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Delivering the Goods: Pigs, Paint, Passengers, and …


Batemans Bay Historical Society is celebrating a major step forward in its objective to help heritage organisations link the stories of coastal trade along the south east coast of NSW.

It has been awarded funding from the Australian National Maritime Museum for its project ‘Delivering the Goods’, making accessible the interpreted content of two original shipping ledgers from the Nelligen agency of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company which serviced the south coast for almost a century.

The ledgers cover two decades of the mid 19 th century as our coastal and Tablelands economies were developing. Pigs, passengers, cheese, horsehair, corn, and, of course, timber, left. Drapery, alcohol, paint, parcels, and all manner of domestic essentials arrived to stock the shelves of local businesses and cheer the isolated townships.

The ISNC sailed from Sydney to Eden maintaining agency wharves in several ports; its large fleet features in stories of wrecked vessels, but fortunately no lives lost. In assessing their significance Bega historian Angela George, says.‘The ledgers offer outstanding potential to contribute to the understanding, communication and interpretation of a broad range of local and regional themes and subjects, including activities of our pioneer families.”

Society president Ewan Morrison, noted that it has taken volunteers five years to pursue this project through grant applications covering conservation, digitisation, and finally interpretation. MMAPSS funding covers the services of local historian Julia Hill to review, theme and summarise the content, and an eHive (cloud) licence to upload data for public access in 2021.

The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

Local historian Ms Julia Hill

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