How the story broke –
NOWRA lost a significant part of its history on Wednesday night when the Nowra Sailing Club was destroyed by fire.
Fire broke out after 8pm with the building well alight when Fire and Rescue NSW crews arrived.
Unfortunately the landmark Nowra structure east of the Shoalhaven bridges could not be saved.
The outpouring of sadness of social media has shown how much the historic building means to the local community.
For many locals and the media included, the building is an indicator at flood time.
The seriousness of the Shoalhaven River flood event is often measured by how far floodwaters rise up the front of the building.
In a couple of major flood events in the 1970s only the top of the two gables on the western side of the building were visible.
These were sentiments shared on Wednesday night as news of the blaze broke.
It is ironic the structure which had withstood numerous floods over the years only to be destroyed by fire.
Local historian Robyn Florance, who helped prepare a heritage assessment report into the building in 2000, said it was a “terrible loss of Shoalhaven history”.
“It is sad the building was left to sit there for this long,” she said.
“This is what happens.”
The area’s history dates back to 1885 when the original Nowra wharf was constructed. Many of the supplies for Nowra were brought to the area by ship, with the wharf becoming a vital part of the local community.
An Illawarra Steam Navigation Company shed was built at the location in 1899, relocating from Terara. The sailing clubhouse was the company’s original Nowra office.
Two others wharfs were built there between 1902-04 and 1930-35.
The site was taken over by the Nowra and District Fishermen’s Co-operative in 1948 and the Nowra Sailing Club in 1964.
In 1977 it became a shared building with the Shoalhaven Rowing Club.
Even into the late 1990s the building remained intact in its original 1930s configuration.