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Archive for the ‘Merimbula’ Category

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Merimbula Wharf was certainly a popular fishing spot in the early 1950s as this photo shows. However, in 1979 the Department of Public Works decided that the wharf was beyond repair and despite community protests to save the wharf, the jetty and loading platform were burnt down. The Merimbula community were determined to replace the wharf and in an extraordinary effort, raised $110,000 which was eventually matched as promised by the NSW State Government. Building on the new wharf began in 1983 and was officially opened in the October that year by Michael Cleary, Minister for Leisure, Recreation and Tourism. The ceremonial ribbon was cut by locals Alan Young (original Save the Wharf Committee President) and Dolly McCulloch (Save the Wharf Committee Secretary).

Later, in 1987 and 1988 the cargo sheds were converted into a restaurant and aquarium. Unfortunately, fire destroyed the building in 1998 but opened again in a new complex.

If anyone has any photos to share of the old, or new, wharf please contact Bega Valley Shire Library.

Source: People of the Lake: stories of Merimbula by Helen Swinbourne and Olwen Morris, Merimbula-Imlay Historical Society, 2012.

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It appears that the first Post Office established in the Valley was at Eden in 1847.  Although there was possibly an earlier one opened at Boydtown in 1844.

The opening of a Post Office often marked a township as having a viable status and locations of Post Offices could be hotly contested. Post Offices and the mail were, after all, the only link with the outside world.

Residents would petition the Post Master General requesting the establishment of a Post Office for their town with explanations as to why an office was required. These records of petitions and correspondence provide invaluable insight into the prevailing social conditions. Petitioners signed their name, often giving their address and occupation so these records can prove to be another source of family history information. As part of the petition a likely candidate for the position of postmaster was offered with supporting information. These candidates were often the local schoolteacher or owner of the general store.

Especially in the early establishment of an office,

The Bega Library has a set of local Post Office histories. These were produced by the Historical Officer of Australia Post in the 1970s and are based on primary records such as petitions and correpondence.  Histories are available for the Post Offices at Eden, Bega, Lower Towamba, Quaama, Candelo, Tathra Road, Kameruka, Bemboka, and Tanja.

The histories also include some information on the establishment of local Telegraph Offices and Telephone Exchanges.

Picture Australia includes historic photographs of many local post offices http://www.pictureaustralia.org/index.html

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Four Chinese names are listed in the Eden District section of the Yewen’s Directory of the Landholders of NSW, 1900. (This cd-rom is in the Bega Library.)

There is a Thomas Ah Kin, postal address Merimbula Post Office, who was a maize grower.  In addition, there is Charlie Ah Lum, Mr. Ah Yap (no first name given) and Jimmie Ching Pong, all of the address Pambula Post Office.

 Mr Ah Lum is listed as growing “other crops” in a “Chinese Garden”.  Mr Ah Yap grew maize and potatoes as well as “other crops” and Mr Ching Pong grew oats and “other crops”. 

Chinese involvement in market gardening in the Bega Valley was at its height between 1891 and 1901. Indeed, in 1901 about 67% of market gardeners were Chinese. (Golden threads : the Chinese in Regional NSW 1850-1950 by Janis Wilton, 2004.)

Interested? View Lee Chittick’s video of Kevin Tetley talking about the history of Chinese settlement in our valley.

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