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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

A Major History Conference : Destination: Batemans Bay

If you are interested in our local history, mark the date in your diary: Saturday March 25th 2023.


South Coast History Day is coming to Batemans Bay.


What is South Coast History Day? One of the most successful local history seminars in the state. As its name implies, it focuses on the history of the NSW South Coast.


Three South Coast History Days have been held previously, all in the Bega Valley Shire, all attracting very large numbers of participants and many of Australia’s most highly-regarded historians including Mark McKenna, Peter Spearritt, John Blay, Anna Clark and Lenore Coltheart.


It will be a day at which the area’s local history comes to the fore and is an opportunity for anyone who is keen to learn more about how, why and when the Batemans Bay and Eurobodalla areas developed. The day is designed to appeal to local residents and visitors to the area so, while a number of leading Australian historians will be giving presentations during the day, it will be a far cry from a symposium with an academic focus.


A session is planned on the challenges of simply getting to the area by sea or by land. Another will be focusing on the surviving history and heritage that can be found in the Eurobodalla Shire. And a third will explore some of the lesser-known stories about the area.


The already-impressive line-up of presenters at South Coast History Day 2023 includes Dr Matthew Trinka, the Director of the National Museum of Australia, Dr Richard Reid who is well known for his interest in local histories and particularly those of the NSW South Coast, Denis Conor who is the Archivist for the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn which includes the NSW South Coast area, Professor Lynette Russell from Monash University in Melbourne and Professor Ann McGrath from the Australian National University who will be sharing their research interests in the whaling industry and Indigenous relations.


South Coast History Day 2023 is being organized by the South Coast History Society (the publishers of the popular ‘Recollections’ magazine) and is being actively supported by the Clyde River and Batemans Bay Historical Society.


The full program for the Day, which will run from 10am to around 5pm, will be released at the end of September when tickets (which will be very attractively priced at just $30 each!) will also become available.


The NSW Government’s Arts and Cultural Funding Program has provided funding that has enabled this South Coast History Day to be organized.


South Coast History Society’s President Peter Lacey told The Beagle that ‘we anticipate an overwhelming demand for the limited number of seats on offer, not just from residents in the Eurobodalla and southern Shoalhaven Shires but from many residents in Canberra, Queanbeyan and even Sydney who have family holiday houses in the area and are therefore interested in the history of the region. And, of course, there are also several hundred people who attended previous South Coast History Days who already know that this is likely to be another extremely informative and engaging day, and will be eager to attend.’


‘And, yet again, we are absolutely thrilled at the extraordinarily high calibre of speakers who will be coming to Batemans Bay just to contribute to South Coast History Day 2023.’


Further information about South Coast History Day is available by phoning 0448 160 852.



Above: The Clyde Mountain Road (now the Kings Highway) around 1902 – even then with a queue of traffic! National Library of Australia - image number nla.pic-vn3602817

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