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.

16 April 2017

Sailors bones lay bleaching on the shore of Jervis Bay.

15th April marks the anniversary of the death of Robert Johnson.

It took 8 years after the tragic death of Robert Johnson for his remains to be shown the respect this young man deserved.

April 15 1892 a young 19 year old Blue Jacket named Robert Johnson was serving aboard the HMS Orlando when he was involved in a tragic boating accident near Tapalla Point Huskisson that cost him his life.  Robert Johnson was  burried just above the high tide mark near Tapala Point and his grave was marked with a simple white picket fence.
Unfortunately a few years later higher than normal tides causing erosion exposed the remains of this poor sailor to all that passed by.

The deplorable state of the grave gained a lot of attention when it was bought to the media's notice.




An illustration showing the erosion and the exposed bones of Robert Johnson.


1900 - Captain Dicken, of the Royal Arthur, set about giving Robert Johnson a properly marked grave and show him the long overdue respect he deserved. He went about raising by subscription amongst the naval people a sufficient sum to have the body of young Johnson removed to a point which overlooks the anchorage of the men-of-war at Tapala Point.  The crew of the HMS Boomerang were assigned the sad duty of removing the body from the grave.  The government of the day agreed, and a beautifully designed monument was set above the grave.


The Sharpshooter-class  torpedo gunboat,  HMS Boomerang 1900

I covered more of the story in 2014 which you can read here.

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