New South Wales

Bateman and Nelligen Part 1

LINKS to other pages in the New South Wales website and the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

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1 : Stanwell
2 : Milton
3 : Granite Falls and George Boyd Lookout
4 : Walter Hood Bay
5 : Shoalwater River and Yalwal Valley
6 : Bateman's Bay and Nelligen
7 : Mogood Mountain and Shallow Crossing
8 : Ulladulla
9 : Bundanon and Arthur Boyd
10 : Journey's End and Guest Book
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BATEMAN'S BAY is both a bay and a town administered by the Eurobodalla Shire council. It had a population of approximately 16,000 in 2005. The Clyde River empties here into the Tasman Sea. It is the closest seaside town to the city of Canberra, making Bateman's Bay a popular holiday destination for residents of Australia's national capital. It is a popular retiree haven, but has also begun to attract young families seeking affordable housing and a relaxed seaside lifestyle. Other local industries apart from tourism include a sawmill, oyster farming and forestry.

Captain Cook named the bay on 22nd April 1770 after Nathaniel Bateman. Nathaniel Bateman was Captain of Lord Colvill's ship, HMS Northumberland (the 3rd ship of that name), at the time when Captain Cook was serving as her master from 1760-62. In 1821 Robert Johnson entered the bay and explored the lower reaches of the Clyde River on board the cutter Snapper. Snapper Island within the bay is named after Johnson's boat. Johnson returned with Alexander Berry and Hamilton Hume and they traced the river to its source.

When the district was surveyed in 1828, a deserted hut and stockyards were found. Cedar getters and land clearers were in the district in the 1820s. In 1854 the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Co found the Clyde River to be navigable. Regular services by the company in the 1860s and 1870s contributed to growth of the district.

Oyster farming commenced in 1860. By 1870, there was a fleet of 40 oyster boats. A sawmill was erected in 1870. The port was proclaimed in 1885. A ferry service across the Clyde ran from 1891 until the bridge was opened in 1956.

In 1942 during World War II, a trawler was attacked by a Japanese submarine between Bateman's Bay and Moruya. The population of the town in 1881 was 266; 1183 in 1961; 4924 in 1981 and 16000 in 2005. During the major holidays the population swells to around 30,000.

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An edited excerpt from Main Roads Journal Vol. XXII, No. 2, December, 1956:

"The bridge built by the Department of Main Roads over the Clyde River at Bateman's Bay was officially opened for traffic on 21st November, 1956. The bridge replaces the only remaining vehicular ferry on the Prince's Highway between Sydney and the Victorian border.

"The new bridge comprises five steel truss spans each 120 feet, a steel truss vertical lift span 94 feet 6 inches in length, four steel plate girder spans each 62 feet long, and decked abutment structures at each end. The lift span when open gives a clear channel width of 75 feet for the passage of shipping. The overall length of the bridge is 1008 feet, the carriageway is 22 feet wide and a footway 5 feet wide has been provided on the downstream side.

"Preliminary investigations with a view to bridging the Clyde River were commenced before the outbreak of World War II, when the reconstruction of the Prince's Highway between Ulladulla and Bateman's Bay was being undertaken. After the war, drawings and specifications were prepared by the Department of Main Roads, and tenders invited in October, 1947.

"Post war shortages of materials and skilled labour handicapped both contracting firms and necessitated the making of other arrangements for the completion of the work. In May 1951 a contract with Balgue Construction Company was terminated by mutual consent, and arrangements were then made for the remaining work covered by that contract to be completed by the Department of Main Roads. In October, 1952, fabrication of the structural steelwork was transferred from the Clyde Engineering Company to the State Dockyard, Newcastle, New South Wales.

"Each pier of the new bridge consists of two reinforced concrete cylinders founded on rock, which occurs a moderate distance below the river bed. The northern abutment is founded on spread footings on rock and the southern abutment is supported by driven reinforced concrete piles. No special constructional difficulties were encountered and normal methods were employed in the use of compressed air to sink the cylinders of the piers. The trusses and girder spans were erected in situ on timber pile falsework."

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Views of Bateman's Bay from the lookout on Tower Hill situated a short distance from the town (below)

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