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.

24 March 2017

Jervis Bay and HMAS Adelaide L01

The atmospheric light was just incredible,  dark and moody over Point Perpendicular,  with a bright  filtered glow emanating from the setting sun in the west,  in the  SW large dark broken storm clouds were slowly drifting into the picture, it was an amazing scene.

Ships in Jervis bay.

Late yesterday afternoon I went around to Hole in the Wall and took a few pictures of the Atoll 2,   a beautiful, 2 masted sailing boat,  tucked in close to the shore seeking shelter from the southerly winds.
The conditions were not ideal for taking photographs,  dark and overcast, raining and misty, but the bay looked absolutely beautiful all the same.


Moored near the Atoll 2 was the DMS navy support ship,  Seahorse Horizon.
Built in 1984, the ship was initially operated by the National Safety Council of Australia as MV Blue Nabilla. She was purchased by the RAN in 1990 for use as a surveillance, training, and diving support vessel and renamed, HMAS Protector, she was used as a  Royal Australian Navy (RAN) trials and submarine rescue ship.  During her military career, Protector supported the trials of the Collins-class submarines, and was involved in a search for the shipwreck of the World War II cruiser HMAS Sydney.  The ship was decommissioned in 1998 and, while still owned by the Commonwealth, she is provided to Defence Maritime Services to allow them to support Navy activities under contract.  Renamed Seahorse Horizon, the ship is operated by Defence Maritime Services out of HMAS Creswell as a training and Fleet support vessel.
REF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Protector_(ASR_241)

hole-in-the-wallSeahorse Horizon behind Hole in the Wall.
The Huskisson side of the bay was shrouded in thick mist almost obscuring the land , out of the mist appeared two largs ghost like shapes, hard to discern, but as they moved closer you could make out the distinctive shapes of two large navy ships.


The ship in the foreground is the second of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships, HMAS Adelaide  The ship in the background is the Adelaide-class guided-missle Frigate HMAS Darwin.
Both ships, slowly and carefully moved about the bay in the misty conditions,  the Adelaide finally coming to a halt in front of HMAS Creswell before dropping it’s anchor,   the Adelaide almost dissapeared into the gloom  near  Honemoon Bay.

Very early this morning I took this photograph of HMAS Adelaide under lights near Hole in the Wall.

23 March 2017

Loss of the Barque Solon

Disaster at Crookhaven Heads. - 1860

Tuesday 24th May 10 a.m -  The sailing vessel Solon, a barque of 565 tonnes, under the command of  Captain Rohde cleared the heads of Port Jackson at 10a.m., bound for Geelong with a cargo of 35 tons coals, 35tons of hay,  and a quantity of ships stores for the Armin,  now lying at Melbourne.  The weather was heavy with a S.W wind blowing.  Towards the afternoon it shifted to the east,  then later to the S.E. quarter.  The vessels head was kept off-shore, the gale steadily increased,  Captain Rohde’s ordered her sails to be reduced until she was under close-reefed topsails,  and reefed courses.

They made slow progress down the coast with a heavy easterly swell continuing to set in,  the ship was kept working to the southward, the conditions continued during Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,  blowing in very heavy squalls with thunder,  lightning and rain.

Friday 27th - The weather increased in such violence that the ship became unmanageable,  because of the heavy sea, and wind, she was able to carry very little canvas.  The weather was very thick,  Captain Rhode not seeing the sun since he left Sydney,  did not know his position.

25th May 3a.m -  The night was very dark when breakers where discovered under the lee,  the crew immediately set every inch of canvas the vessel could bare and endeavours made to claw her off the land,  but her fate was set, and shortly after she lifted bodily onto the rocks, her head at the time being southward.
The ship was driven heavily onto the rocks three times and swept over the outer reef into the deep water,  but she was still some distance from the mainland.

The vessel broke up rapidly,   the crew with great difficulty saved their lives, with the exception of one lad, named Louis Last,  a native of Bremen,  who was unfortunately drowned.   If the Solon had gone ashore a little more to the south,  none would have been saved.

When daylight appeared Captain Rohde had found the vessel had gone on shore on the south side of Crookhaven Head near Shoalhaven.  The hull of the Salon was in three parts,   little hope exists of saving anything beyond the spars and parts of the rigging and sails. 

Captain Rohdes arranged passage to Sydney by the Illawarra Steam Navigation Companies Steamer, Nora Creina,  leaving his officers and crew to save what they could.  It was an unlikely task as the sea was now making a clear breach over the ship,  leaving little hope of preserving any part of the hull or cargo.  Captain Rohde managed to save all the ships papers and his own clothing.

The ship was insured in Germany,  but the loss of the cargo fell on the shippers.

The Salon was originally from Oldenburg Germany. In December 1858 she sailed with approx 145 German immigrants from Bremen via Morton Bay then on to Sydney, arriving in Sydney on the 14th July 1959,  where she was chartered by the Colonial Sugar Company.

The Colonial Sugar Company is now known as CSR Limited, founded in Sydney in 1855.


The Steamer Nora Creina,  as mentioned above.
The Nora Creina, 142 tonnes was one of the earliest steam ships to operate in Australian waters, Built in Ireland as a three masted schooner, later converted to a paddle steamer, owned by the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company which use to frequent the ports on the south coast. The steamer was used for a twice weekly service on the Sydney to Shoalhaven Run
In 1858 the Nora Creina at great personal risc was involved in the rescue of survivors from the  Barque Annie wrecked at North Head Sydney.

Here is a report on the type of produce the steamer could be called on to transport.

Barque sail plan.



Beautiful March sunrise over Jervis Bay.

Weeks of grey skies and rain since the start of March, were this morning broken by a  rich glow of orange, yellow, pinks and red,  anyone who made the effort of getting up early and coming to the bay,  was rewarded with this magnificent kaleidoscope of colour and movement.


22 March 2017

Luxury Yacht Sunbeam - 1898

Steam_yacht_SUNBEAM_in_Sydney_HarbourSydney Harbour.

January 1898 the luxury British yacht Sunbeam sailed into Jervis Bay with his Excellency and Lady Brassey and Colonel and Mrs. Bingham on board.
The Sunbeam was on a trip between Sydney and Melbourne when she was forced to seek shelter in Jervis Bay because an accident disabled her machinery.

Sunbeam_RYS_OwnerSaturday 15th Jan - Lord and Lady Brassey and Colonel and Mrs. Bingham continued their journey by coach to Nowra,  where they boarded a train to Sydney. The Sunbeam remained in the Bay until repairs could be made and a coasting pilot arrived from Sydney to take her to Melbourne.

Lord and Lady Brassey.

Monday 17th Jan - The pilot Hayman arrived at Jervis Bay from Sydney at 6.30 p.m and boarded the Sunbeam which was now ready to sail for Melbourne as soon as the winds were  favourable.

Tuesday 18th Jan
- Early in the morning the Sunbeam was made ready to sail, at 8.40 a.m the Sunbeam with her sails spread cleared Jervis Bay Heads, the morning was dull and foggy as she steamed slowly into a fresh S.W wind.

The Sunbeam was a three-masted topsail-yard schooner,  iron framed and with a teak skin. Lenght 159ft, beam 27.5 ft, weight 532 tons.
Her sail area was 9,000 square yards,  The yacht had an auxiliary compound steam engine of 70 hp that developed a top speed of just over 10 knots.  The bunkers could hold eighty tons of coal and although primarily a sailing vessel, she could steam for approximately 20 days without refuelling.
When not in steam, the funnel would be lowered and the propeller feathered to reduce drag. Unlike many of the luxury yachts of the time, Sunbeam had been designed for long distance and deep sea journeys. The accommodation for the owners and their guests, however, was far from Spartan, with rooms fashioned in a typical Victorian drawing-room style.

The name Sunbeam came from the nickname they had given to their daughter - Constantine Alberta Brassey - who had died in 1873 from scarlet fever

REF: By Sidpickle [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Australian National Maritime Museum - http://www.anmm.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1464, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29423480
By Sidpickle - Took photograph Hastings libraryPreviously published: From Annie Brassey's album c1887, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29317815

Point Perpendicular

After the bleak grey skies over the last few weeks, it was nice to see such a beautiful sunrise over the bay.

16 March 2017

Jervis Bay - Rain

Being as the rain we have been experiencing for the last three weeks doesn’t seem to want to stop, I thought you may like to see people of the district suffered similar experiences many years ago.

Sydney Sun -  April 1918.
Cowra Free Press – May 1918.
Tweed Daily  - July 1918.
Newcastle Sun –December 1919.
Sydney Evening News  - April 1997.

15 March 2017

Eden Whale Museum.


Old Tom


I had already been to the museum a  number of times, but couldn’t resist another visit last weekend,  the volunteer staff are friendly and welcoming and all too ready to give you insight into the history of Eden and the famous, association between the local whalers and the Killer Whales. If your down that way be sure to call in and be amazed.



S.S Tamar arrives at Jervis Bay.

Living around the bay, you become accustomed to seeing all manner of vessels in the bay, from very large Navy ships to small fishing and sailing vessels.   It's hard to imagine a time when you would have only seen the occasional wind-powered ship.

Captain James Cook (1728-1779)Navigator and explorer Captain James Cook first described Jervis Bay in his journals after passing in the HMS Endeavour in 1770, he wasn't able to enter the bay because of adverse winds but noted it's distinctive features.

386px-Captain_Richard_Bowen21 years later in 1791  Lieutenant Richard Bowen, aboard the convict transport ship Atlantic, part of the Third Fleet, sailed into the bay and named it in honour of Admiral John Jervis, under whom he had served.
From that time on the bay has been visited by many sailing ships,  some seeking shelter in it's protected waters,  others manned by explorers looking for new lands to explore and develop.  At the mercy of the wind and sea,  travel was slow, unpredictable and dangerous aboard these tall ships powered by the wind.

In 1835, 44 years after Lieutenant Richard Bowen sailed past the virtical cliffs of Point Perpendicular into the bay,  the steamer S.S Tamar
owned and operated by the  General Steam and Navigation Company,  steamed into the bay, heralding a new era in faster safer travel for passengers, cargo and produce,  for the settlers of Jervis Bay.

”The Tamar arrived at South Huskisson during the middle of the night and created much excitement by having a noisy high-pressure engine, she was the first steamer many of the local inhabitants had ever seen”.  In due course,  the  Tamar was loaded with wool destined for Sydney.

Wreck of the Hive – 1835,  The S.S. Tamar was involved in the rescue and transportation of 100
Irish prisoners to Port Jackson.  They were part of a human consignment  being transported to Port Jackson aboard the convict ship the Hive which went ashore on Bherwerre Beach at Wreck Bay during a foul storm.

In 1841,   On a calm, clear, star-filled night,  the Tamar returned to the bay, she set anchor in what was then known as the North Harbour in about 5 fathoms of water,  where she lay until morning.  She proceeded at daylight to the north-western part of the bay near to the site of Jervis Town, where she landed some passengers.  She then steered a course for Inner- Harbour where the township of South Huskisson was laid out, (present day Vincentia )

advertOn her return to Sydney,  the passengers confirmed the good accounts of Jervis Bay as a harbour. The return voyage only took twelve and a half hours to reach Darling Harbour,  deducting the time she was detained at Wollongong.  The Tamar was soon after doing regular trips to the bay.

S.S.Tamar – 200 gross tons, length 96’3”,  width 17’8”. Paddle Steamer built in Glasgow 1833,
Held first mail contracts to north-east ports of Australia in 1860,  she was wrecked on Cabbage Tree Bay, Nora Head in 1873. REF: https://www.flotilla-australia.com/iscsnco.htm

In 1841 the paddle steamerSophia Jane,  famous for being the first steamer to operate in Australian waters, made her first trip to Jervis bay, soon after she began regular voyages, transporting wool, cargo and passengers to and from Jervis Bay to Sydney.

A new era had arrived.


9 March 2017

Royal Arthur at Jervis Bay - 1900



H.M.S Royal Arthur put into Jervis Bay on the morning of 13th December 1900,  She was carrying  the first Governer General of Australia, Lord Hopetoun who was on his way to Sydney.  The Royal Arthur had made good time coming along the coast.

The N.S.W Premier was sent a message from the lighthouse-keeper at Jervis Bay stating that the warship entered the bay at about 10a.m.

She will remained in the bay until Saturday morning,  giving her time to reach Port Jackson Heads about 10.a.m.

An official welcome, including a street procession,  was planned for Lord Hopetoun when he reached Sydney.

H.M.S Royal Arthur was the new flagship for the Australian station,  replacing the Orlando.  She was a first-class twin-screw cruiser of 7700 tons,  and was built at Portsmouth.  340ft in length, and 60ft in beam,  with a draught of 28ft 9 inches.  Her indicated horse-power was 12,000 with forced draught,  and 7500 with natural,  giving a speed of 20 and 18 knots respectively,  her coal accommodation was equal to 10.000 knots at 10 knots an hour. Her armament consisted of one 9inch 22 ton gun, twelve 6 inch quick firing guns, twelve 6-pounders,  and seven machine guns,  besides four Whitehead torpedo tubes.

She was a remarked improvement on the aging Orlando,  both in regards to size and equipment.


HopetounLord Hopetoun. Was a British aristocrat, politician and colonial administrator. He is best known for his brief and controversial tenure as the first Governor-General of Australia.
When he became Governor-General, he was 40 years old and he remains the youngest person to have held that office; he is also the shortest-lived, dying at the age of 47.

REF: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hope,_1st_Marquess_of_Linlithgow

Continue reading about the Orlando and it’s connection to Jervis Bay.

8 March 2017

7 March 2017

On this Day.–March 7th 1958

A new pre-stressed concrete bridge was opened by Sam Larter the oldest man in the area. Built over Broughton Creek Berry, the bridge was the first of it’s kind in Australia.  The bridge is located near the Berry Training Farm.

The original crossing was by the Back-Forest ferry until the early 1920’s when the Mayor of Berry, Mr. R. Shepherd,  in response to a largly-signed requisition called for a public meeting at Coolangatta Hall, to take steps towards starting an agitation to the Minister of Works, to secure the erection of a wooden bridge over the Broughton Creek.  The people of Coolangatta, Back Forest, Bolong and the business owners in Nowra saw the construction of the bridge as a project of importance.

A more substantial timber bridge was built in the 1920’s but that was destroyed by floods around 1954, for some time people had to detour over poorly surfaced roads to by pass the creek.  prompting the government to start on the new concrete bridge. the bridge spans 210 feet, with 7 spans and a roadway of 20ft wide.

Broughton (1798 – c.1850) was the name given by surgeon and explorer Charles Throsby to Toodood, a man of the Dharawal (Tharawal) people who acted as a guide and interpreter to Throsby, Alexander Berry and others in their travels in the Shoalhaven in the 1820s.
Broughton Creek was a guide, tracker and constable.
After the death of David Berry in 1889, the name of Broughton Creek was changed to Berry by Act of Parliament in 1890 in honour of the Berry family.

6 March 2017

Fox Hunt at Tomerong

An interesting picture of 21 unidentified people taken during fox hunt near Tomerong in the 1900’s.


1914 Shoalhaven Telegraph.




1 March 2017

Ulladulla–on this day 1964

March 2nd 1964 – The official opening of Ulladulla Harbour extensions.
In 1826 Thomas Florence mapped out the coast from Jervis Bay to Moruya, and in the five months the party took doing this they saw no other whites in the area.
Florence named the place where he camped ‘Buedella”.  Which in the Aboriginal language meant, “land of the flint”.  Buedella became corrupted into “Ulladulla”.
Other sources say it was known by the Aboriginals as Nulladulla,  meaning “safe harbour”.
Alternative spellings as Woolladoorh or Ngulla-dulla have been recorded.

The  main industries in the 1900’s were the timber mill,  the tannery and ship building all operated close to the foreshore of the harbour.

Ulladulla Harbour was one of the important ports of call for the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company.   Produce was bought to the harbour from surrounding farms, corn, potatoes, cattle and pigs were bought to the wharf by horse and cart to be loaded onto waiting ships,  and taken to the Sydney markets.  In return ships would bring goods for the stores and all manner of house-hold items.
A wooden jetty was built in 1859 to service the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company.
After several years and pressure and threats from the steam ship company a stone pier was built by the government.

The original Harbour was a very dangerous place to enter or leave in adverse weather conditions, several ships and lives were lost on the bomboras on the north and south side of the harbour entrance while  trying to enter the harbour.
Once a vessel was moored inside the harbour,  the breakwater still didn’t offer much protection in large swell conditions, the walls were short and low, and in heavy seas waves would break right over the wall.


To illustrate the point here is a dramatic photograph of the “S.S Belbowrie” being driven ashore inside the harbour in large seas which were pounding the coast in 1912.

The steamers, the “S.S Belbowrie” and the “S.S Seagull” were lying at the pier awaiting for the weather to abate so they could continue their journey south,  in the former case to Kiola,  and  the latter to Bawley Point.

The Seagull came into the port on Tuesday and tied to the wharf.  The Belbowrie arrived on Wednesday and moored alongside.
Being the larger boat of the two the latter was squeezing the Seagull up against the pier, whereupon the Seagull drew out and let the Belbowrie on the inside.

The seas increased in voilence during the night,  and at about four o’clock on Thursday morning the Belbowrie’s lines carried away and she was driven out from the shelter of the pier,  taking with her the Seagull,  which was tied to her.

Both were quickly driven ashore,  the Seagull and Belbowrie ending up broadside to the beach and taking waves right over them.  The seas were running right over the breakwater and many small fishing boats and launches had to be drawn high onto the shore clear of the breakers.

Both vessels were eventually refloated.

The first breakwater saw the erection of a small steel lighthouse in 1873.  The lighthouse was totally inadequate for shipping, situated so far inside the harbour behind the north and south headlands,  and was moved to Wardens Head further south of the harbour.


Ulladulla’s trawler fishing fleet slowly developed, becoming one of the chief sources of fresh fish to Sydney, the growing trawler presence meant something had to be done to improve trawler and boating safety.


In 1960 the decision was made to extend both breakwaters, extensive testing was carried out by model testing at the Public Works Department's Manly hydraulics laboratory.
The design called for substantial extensions to the rock wall on either side of the harbour, more than doubling the size of the harbour,  making it much safer for the fishing fleet and boating community.   The southern and northern breakwaters would be extended to 1050ft and 500ft, respectively, at a cost of $188.040.

The work on the project was finished in 1964. and opened by Hon, P.N. Ryan, MLA. Minister for Public Works, on March the 2nd 1964.


The harbour today.

Continue reading about Warden Head Lighthouse.