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.

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. 



29 May 2017

Range Finder – HMAS Creswell

HMAS Creswell has many historical artifacts on display around the base, this amazing peice of equipment is called a "RANGE FINDER",  it came from the first HMAS Sydney.  The Range finder has been at the base from at least 1923 where it featured in a College Magazine.  Sydney achieved fame in World War 1 when it defeated the German cruiser EMDEN on 9 November 1914.  You can see the evidence of the action on the rangefinder.

The rangefinder has only been recently put back on display was originally painted battle ship grey. The paint was removed revealing the amazing brass and workmanship.


Damage suffered during the battle with the German cruiser Emden.


HMAS Sydney 1


26 May 2017

HMAS Creswell

26th May 2017
I recently found an old photograph of the base from around 1915 the curator of the Navy Museum had not seen before. I was asked if I would like to come to the base and take a comparison photograph from the same position today as was taken in 1915.



As you can clearly see there has been a lot of changes. The original dark building in the original picture has been demolished, a park now occupies that space. In the recent photograph, you can clearly see the multi-story blonde brick slabs built in the 1970's, a far cry from the beautiful old original timber buildings.
In the original photograph on the top left and the top right, you can make out the back of the original Geelong House which towers over the large grass parade ground called the "Quarterdeck" you can still see this in the recent image.


This image shows the back of the two buildings that make up Cerebus House.  They were at one-time separate buildings but during later renovations were joined together. The distinctively roofed squarish building in the foreground can be seen in the original photograph.


The view from the front balcony of Geelong House overlooking the Quarterdeck. 846-QuarterdeckHere you can see the original layout.  The grassed area is known as the Quarterdeck because of the shape.   The quarterdeck is a raised deck behind the main mast of a sailing ship. Traditionally it was where the captain commanded his vessel and where the ship's colours were kept. The road running around the perimiter recreated that shape.

In the background You can clearly see Geelong House on the left with Cerebus House on the right with the two story Stewarts Quarters behind. During the period of 1930-58 the Stewarts Quarters was used as holiday accommodation and known as the "Anchorage".  The building was demolished in 1980.

The clock tower in the foreground has it's own amazing history and more of that including rare images from inside the tower can be seen here.


The bell which is rung every day.  The date signifies the date the Navy regained possession of the facility after it had been closed as a navy base in the 1930's and turned into a holiday resort.CaptureREF:http://news.navy.gov.au/en/Jan2015/Fleet/1744/100-years-at-Jervis-Bay---College-seeking-descendants.htm#.WSifQOvfqHt

Throughout the fascility there are reminders of the rich history of the "Royal Australian Naval College" HMAS Creswell. running down the inside of one of the corridors of Cerebus House are photographs of the first cadets with each young mans history.  Considering the boys average age was only 13 years old when they entered the service.  Thrust into the first world war shortly after graduation, they went on great adventures, some lived long rewarding lives, while others were lost at sea during their service to the nation. Their individual stories could fill an historical publication by themeselves.