Harbour signs tell of very different times

THROUGHOUT the 19th century, Gerringong’s Boat Harbour played a pivotal role in the development of the area.

And now you can explore some of that history with the installation of interpretive signs at the harbour that tells its story.

The harbour has always fascinated Alma McPherson, a member of the Gerringong and District Historical Society – and a regular at the Boat Harbour rock pool.

However, Mrs McPherson felt there was little to indicate the significance of the harbour and the historical contribution it made, a situation the historical society set out to rectify.

With the assistance of a $9750 federal government grant, and matching funds and works in kind from society members – and consultation with students from Gerringong Public School – two new interpretive signs have been installed at the harbour that document the harbour’s history.

By the 1820s, Boat Harbour had become a regular stopping point for boats bringing provisions and mail to Gerringong from Sydney and transporting cedar the other way.

As the years went by, the harbour became a busy hub with steamers arriving to export a variety of farm produce from the Gerringong area and by 1884 the harbour was home to a 500-foot (152-metre) jetty.

However the harbour was not considered safe, with many ships’ captains refusing to use it.

Between 1841 and 1867 seven ships were wrecked within the harbour and eight outside.

The interpretive signs were officially unveiled at a ceremony at the harbour by Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler with the help of local MPs Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis and Member for Kiama Gareth Ward in front of Gerringong Public School children.

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