History of Tourism
1906: … a good hotel should also bring in a large influx of tourist, for there is no more delightful watering place in the State than Ulladulla, where fishing, surfing, boating, shooting, charming and health recruiting opportunities. Terms for boarding were £1 per week providing clean and comfortable quarters, parties could be arranged and catered for. Owner George Hughes also took advantage of the Ulladulla surrounds when advertising the hotel – ‘Sportsmen and Lovers of Good Fishing’. How true words spoken, Ulladulla back then had realised the beauty of the area and the possibility of the tourism industry.
1914: The Harbour View Motel (located where the Ulladulla Plaza is today) was reported in the local newspaper as bringing in a large influx of Tourists.
1926: The South Coast Tourists’ Association was formed and the Milton Times newspaper features reports of the increase in tourism.
1929: The tourist valued Clyde Shire Council putting roads in order.
1935: Visitors opinion: “South Coast is beautiful” (and still is).
1937: The Hollywood Park Ballroom opens at South Ulladulla, tourists staying at the Park operated by the Powell family had free use of the Hall for dancing during their vacation in Ulladulla. In town there was the Central and the Sea Breeze providing accommodation to motor parties as Ulladulla had now become a popular holiday resort, along with the camping area on South Ulladulla headland
Another early holiday guest house was set up by Jess Sams known as the “Heights” (located between Milton & Mollymook) and was supported by the Tourism Bureau in Sydney.
With the advent of WWII, the Ulladulla virtually came to a stand still. But during the war times Ulladulla was still being promoted as popular seaside holiday destination with fishing and swimming.
January 1947: Ulladulla council made application for the declaration of Ulladulla Municipal as a tourist area. In the late 1940s Ulladulla Council decided to address the needs of the growing tourist trade by providing a waiting shed for bus passengers.
Milton still was the main Centre of the district so in a way time has stood still in the township of Ulladulla, until Leslie Pitman made that bold move by building the Marlin Hotel in 1948.
1948 – 1960s: The Marlin’s main source of income was from the Tourist buses which used Ulladulla as an overnight stop when traveling between Sydney and Melbourne. The record for the most beer sold at the Marlin hotel is 318 (18 gallon) kegs of beer over the Xmas New Year period in 1965.
1956: The first Blessing of the Fleet when the Catholic Parish Priest Father Weatherall suggested to the boat owners and crews that they should follow the old and revered tradition of blessing the boats. The fishermen decorated their boats for the ceremony and family picnic day, the blessing ceremony was originally held in late December or early January and held yearly until 1960.
1960s – 1970s: Water skiing attracts many holiday makers to Lake Conjola and Burrill Lake. By 1969 Ulladulla was a haven for tourist with many motels, caravan parks and holiday flats established in the area with Motel Mollymook, Coachman Motel, Sandpiper, Ocean View Motel, Amanda Motel (Milton), South Ulladulla Caravan Park, Newmans camping area and Bungalow Park at Burrill Lake. Along with approved camping reserves at Killarney (Lake Conjola), Merry Beach and others.
1971: Father Kenna revived the blessing of the Fleet ceremony and so the festival has been held at Easter each year since. Blessing of the Fleet Festival
1980 – 1990s: Many other festivals were established, including the Milton Settlers Fair and the Scarecrow Festival.