PEOPLE driving along the George Bass Drive past Tomakin, and even those who venture into the village, will think it is a quiet backwater where nothing much happens…and not much ever has.
They would be wrong, as the guest speaker told members at the July monthly meeting of Moruya Probus Club. Mark Young, who is vice-president of Tomakin Community Association, was there to talk about Tomakin’s past, and the book he has written about it: Tomakin, the Undiscovered History.
Glasgow-born Mark arrived in Australia thirty years ago, first visited Tomakin a few years later and retired there about six years ago.
His interest in the history of the area was sparked when he noticed a section of rusty rail from a riverbank. He asked about it and a local told him it was a remnant of Tomakin’s shipbuilding industry.
Doubtful at first, Mark found that from the late 1800s to the early 1900s there was a brisk boat-building industry at Tomakin As well as, among other things, five sawmills. After he began his enquiries, and having a few small items in the Tomakin newsletter, locals suggested he should write a book. That resulted in much more research and the publication of Mark’s book that has just sold out its second edition.
He said local Aboriginals had named the area Tanagan. It soon became known as Tomakin …local Aboriginal for “sweet water”. Due to there being another shipbuilding town by that name in New South Wales that became Tomakin. In the early 1970s a developer changed the name to Sunpatch, but local protests soon had it revert to its present name.
Among other things Mark spoke of:
*A four-mile railway that had linked Mogo with Tomakin to transport timber from inland for shipment.
*A beach racecourse where, among many other incidents, a visiting sailor carried an anchor that he used to encourage a fractious mount to stop and turn around.
*A secret World War Two radar station at Burrewarra Point and an associated airstrip.
*A school (Mark screened a photo of it with its pupils taken about 1890) that was moved to Mogo, and then brought back, cut in half and sold as two houses.
*The many wrecks of vessels that came to grief coming or going from Tomakin.
Members were told the guest speaker at the August meeting would be Rohan Gleeson who would talk about the National Broadband Network, and the speaker in September would be Rudi Langeveld who would give some details of the Air B&B system.
Earlier Moruya Probus president Max Hogno inducted three new members, Frank and Lenore Sarka and Kay Davies. Immediate past president Vince Fisher told a joke, first denying any responsibility for it, and Cyril Streatfield told of his “first taste of Australia”…jam he found in a food parcel from Australia in London in the 1940s.
Members were told that things they had to look forward to included a possible luncheon cruise on the Clyde aboard the Merinda, luncheon at the Bodalla Dairy Shed on August 14, Moruya Races on September 28 at the invitation of Batemans Bay Probus Club, the club’s activity and games day at Moruya Surf Club on October 23 and a six-day outing with Batemans Bay Probus Club on October 29.
The annual photograph competition will be held on September 25, the subject being the buildings of the Eurobodalla
Moruya Probus meets at Moruya Golf Club at ten-o’clock on the fourth Tuesday of each month with potential new members always more than welcome (membership officer is Carolyn Winters, 4474 4614). The next one will be on August 28, at Moruya Golf Club starting at ten-o’clock.
There are many advantages with being a member of Probus. Apart from meeting new friends, and sometimes some old ones, there are opportunities of being involved in outings. There are discounts for some members with restaurants and hotels and more reasonable travel insurance rates that seniors may otherwise be offered.