Batemans Bay Historical Society is celebrating a major step in its objective to help heritage organisations link the stories of coastal trade along the South-East Coast of NSW.
It has been awarded Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) funding 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-19th century as our coastal and Tablelands economies developed. Pigs, passengers, cheese, horsehair, corn, and, of course, timber, left. Drapery, alcohol, paint, parcels, and domestic essentials arrived to stock the shelves of businesses and cheer isolated townships.
The ISNC sailed from Sydney to Eden, maintaining wharves in several ports; its large fleet features in stories of wrecked vessels, but fortunately no lives lost. Bega historian Angela George, said: "The ledgers 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 said volunteers took five years to secure grants covering conservation, digitisation, and finally interpretation. Historian Julia Hill will review, theme and summarise the content. Data for public access in 2021 will be uploaded via an eHive (cloud) licence.
The project is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.