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Something about Tomakin

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. 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.

Mark tells us that local Aboriginals had named the area Tanagan. It soon became known as Tomakin …local Aboriginal for “sweet water”. In the early 1970s a developer changed the name to Sunpatch, but local protests soon had it revert to its present name.

Did you know?

*A four-mile railway linked Mogo with Tomakin to transport timber from inland for shipment.

*There was 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.

*There is a secret World War Two radar station at Burrewarra Point and an associated airstrip.

*There was a school (The book has 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 were many wrecks of vessels that came to grief coming or going from Tomakin.

The Tomakin History Book is now available online – further to TCA selling out both the initial print run and reprint of 700 copies of the History book, the TCA committee has decided to make a soft copy of the book available free on otheir Website.

You can download or read the book at the TCA website:  www.tomakincommunityassociation.com

Or go straight to the book PDF by clicking here: https://bit.ly/38D4y6G

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