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 August 2017

A New Motor Boat.

Nowra Leader 1923.

A correspondent writes:
There will be launched shortly at Woollamia, Currambene Creek, a motor launch now being completed by the owner, Mr. Deprose.  The boat which is 37 ft long when in the water will represent one of the best of this kind of craft built on the Currambene.  She will have all conveniences for holiday makers,  men, women, and children who may decide on a day's outing on Jervis Bay.
The correspondent in verse concludes with the following advice to Mr Deprose on the subject of naming the launch:

Out in the bush he felled the frame
And bought it to this scene,
With skillful hands he built it up
Close to the Currambene

Assisted by his good wife Jean
No failure did he fear,
She was the only help he had
His manly heart to cheer.

Soon the launch will leave the slips
To kiss the Currambene
I hope he'll leave the names aside
And call her little Jean.

I have been unable to find any more information about this vessel
I wonder if he ended up naming her Little Jean?


29 August 2017



CaptureCutter Moonbill

March 1934.

Quite a stir was felt in Huskisson when word of the adventures of the auxiliary cutter Moonbill spread around the town.

The new gaff sail cutter was moored just off Currambene Creek flying a couple of flags at the stern riding the waves as if nothing untoward had happened to her.  But this comparatively small vessel and her crew had just been through 4 days of torturous sea conditions which tested the ship and her crew's strength and will to survive.

Barely able to walk when they reached the shore, the crew related their story to interested listeners before returning to their vessel.   Word quickly spread and a small crowd gathered to see the cutter.

The crew moved the cutter into Currambene Creek where the people had gathered at the wharf hoping to hear from the crew once they had moored, but instead of tying up to the wharf, she anchored mid stream causing some disappointment for those onshore.

A local journalist made arrangements to be taken to the vessel and record the adventure from the captains log.


Monday, Feb 19 - 3.40pm Sydney. The cutter cleared Barrenjoey on a cruise to Lord Howe Island with a crew of four men, good progress was made overnight.

Tuesday, Feb 20 - A moderate wind was coming from the south east.

Wednesday, Feb 21 - The wind swung around to the North East and during the afternoon the weather became threatening, with long N.E swell and the wind rising rapidly.
At 4 pm they took in all sail and streamed the sea anchor.  By midnight the wind reached gale force from the N.E with high seas.

Thursday, Feb 22nd - The wind blew a moderate gale all day. The wind now shifted from the N.E to N.N.E with a very high sea and continuous rain.  The vessel rode as best could be expected under the existing violent conditions.  The sea anchor was lying about 3 points on the starboard bow.  By nightfall, the sea became lashed with fury and the crew had a very tiring and hazardous time, Mountainous seas crashed over the vessel.  Due to the rolling the engine was flooded, and the bilge pump was disabled, but in two-hour shifts, they pumped by hand,  there was not much time for eating with the crew surviving on biscuits, the crew having to give every attention to the safety of the vessel.
Luke on one occasion had to climb the 30ft mast in huge seas to retrieve a broken halyard.

Friday, Feb 24 - The seas started to show signs of moderating, but violent squalls and continuous heavy rain,  which prevented any observation of the ship's position being made.
By midnight the weather showed signs of abating and the wind hauled from the S.W.

Saturday, Feb 24th - 4 p.m the sea anchor hawser carried away, the crew set a reefed canvas and proceeded close hauled towards the westward, by noon the weather had cleared,  and the wind moderated to a light breeze from the N.W.  This enabled observation to be made showing them the ship's position.

Incredibly the ship had drifted 200 miles to the southward. During the ordeal water had poured through a skylight, the wireless was sourced and all their clothing and bedding was saturated.


The crew by this time were almost completely exhausted and set a course for Jervis Bay,  they sighted Point Perpendicular Head at 7.55 am, entering the bay at 11 a.m.  and dropped a ground pick, and were pleased with the prospect of a hot meal and unbroken rest.

The crew - W.E. Moulin (owner). Captain Hill - ( ex Royal Navy Navigator).  S.J Keegan and Peter Luke the youngest.
Moonbill – measured 34ft ft in length, 11-foot beam and 5ft 6 inch draft and fitted with a 16 h.p Hercules engine.

Meaning:  Sea Anchor - an object dragged in the water behind a boat in order to keep its bows pointing into the waves or to lessen leeway.

sea anchor


25 August 2017

On this day–1891

1891 – The Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay was placed on the Register of the National Estate by the Australian Heritage Commission. This represented a recognition of the historical significance of the RANC and its special value for the present community and future generations.

Continue reading more stories about H.M.A.S Creswell.

One of the beautiful historic buildings at H.M.A.S Creswell.


22 August 2017

Submarines in the Bay.

Submarines have had a long association with Jervis Bay.  As far back as 1915 when the Royal Australian Naval College was being constructed at Captains Point.   At the time it was proposed to construct a basin, which would provide for destroyers and submarines, docks for larger ships, and floating docks.

In 1946 during joint British and Australian Naval exercises the British Navy assembled quite a flotilla of submarines inside Jervis Bay.



In the 1950's the prospect of a submarine base surfaced again when newspapers reported Jervis bay was going to be the site of Australias first major Submarine Base.   "Conferences between Navy Board chiefs and Federal Housing engineers are taking place."


Soon after the reports appeared in the newspapers the Minister for Navy, Mr J. Francis denied the reports saying, " the present base as H.M.A.S Penguin, Balmoral, Sydney Harbour,  was adequate for present needs." he went on to say. " the Navy and Works and Housing departments were investigating a proposal that a berth in which a submarine could  be kept should be built at Jervis Bay,  A berth was needed there so that one of the Royal Navy submarines based in Sydney could make periodic visits."

At the time of the announcement two British submarines H.M.S Telemachus, and H.M.S. Thorough, were conducting exercises with the Australian Navy in the waters off Jervis Bay.


H.M.S Telemachus surfacing in Jervis Bay, 1950.

hms thorough in jervis bay 1950
H.M.S. Thorough,  seen here entering Jervis Bay in convoy with the Australian Navy, 1950.

Interesting comparison between H.M.S Telemachus and the Collins Class submarine of today.


REF: http://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/news-networkeditorial/network/interac/longform/submarinedossier/index.html


May 1963.
The Tabard reported a bent fin and "superficial" damage. Tabard was one of three Royal Navy submarines based in Sydney for anti-submarine exercises with the R.A.N. and the R.A.A.F. Such a collision could lead to disaster for the submariners in the remote chance of serious hull damage.


21 August 2017

Ships in the bay

August 20 2017.

Today one of the Australian Navies Collins Class Submarines entered the bay and moored on the  Man of war Mooring No4.  It made quite and impressive contrast to Point Perpendicular. 

Last night was your last chance to see the old Point Perpendicular lighthouse illuminated as described in the previous post.

Click on photo's to enlarge.

The characteristics and range of Collins class submarines have been tailored specifically for its defence and two-ocean surveillance role in the Royal Australian Navy. Designed to be as quiet as advanced technology can achieve, Collins class submarines have been developed from five generations of submarines designed and built by the Swedish Navy.


18 August 2017

On this Day

Today 18th August 2017.
This weekend the Old Point Perpendicular Lighthouse will come back into operation as part of the
16th annual International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. The light was built in 1899 to replace the Cape St George Lighthouse which was built in the wrong location.   In 1993 due to rising operating costs, the lighthouse was decommissioned and replaced with a steel tower structure that was operated by Solar panels.
The old light is a lot brighter and revolves in an anti clockwise rotation. It is well worth the trouble to make your way to the waters edge to see this rare event.
The light will be operational until Sunday Night.



john-jervis-2Two more historic events occured on this day.

The first was 229 years ago on the 18th August 1788 when the transport ship the Atlantic under the command of Archibald Armstrong entered Jervis Bay.
The naval agent was Lt. Richard Bowen,  during their time in the bay, Bowen charted and surveyed the bay,  and named the discovery “Port Jervis” in honour of Sir John Jervis.

Continue reading about Richard Bowen.

Sir John Jervis.


The Atlantic sailing past Point Perpendicular as she entered Jervis Bay,  as depicted by Ian Henson.

The second event occured 171 years ago and would forever link Coollangatta in Queensland with the Shoalhaven when on the 18th August 1846. The brigantine “The Coolangatta”, named by Alexander Berry after his station which in turn was named after Mount Coolangatta, was wrecked in a storm. The place was between Point Danger, where the boundary between NSW and Queensland was made in 1859, and Cut Hill. The place was called Coolangatta after the wreck of the ship.
Continue reading about the Coolangatta.

Advertising  The Shoalhaven News and South Coast Districts Advertiser Sat 18 Aug 1923.

Take notice of the Telephone number!



14 August 2017

old time notes

imageNorth Huskisson Wharf.

This small article which appeared in the Nowra Leader,  September 22, 1911  describes South Huskisson as a thriving small coastal town.  It mentions the large Dent family,   the shipbuilding and timber industry, as well as some of the people involved.

"It is now over 40 years or it may be 45 years since the late Mr James Dent, senr., started the ship building at North  Huskisson. That spot then was a busy centre. Combined with the shipbuilding carried on by Mr Dent, there was a large timber trade, logs in the round were shipped to Sydney.  This particular branch employed a great many men, and many bullock teams were used.  In connection with the various branches of this work, there were trusted men placed over each branch.  
As well as we can remember Mr Longfield was general manager.  Mr Peak took a part in supervising matters.

Mr Dent took an active part in all matters pertaining to the business.  Messrs.' James, since deceased, George and William who were then on the verge of manhood;  Fred, Harry, and Joe were boys.  Life then was all sunshine.  The traveller to Huskisson to-day cannot imagine it was such a busy centre at that period.

"Poor Old Ned Gather'em -up'' as he was generally called,  we suppose he was so called on account of gathering up the tools and other things of general use that caused the appropriate name to be given him.  'Old Ned" was in his glory when there was a launch on, he has long since been gathered to the land of his Fathers.   He with many others, roamed over that timbered locality which induced the
axeman and teamster to haul many of its enormous trees.   60 years ago or perhaps a little less than that there was not a habitation at the Currambene.  Mr Dent, the senior, was the first to build there.  The only house between Nowra and Jervis Bay, as the road wended then, was at Woollamia.  Mr Dawson had a home at Erowal, now the property of Mr P. Kean.  There were one or two houses at Jervis Bay,  but were on the decay.  Mr John Guihan, known then as "Kerry Jack," occupied one of those houses near the fresh water creek which empties into the Bay.

The Elyard family then had a cattle station at Jervis Bay, and "Jack"  was the stock-keeper; he went once a fortnight to Brundee for his rations.  It was he who first saw the wine laden ship "Juniper" wrecked south of the bay.

This part of the article describes South Huskisson (Present day Vinventia).
Prior to the time, we are writing about there were three hotels in Jervis Bay, also a blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop a wool store and wharf.  The old pine-tree is the only mark left today to remind of the long past and almost forgotten period.  The Bay now has its hotel and store, run by Messrs. Cambourne and Paul respectively.

imageTimber vessels at Huskisson Wharf, 1903

Advertising which appeared in the same newspaper.



1 August 2017

Ships in the bay–August 2017

Today we have two Australian Navy Ships conducting exercises in the bay.
05 - HMAS Melbourne (III)  and 152 - HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152). They made an impressive site this morning set against the background of Point Perpendicular. While HMAS Melbourne stayed at anchor,  HMAS Warramunga appeared to be doing small boat defensive exercises.  Two small boats were darting repeatedly back and fourth at high speed towards the Warramunga as she did fast turns from port the starboard.  Quite amazing to see such a large ship turning and heeled right over under full power.

05 - HMAS Melbourne (III) - HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152)

  152 - HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152).  - 05 - HMAS Melbourne (III)

HMAS Melbourne (III) Set against the glare of the early sun and Point Perpendicular.


HMAS Melbourne (III) - Adelaide class guided missile frigate - The name Melbourne has been carried by two former RAN warships: a light cruiser 1913-1928, and an aircraft carrier 1955-1982.


HMAS Warramunga over towards Callala Bay. The Warramunga is an Anzac Class Frigate, commissioned in 2001 for the Australian Navy.