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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Tuross Head Heritage Park

At last week's Tuross Head Progress Association meeting it was unanimously agreed to that the little corner reserve on the corner of Tuross Boulevarde and Beach Street, which had been dedicated in the 1960's as Public Garden be returned to the Tuross Head community. In a money grab of 2012 Council deemed that the little corner grassed area "seemed" unused and though the Tuross Head Progress Association protested strongly Council decided to go ahead and reclassify it so that it could then be sold. Recent discussions with the Mayor, THPA representatives and adjacent landowners arrived at a possible solution. Council needs to be swayed that the reserve is in fact used and provides a community purpose. At the Thursday meeting the THPA members discussed the need in the community to have a central place to celebrate the community and pay respect to the history of the area. It is now intended to present to the community, for their approval The Tuross Head Heritage Park. Once approval is gained the project will be presented to Council with a request to return the dedicated community land to its original status.

With the new generation of signs they are digitally interactive which means that they can be linked to video and sound for more information or for the visually impaired via a Quick Reference (QR) code. (Above- a concept idea only to offer an example)

Above: examples of the signage available through

So what Tuross Head Heritage information do we have? What would we have on our storyboards? To start with Tuross Head has a fantastic geological history Tuross Head (and further north to Bingie Bingie Point) is located in a area known for its early Devonian granites around 410-390 million years old. Most notably is the Tuross Head tonalite and Bingie Bingie suite of gabbroic diorite.Bingie Bingie Point is of major geological significance as it is where a complex association of two igneous rock types exists - granite (Tuross Head tonalite) and gabroic diorite (Bingie Bingie suite).The clear exposure of two differing igneous rock types and their relatonship to each other in such a confined area is regarded as outstanding among exposures of igneous intrusive rocks in Australia. Then there is the rich Aboriginal history with Tuross Head acknowledged as a key meeting and fishing place for South East and inland mobs. The Brinja Yuin people occupied land from south of the Moruya River to the Wagonga Inlet. Their population was about 1000-1500 prior to European settlement. Traditional ceremonial activities reinforcing cultural beleifs and practices were conducted around the shores of Coila Lake. Many middens, open campsites and bora ceremonial grounds have been found. Archeological excavations in the area known as "the Narrows" between Coila and Tuross Lakes has revealed very dense concentrations of Aboriginal artefacts. The local aboriginal community appreciates the support and respect given by the general public to the protection of these site. Then along came The Endeavour in 1770:

At 6pm on the April 19, 1770 Captain James Cook wrote in his log " ..winds southerly a gentle breeze and clear weather with which we coasted along shore to the northward. In the PM we saw a smoak of fire in several places a certain sign that the country is inhabited. At 6 o'clock we were abreast of a pretty high mountain laying near the shore which on account of its figure I called Mt. Dromedary. The shore underfoot of this mountain forms a point which I have called Cape Dromedary" On April 29, Lieutenant James Cook guided his ship the Endeavour towards Kurnell in Botany Bay in 1770. In Cook's Endeavour journal he recorded: “As we approached the Shore they all made off, except 2 Men, who seem'd resolved to oppose our landing. As soon as I saw this I order'd the boats to lay upon their Oars, in order to speak to them; but this was to little purpose, for neither us nor Tupia could understand one word they said. We then threw them some nails, beads, etc., a shore, which they took up, and seem'd not ill pleased with, in so much that I thought that they beckon'd to us to come ashore; but in this we were mistaken, for as soon as we put the boat in they again came to oppose us, upon which I fir'd a musquet between the 2, which had no other Effect than to make them retire back, where bundles of their darts lay, and one of them took up a stone and threw at us, which caused my firing a Second Musquet, load with small Shott; and altho' some of the shott struck the man, yet it had no other effect than making him lay hold on a Target.” Next record we have the visit of George Bass in 1797 as reported by local historian Noel Warry On the evening of Saturday, December 16,1797, his whale boat stood off a point of land which he named Marka Point, the place now known as Potato Point. The next day he landed and walked to what we call Tuross Lake. For someone on his way to test the existence or otherwise of a sea lane between the Pacific and Indian oceans, this break in his journey was but an interlude. He recorded that the area was waterless and empty of human inhabitants. However, to the people whose territory it was, the arrival of a whale boat under sail was a most dramatic event. Fifty years later, when Cooral, an Aboriginal friend, told it to him, a resident of Moruya wrote their version down. When George Bass and his crew dropped anchor, Cooral, then a young boy, was asleep with his tribe on the cliff above the beach. At dawn, when every body woke up, they were dismayed to see an enormous white thing just out to sea, its wings spread as if for flight. After a hasty discussion they decided that a monster bird of some unearthly kind had come to pick them up like a hawk does its prey. They fled in terror. They did not stop until they sank exhausted in a gully of the stony creek near what we call Coila. Even there they did not feel safe, for who knew if the great white bird was not hovering above them ready to strike, and they had nothing with which to defend themselves. In their panic they had left all their possessions, all their weapons and their food, behind them on the cliff top. The elders were the first to think be yond fright. They decided that a look-out should be posted to watch the lake and the bravest of the tribe should go back to see what had happened at their camp site. While everyone else crouched in silence, tired and hungry, a courageous lit tle group returned to the sea. Concealing themselves," they paused near the Springs and scanned the horizon. There was nothing unusual to see. The monster was no longer there. After much debate they agreed they should walk along the beach to see if the great winged thing had molested their camp site. Creeping cautiously along the high tide mark they bunched together when their leader suddenly stopped. On the sand were unmistakable signs of a canoe of some strange make having been pulled out of the water. Stranger still, there were prints of human feet and beside them others so weird as to be unbelievable. Footprints of two-legged creatures, without toes, prints such as they had never seen before. Despite their fear they tracked the prints of the toeless creatures. But when the prints led towards the place where the tribe was hiding their dread intensified. The one thought that now possessed their minds was that some further horror had come among them. With all speed they hastened back to warn the others. This further news caused more consternation and panic. Not only was the tribe at the mercy of a great bird which might swoop down on them at any moment, but now mysterious toeless beings were coming towards them on land. They spent the day crouched under the trees. At night they huddled together for warmth. They had no fire, no food, no possum rugs to cover themselves and no weapons with which to defend" them selves. It is no wonder that an old man could remember with such detail all that happened during that terrible time. He could not recall how long they stayed there, but at last hunger and cold won over terror. The brave ones once more went back to the camp. At last they reached the campsite. Nothing seemed to have been touched. Food and dilly bags still hung from the trees, weapons and rugs lay about undisturbed. They hastened to tell the others. Slightly reassured but still fearful, the tribe went back. They ate, collected their possessions, and then moved to another place. The big white bird was never seen again and there were no more sightings of toeless footprints. Life gradually returned to normal. By the time Cooral and his peers attained manhood they had heard of similar happenings far to their north and of the coming of the spirits of men, turned white. ' George Bass had recorded the area as uninhabited. To him it was just one more Uneventful day. Yet the memory of that momentous episode, the terror, the courage, so impressed the mind of a young boy that 60 years later he could still re member it in vivid detail. To follow is are the stories of John Hawdon [1801-1881], then Patrick Mylott [1838-1899] and his daughter Eva Mylott which then leads to the storyboard of Hector McWilliam; the founder of modern Tuross Head. The Tuross Head peninsular was bought from Mary Mylott by Hector McWilliamover several years from 1923 to 1926. Hector was then aged 48. This purchaseincluded Tuross House, built by Patrick Mylott in 1870.The Mylotts had moved to Sydney in the 1880’s leaving their property under lease.Their move was to assist in developing their daughter's singing career (Eva Mylott was to become one of the world’s great contraltos). Patrick Mylott died in Sydney in 1898. His widow returned from Sydney and terminated George Smarts lease on the Tuross Head farm to then work it herself.Mary Mylott decided to retire in 1917 and leased the property once again, eventually deciding to sell the property in the early 1920’s.Hector McWilliam had been selling real estate in Wagga and fell in love with the Bodalla district while visiting on holiday. He was seeking an outlet forsome of his grand dreams that would bring fame and fortune and decided to purchase the Tuross Head lands. The deal was concluded in July 3rd 1925. Hector was something of a visionary. He saw Tuross Head as a great tourist resort and immediately began to invest heavily in advertising and promotion.

July 3rd 2025 will mark the centenary of the New Tuross Head In that 100 years there is much to celebrate with the evolution of a passionate community who have built a life for themselves on the Tuross Head peninsular. This is captured in the history of the boatsheds and in the recent documentary Shaking the Dust - Memories of the Tuross Head Progress Association Hall

The Tuross Heritage Park, if allowed by Council, will allow the Tuross Head community to respect, celebrate and acknowledge the richness of the history and the passion of place that many share and to proudly present the diversity of the storyboards above and so much more. The Tuross Head Progress Association has written to the Eurobodalla Council advising of the Heritage Park and requesting that Council staff proactively overturn the decision. Should they choose not to there will be a string of public meetings held with petitions and a request to Councilors to overturn the decision via a Notice of Motion.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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