms are of hardwood, and the decks and sides are of kauri, she was copper fastened throughout.


After her launch from the Dents shipbuilding yards on the banks of Currambene Creek,  she was towed to Sydney by the steamer Kiaora,  where at once she was taken to Drake’s dock in Waterview Bay to be fitted out.  Around 12 months after her launch she made the voyage back to Sydney for a complete overhall.

Calking and other improvements were carried out,  with a major upgrade to her masts. They were restepped with the view to improve the sailing capacity and general handiness of the vessel.  This was carried out under the supervision of the builder.  The schooner was taken for an official trial and the results of the trip judged the alterations as entirely satisfactory. At this time she was in command of Captain Harding.

She then proceeded back to the Solomon Islands and be handed over to Captain N. R. Schroder.


The first the authorities knew about the terrible event was when word was received in Newcastle that the Eugenie was in distress of Cape Hawke,  and in need of assistance.
Captain Hacking Superintendent of Navigation immediately dispatched the pilot steamer Ajax to the scene.
Dr John Harris, also joined the crew of the Ajax in consequence of the report that there was sickness on board.  On reaching the schooner the crew of the Ajax found the Eugenie had been taken in over the bar into Cape Hawk, and was in no danger from any bad weather that might arise.

On board they found the mate of the Duranbah,  Mr Stewart and a white seaman Mr A Thompson, also from the Duranbah.  Mr Stewart stated that the steamer Duranbah saw the schooner flying a distress signal.  The ensign was flying upside down and half mast. On speaking to the crew of the Eugenie it was found that the captain had died two days previously,  and the mate was very ill.
Mr Stewart and Mr Thompson were therefore put on board to navigate the vessel to the nearest port.

The mate. Mr Anderson,  recovered slightly on being given a dose of brandy.  He told a sad story of the schooners voyage from the Solomon Islands 12 days before. The master Captain Gordon was suffering malerial fever,  two days later the mate also took the fever,  the two of them, the only white men among a crew of 12 hands,  made an heroic and terrible struggle to navigate their vessel to Sydney.

After some days of this the captain was unable to leave his bed,  and the whole of the work devolved on the mate, Mr Anderson.  The later was suffering severely,  and had no sleep or food to speak of for days.
To make matters worse,  the schooner met with bad weather and had a number of her sails blown away.  On the 6th inst,  Captain Gordon,  who was to weak to leave his bed for some days succumbed,  and was burried at sea.

A few hours after the arrival of the Ajax the mate Mr Anderson died and was buried at sea. Two of the natives were also suffering with fever,  the rest of the crew all natives of the Solomon Islands are in good health.

The vessel was fumigated and after a few days and one aborted attemp because of bad weather,  she was towed to Sydney by the steamer Electra for an overhaul and refit.  because of the sensational story  reported in Sydney papers, a large crowd had assembled on the foreshore to see the striken schooner arrive in port.

Further details emerged surrounding the circumstances and difficulties encountered.

The vessel had an oil engine, but there was no propellor attached to the shaft.  The engine had gone rusty,  and the lever was immovable.  The sails, too, were battered and torn,  and could not be set until they were mended.  There were ten black natives on board,  and only two of them knew how to steer the vessel.  They could hardly speak,  and where one went the others followed.
1416-Boat-Frame---aBoat frame on the backs of Curambene Creek.
This was not the end of the story however.
March 1909.

In the Vice-Admiralty Court to-day the Deputy Judge Commissary, Mr Justice Street, delivered his reserved judgment in the case of the North Coast Steam Navigation Company and others against the owners of the schooner Eugenie for salvage. The claim was for 400 ponds.

The plaintiffs are owners of a fleet of steamships trading to the northern rivers.  Two Vessels – the Duranbah and the Electra – were concerned in the salvage.

At the time of the rescue by the Duranbah as detailed above, the schooner was found to have her helm lashed hard a-starboard; the wind was from the south-east,  there was an easterly swell,  and the schooner was drifting towards the land.  Practically all the work fell on Stewart and Thompson. 
His honour in delivering judgment, reviewed the facts of the case,  and remarked that the essential element of salvage service was that it must be done voluntarily and successfully,  and that there must be danger to the vessel salved.  In the present case the service was both voluntary and successful,  and the vessel was in real and sensible danger.  She was in such a position that without assistance,  she would in all probability have drifted ashore and been lost.

The plaintiff company had rendered services which were in the nature of salvage,  and for that were entitled to some reward.

As regard the services rendered by the Electra,  those must be looked upon solely and simply as towage services.  Taking all the circumstances into consideration, he thought the sum of 45 ponds was sufficient for the company.

The services of Stewart and Thompson were meritorious,  and their claims stood on an entirely different footing.  They displayed courage and humanity,  and remained on deck all night and day  inspite of what they regarded as infection.  The award for services of this kind could not be wieghed on scales;  but there should be an award in order that others might be encouraged to go and do like wise.

His honor awarded Stewart 55 pounds and Thompson 35 pounds;  a total verdict of 135 pounds,  defendants to pay costs of the suit.

The wreck of the Eugenie
After her refit the Eugenie she was sold to Messrs, Burns. Philip and Co, Limited, acting on behalf of the Solomon Islands Development Company,  6 years later the Eugenie in 1915,  was a total wreck,  dragging her anchors in Abamama lagoon she was blown on to the reef by a strong westerly wind.
Another locally built vessel ends her seafaring adventure in sad and dramatic circumstances.

 Walt Whitman (from Leaves of Grass, 1867 edition, first published in Saturday Press, New York, 1865)

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
   But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red,
         Where on the deck my Captain lies,
            Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
   Here Captain! dear father!
      This arm beneath your head;
         It is some dream that on the deck,
            You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
   Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
      But I, with mournful tread,
         Walk the deck my Captain lies,
            Fallen cold and dead.


16 May 2016

Jervis Bay – Jarvis Bay

Even now people still refer to “Jervis Bay” as “Jarvis Bay”.   Here is a copy of the text from an article in the Shoalhaven Telegraph 1929. The original letter was sent to the Speaker of the House Sir Lyttleton Groom.  explaining why it is called Jervis and not Jarvis.




Old houses of Huskisson

There are still some beautiful old houses in Huskisson.
This one has just been recently sold,  hopefully the new owners see the value in preserving some of Huskissons past.

Bowen street Huskisson.

2 May 2018.
I'm afraid the old house above has gone the way of many of the original houses left in Huskisson, it has been demolished, leaving one small section of the house standing held up by props. At the rate the old houses are coming down there won't be much left of Huskisson's heritage for future generations.




13 May 2016

Electricity for Huskisson

It’s hard to imagine not having electricity to power all the things that make our every day lives so easy, but as late as 1935 Huskisson residents were still waiting to be connected.


Ships in Jervis bay.

New Zealand Warship “HMNZS Tekaha” was still in the bay this morning.




12 May 2016

Unknown ship at anchor - Jervis Bay

I took these images in 2001. I don’t know what the ship is called but it takes you back to an era when beautiful sailing ships would call into the bay.