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.

8 September 2016

Crookhaven Heads–The S.S Bodalla

The Shoalhaven has many ports of call for  coasting vessels,  each port entrance poses it’s own challenge to the captains and crew during foul weather and one of the more dangerous is Crookhaven Heads, particuarly before the breakwater was built in 1910.
Open to large swells from the east and north, and flanked by shallow reefs and changing sand bars, combined and swept by the very fast outflowing tide from the Shoalhaven River, many ships have found the crossing a daunting and sometimes fatal place to be.

leumea-commy-views-010Calm conditions disguise the potential dangers.

Thursday the 13th of May 1923
The Steamer Bodalla a regular visitor to the south coast ports in the early 1920’s,  she had a very lucky escape from disaster at the entrance to the Crookhaven River and came out fairly unscathed.  Caught by the fast outflowing tide,  called the “ebb tide” she was carried onto the rock where the tide-guage was erected. The steamer remained hard and fast till 4.45 a.m. on Friday.  When she floated off and put to sea,  having sustained no apparent damage.

1914 . S.S. Bodalla was launced and was owned by the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company, Ltd., She was used on the south coast run, often picking up a cargo of Silica rock from Ulladulla. The Bodalla was expressly built for the Moruya and Narooma trade with special provisions for carrying cheese and passengers.

1923.  S.S. Bodalla ashore at Ulladulla.
She was blown from her moorings at Bawly Point and ran aground at Ulladulla, where she was stuck fast for  some time before being floated off.  Despite running into foul weather and taking over a foot of water in her hull, she limped her way back to Sydney, unassisted.

1924.  S.S. Bodalla’s luck runs out.
The Bodalla was wrecked on 19 January 1924 at Narooma, Caught in a violent north east swell,  she went aground at the entrance to the Wogonga inlet.  Despite the dangerous sea all passengers and crew made it to shore safely.
Mastered by Captain Jackson, the vessel was owned by the Illawarra & South Coast Steam Navigation Company. Built at Balmain in Sydney in 1914 by Norrison and Sinclair.  The Bodulla was a wooden twin screw steamer of 345 gross tons and 39.62m in length. It was powered by a compound engine, the engines were built by Campbell & Calderwood, Scotland.

Initial salvage was thought to have been possible,  but all attempts were abandoned when the seas relentless pounding broke her back and washed away or spoiled her cargo.
The engine & boiler were salvaged,  and the rudder salvaged by PWD in 1981 during building of a the breakwater.

out of copyright.

Her wrecked remains were later sold at auction for 50 pounds to William Waugh Limited of Balmain.
At the time of the wreck, the Bodalla was insured for 11.500 pounds.
REF: http://www.eurobodalla.com.au/Things-to-See-and-Do/History-and-Heritage/narooma-lighthouse-museum
Marine Court Enquiry.

Update: 2016.
93 years after the S.S. Bodalla became a total wreck and her remains disappeared below the waves, the east coast Low in July this year, which produced huge swells right along the south east coastline, has once again bought the S.S Bodalla to the publics attention by exposing what remains of the wreck of the S.S Bodalla.

Continue to a previous post about the loss of the  S.S. Brooklyn at Crookhaven Heads.

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