Friday, June 10, 2016

A Little History Washed Away in the Storm

At the height of the storm last weekend the swell at Bawley Point,'our' beach, averaged a height of 6m (20ft), with occasional rogue waves recorded at 11m (36ft). This, combined with a exceptionally high tide and storm surge, washed away what was known as the Bawley Gantry.
The gantry has been a landmark on the headland for ever. It was a great place to fish from and a fun place for kids to jump off.
Many happy hours have been spent there.

When this area was first settled back in the early 1800s the main occupation was timber getting. Huge stands of red cedar, black butt, spotted gum, messmate, stringybark, ironbark and mahogany were logged and shipped to Sydney or Ulladualla where a thriving ship building industry had been established.

The main means of transport was coastal shipping. The country was too rough for proper road building and logs were transported from the forests, east by bullock drays, to the coast along rough tracks. Here sawmills had been built on headlands that offered reasonably protected port facilities.

One such mill was built at Bawley Point in 1892 and operated, sometimes under great economic and logistic problems, until 1922 when it burnt down. The milled timber was shipped by means of punts which were lifted by a crane into the water from the gantry and towed out to the ship’s side.
Apart from some foundations the gantry was the last remnant of the mill.
The old crane was washed away in a big storm in 1974.
What's left of the gantry high and dry in the sand dunes

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