Shoalhaven Mayor to launch history book on former artillery training area.

Tianjara, by Bob Snedden, the history of the former artillery training area west of Nowra, will be officially launched in Nowra.
Tianjara, by Bob Snedden, the history of the former artillery training area west of Nowra, will be officially launched in Nowra.

Tianjara, the story of the former artillery training area west of Nowra, will be officially launched in Nowra next week.

Bob Snedden, who has had an interest in the area since the mid 1960s, published the previously untold story about the history of the range at Tianjara last year.

Unfortunately Mr Sneeded hasn’t been able to have the book officially launched until now.

Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley will launch the book on Tuesday, October 17 at Annes Second Hand Book in Junction Street, Nowra at midday.

Tianjara traces the early exploration and settlement of the area and the requisition of the land from graziers during World War II under  a Permissive Occupancy (PO) to be used as an artillery range.

The land remained in the hands of the Commonwealth from 1942 to 1981-83 when it was returned to the State of NSW and was incorporated into the Morton National Park.

“However at key time lines during the transition there was never any audit conducted to determine levels of contamination from unexploded ordnance and range waste from military training activities that could be used to usefully advise the public of any risk that may be present,” Mr Sneeden said.

“The lack of detailed information provided to facilitate the development of an appropriate safety management strategy inspired private detailed search of official records.”

He said the research included input from more than 70 former service personnel.

In 2012 a decision was finally made by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to seek a formal review of records by the Department of Defence.

“This led to the contention, long held by my colleague Cris George and myself the entire area of the former TATA had been used was finally vindicated,” Mr Sneeden said.

“The land, now considered to be substantially contaminated, has been increased by almost twice its size. There is uncertainty across the lands from Sassafras to Pigeon House Mountain.”

Today the range is part of one of the NSW key destinations for visitors, bushwalkers, 4WD enthusiasts, bird watchers etc.

In 1996 it was included into the Budawang Wilderness.

The book is a detailed record of the history of Tianjara compiled from the information gathered during years of consultation and research.