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.

27 June 2017

Government pilot steamer, S.S Thetis.

imageCopyright free. https://www.flickr.com/photos/anmm_thecommons/8966369784

S.S.Thetis was built in 1868 for the New South Wales Department of Public Works.

A regular visitor to Jervis Bay, she was most famously involved in the search for the S.S. Dandenong which floundered off Jervis Bay in 1876 with the loss of 40 lives.

1870 - The Thesis was sent out to examine the coast off Jervis Bay, The brig Spec from Melbourn had passed a piece of wreckage consisting of the roundhouse of a ship.  It was painted red on the top, and sliding hatch,  the main boom of the vessel was lashed to the house,  and what appeared to be the bodies of two men were lashed to the boom. More wreckage was spotted a few days later.  The Thesis could not find the wreckage.

1870 - She visited the bay and opened telegraphic communications with Sydney.

1870 - She called into Jervis Bay to inspect the Cape St George lighthouse which required the officials to leave the ship near Bristol Point and travel by foot overland. After the inspection, they headed to the wreck site of the ill-fated Walter Hood just north of Bendalong. The Walter Hood was wrecked during a heavy gale in April of the same year.
The gale drove her onto rocks, 12 souls perished with the survivors fighting a desperate battle for survival as the remains of the vessel broke apart around them.  At this stage there was no wreckage showing above the water,  the hull appeared to be lying right in the breakers, a diver was sent to inspect the wreck but because of the breakers, he was unable to make any careful examination of her remains.

1873 - Thesis came to the aid of the steamer Hero which had been reported missing,  but she had put into Jervis Bay short of coal. The Hero had her top-gallant forecastle washed away during a severe gale.  The Thesis supplied the Hero with coal. The passengers of the Hero presented Captain Logan with a purse of Sovereigns because of his efforts to keep them safe during the gale.

1896 - The Thetis arrived in Jervis Bay with members of the Marine Board for an inspection of the Cape St George Lighthouse. It was found to be in good order and left for Kiama and Wollongong.

1898 - The Thetis was fitted with nets and was sent on a mission to test the fishing grounds along the coast,  she intended to work the grounds off Jervis Bay but a boiler pipe burst and she returned to Sydney for repairs.

1898 - Arriving in Jervis Bay she trawled nets but the trial was deemed almost useless, with masses of seaweed and worthless fish secured being fourfold the number of edible fish.

1899 - During one excursion to Jervis Bay the Thesis was involved in an experimental fishing technique, where a series of electric lights were attached to a wire netting cage,  with a view of trawling for fish at considerable depth. The experiments failed during the day in deep offshore waters,  with some of the lights breaking.
Experiments were then conducted at night in Jervis Bay. The steamer anchored in 6 to 8 fathoms of water lowering the cage with the lights, the lights were so powerful they illuminated the whole of the water around the vessel, and though it was not possible to see the fish swimming near the globes they could be observed a short distance above the lights.
The cage was left down for about and hour and a quarter,  and upon being drawn to the surface the globes were found to be intact,  but there were no fish in the cage. The gentleman who invented the apparatus is of the opinion the lights were so strong the fish could at once see the cage.

1899 - The Thetis arrived in Jervis Bay carrying an official of the Works Department for the final inspection of the new Point Perpendicular Lighthouse before the official handover to the Marine Board. The officials were landed at the Government wharf at Benjajine Beach near present day Honeymoon Bay before walking to the lighthouse on the service track.


S.S Thetis at the loading wharf for Point Perpendicular Lighthouse

1900 the Thetis while on a voyage to Wagonga River
to investigate complaints about the way the fisheries were being worked was forced into Jervis Bay by very heavy weather. She anchored near the Miranda Lagoon, described as a large sheet of water running back about a mile,  ( as far as I know there is no lagoon inside Jervis Bay called Miranda,  there are two possible places, one being Moona Moona Creek the other being Hare Bay, that could be described as a lagoon with the dimensions described below.)

The lagoon was described as being an average width of two chains. ( A chain is a unit of length. It measures 66 feet or 22 yards)  A large sandbank was formed across the mouth and a Mr Want directing that a channel should be made to connect it with the waters of the bay.  All hands were engaged in the work,  and after some considerable labour a narrow passage was cut,  and in a very short time, the mouth widened to thirty or forty feet,  caused by an immense volume of water forcing it's way out. The lagoon was found to be alive with mullet, bream, eels and myriads of small fish. 
They were surprised to find such and array of fish living in such brackish water highly charged with vegetable matter.

It was presumed that the entrance had been closed for some considerable time and the cutting of the channel to admit a free passage of water to and from the lagoon would be of great value to the fish in these waters.

Shortly after the Thetis resumed her voyage.

Continue reading about the Walter Hood  - http://jervisbaymaritimemuseum.blogspot.com.au/search?q=walter+hood
Continue reading about the Dandenong -  http://jervisbaymaritimemuseum.blogspot.com.au/search?q=dandenong


26 June 2017

Combination plane.


45 Combination plane, used for cutting grooves or rebates into timber.  The lowest part of the plane in the photograph is called the fence, the plane uses a combination of the adjustable fence, adjustable depth and the blade to cut an acurate groove into timber.


The width of the cut is adjusted by loosening the thumb screws and sliding the fence sideways on the two protruding round metal bars. This plane accepts different width blades to cut a narrower or wider groove as need be.
The blade's depth can be adjusted by the screw adjuster near the front of the plane on this image.

The way the fence guide bars are set up in the top photo the plane can be used for cutting a rebate, by moving the two bars to the bottom holes you would be able to cut a grove as in the picture above.



This very early all metal speargun is part of the museum's collection. The leaver at the back with the two lengths of bent wire were used to grip the rubber and make it easier to pull the rubber back into the firing position.



An Early Stanley No 78 Duplex,Rabbet & Filletster Plane


This wonderful old plane is part of the Museums collection. It was mainly used for creating rebates in timber typically the rebate around doors. This type of plane was one of Stanley's most popular tools favoured by door fitters and hangers.
As a bevel-down plane pattern type, it is generally used by joiners and furniture makers for forming the occasional rebate and especially for cleaning up machine marks from spindle moulders before the finish is applied.

The small three way adjuster with the screw in the middle seen here just in front of the blade could be loosened, the small three way adjuster turned exposing a small blade which would then be tightened, this would cut the timber fibres stopping the blade from tearing the timber if used to cut across the timber grain, there is one on both sides of the plane.



Helen Dawn - Huskisson 1939


The launch of the Helen Dawn at the AWM Settree slipway on the banks of Currambene Creek. 
The Helen Dawn was a Danish Sein trawler,  built for Mr Clancy and Mr Johnny Owens  who
worked with the Puglisi family at Ulladulla.

The event was quite an affair when a large number of carloads of people travelled from Milton to
Huskisson to watch the launch.  By 11 a.m a large crowd had assembled to look over the ship
and admiring the workmanship, all eagerly awaiting the ceremony. Opening the ceremony
Mr Clancy called on Mr. P.N Ingold to explain the reason for building the ship. Mr Ingold stated that
vessel the was to be used for deep sea fishing, after being taken to Sydney,  where the engines
will be fitted.

The ceremony continued with the wife of the joint proprietor christening the ship by taking hold
of the bottle suspended on red, white and blue ribbons and smashing it on the bow as she
named it "Helen Dawn,"  telling the assembled onlookers "Dawn" was her suggestion,  as it
would be the dawn of a new adventure.

With great excited expectation, the ship immediately glided to the water's edge,  but to the
intense disappointment of the spectators,  some slight hitch prevented the successful launching.

The shallow tide had caused the ship to stall on her slip, with the change of tide it was hoped
the launch would be complete.

The vessel was commandeered by the US Navy during WW2. 4.500 pounds was paid in compensation.

Fred Woods a crewman nearly lost his arm when it was caught in the winch.

The vessel was lost during enemy action in 1942 in New Guinea, she was run aground loaded
with ammunition abandoned and sunk by enemy planes.

MEANING: Sein Trawler -  is a method of fishing that employs a seine or dragnet. A seine
is a fishing net that hangs vertically in the water with its bottom edge held down by weights and
its top edge buoyed by floats. Seine nets can be deployed from the shore as a beach seine, or
from a boat.

Boats deploying seine nets are known as seiners. There are two main types of seine net
deployed from seiners: purse seines and Danish seines.
REF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seine_fishing


22 June 2017

Wrecked on Bowen Island

Monday the 8th of April 1895 3 men arrived on foot at Cape St George
  after walking over rough bush tracks from Bowen Island at the entrance to
Jervis Bay.  At the time the men had been living aboard the fishing smack Carina which had been
anchored in the shelter of Bowen Island for some days. 

At 5 p.m on Saturday the Carina was making her way out to the fishing grounds when she went ashore on the north west corner of Bowen Island and became a total wreck.

The Carina was built in Scotland as a sailing vessel,  being imported by Captain Gascoigne 
aide-De-camp to Lord Carrington during his term as Governor of  New South Wales,  and
was bought out to Sydney on the deck of a sailing vessel.  The Carina sailed in various
races but was unsuccessful.  Captain Gascoigne disposed of the yacht to a Sydney gentleman
and she subsequently became the property of a couple of fishermen who took her to
Jervis Bay and employed her in connection with the coastal fisheries.

The week before becoming a wreck the tug Newburgh met the smack at the bay. 
The Carina had just been through a torrid ordeal outside the Bay,  losing two dinghies 
one was carried overboard off the deck,  and the other broke adrift while towing astern. 
The smack also lost a kedge in Jervis Bay.

The Carina carried 4 hands at the time of the incident including a Chinaman  who was
employed curing the fish for the market, all hands were saved.

Meaning -  Kedge - a small anchor.
              -  Fishing smack - a type of traditional fishing boat that has a well amidships. The
well was filled with circulated external water, which kept fish alive until delivered.

The Tug Newburgh,  was a well known Sydney tug used for towing sailing
vessels into Sydney Harbour.  Sydney tugs like the Newburgh would ply the coast north, 
and south as far as Jervis Bay  looking for sailing ships,  charging a fee for towage back
to and inside the harbour. A becalmed ship or a ship under stress could take many
days to get to Sydney Harbour,  stranding valuable cargo at sea, the arrival of a Sydney
tug was a welcome sight.



15 June 2017

German Warships in Jervis Bay

September 1892
In a period of pre World War 1 Naval co-operation between Australia and Germany,  the
German unprotected class Cruiser SMS Bussard came to Jervis Bay for gunnery, torpedo
and drill practice for her men.


SMS Bussard came back to the bay for general practice in April 1896 and March 1897.

The German war ship SMS Falke also came to Jervis Bay in March 1896 for similar purposes.


SMS Falke



8 June 2017

Ships in the bay.

Today the early risers were treated to a fantastic show.  As the grey overcast conditions started to break up letting the sunshine through, two war ships which were at anchored in the bay overnight came into view.  The Australian ship HMAS Toowoomba 2 started to move from in front of HMAS Creswell towards the Spanish War Ship Cristobal Colon still anchored near Bowen Island. As they came closer together they made a spectacular sight.  Taking on passengers HMAS Towoomba made her way across towards Honeymoon Bay.  Point Perpendicular shrouded in mist and rain,  faded from view as Toowoomba sailed by.


Spanish War Ship Cristobal Colon in the early morning light.


HMAS Toowoomba 2


Toowoomba about to take on passengers.


Early risers enjoying the spectacle.


Toowoomba passing inside Point Perpendicular.


Beautiful conditions across the bay.


7 June 2017

Wandandian Post Office early 1930's

This image shows the Wandandian Post office located on the Prince's Highway. Serviced
by horse-drawn mail coaches,  the old shingle-roofed building was the postmaster's
home and post-office combined.  The corner of the veranda being the post-office.

old bush post office wandandian

Bush post office at Wandandian.
This building was replaced by another in 1937 which still survives today and has has recently been bought. The new owners have begun restoring the old building and is being used as a home.

Continue reading about Wandandian Post-office


Wandandian School Closed

1970 – The Wandandian Public School was closed after being open for 59 years (since 1911). It had replaced an earlier school which had been opened on 14 August 1886, which in turn replaced an earlier school of split slabs and a bark roof. This itself replaced another “school” which had been conducted in Charles Loadsman’s old residence.


5 June 2017

Jervis Bay Snippets

Nowra Leader 1932.

     Several local residents journeyed to Huskisson last Sunday to spend the day's outing.
One had a rather exciting time, Roy Georghegan and his family set off in the old  Flivver"
and all went O.K. until passing Dent's boarding house.  Here the bck wheel of his car decided
it had gone far enough and started for home leaving Roy and the "flivver" to carry on. When
all had finished, Roy found himself down over a 6ft bank and the wheel several yards behind.
The rear axel had snapped.  The occupant's travelled home per motor lorry.

      Several motorists to Huskisson on Sunday last saw their petrol tanks full when they
left home but before they got to miles on the homeward journey. ;phut" went their engines
No benzine!. They claim that some of the locals must be jolly good milkers and ought to
try the farmers for a job.

Meaning -  "flivver" a cheap car or aircraft, especially one in bad condition.


3 June 2017

Moona Moona Creek

  • The Nowra Leader (NSW : 1909 - 1939)  Fri 27 Nov 1931



Continue Reading about Moona Moona Creek.


On this day

1981 – The M.V. Tasman Sea, the last wooden vessel to be built at Huskisson, towed the Lady Denman the last part of the way into Currumbene Creek to tie up to the Rotary Wharf at Huskisson.


Continue Reading


2 June 2017

HMAS Creswell

On a recent visit to the navy base HMAS Creswell I was shown some of the many exhibits on display throughout the base.
This beautifully made timber wheel is from HMAS Adelaide 1.

It's called the aft steering wheel and was fitted in warships to continue fighting should the bridge be shot away. The aft steering wheel directly drives the rudders and requires 6 men to operate.

The aft steering position was purely man/mechanical, no power assist! The wheelhouse was always below the bridge,  What many don't realize, is that, on earlier ships, the helmsman could not see where he was going, relying entirely on conning directions from the bridge...


Aft steering wheel.


HMAS Adelaide.


Lady Denman.

The channel was dug and the Lady was floated closer to her final destination...the journey continues.



1 June 2017

Rough Seas slam the eastern sea board 1911

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald 1911 – A heavy sea was running along the eastern sea board forcing coasting vessels to seek shelter in ports from South West Rocks to Jervis Bay.