History of Ulladulla Harbour
Shipbuilding commenced back in late 1830s on the foreshores of the Boat Harbour at Ulladulla. The shipwrights David Warden and Robert Gee also owned land on the foreshores of Ulladulla Harbour and were later join by David’s younger brother James Warden. The building of many brigantines and schooners continued for two decades at Ulladulla, using local cedar and timbers from the surrounding woods. The timber transported to the harbour by bullock dray was also shipped to Sydney for trade. Shipbuilding was an activity seen at most ports and coastal rivers along the New South Wales coastline.
Shipping of produce was the main use of the harbour, the shipping of cedar commenced soon after the arrival of Rev Thomas Kendall in 1828. The harbour was open to the elements of the sea with stores being unloaded onto the beach by means of a waiting boat. Timbers were floated out to the steamers from the beach. Maize, wheat, bark, potatoes, cheese, butter, pigs and other produce from local farms soon became cargo for vessels sailing to Sydney for trade. The arrival of a vessel was even sometimes announced with the discharge of a gun.
In 1859 the harbour was improved by the construction of a wooden jetty, built in order to retain the services of the ISCSNC. The company had informed the farmers that would not call again at Ulladulla unless better mooring facilities were provided. This wooden jetty served shipping at Ulladulla for approximately seven years and was replaced with a stone pier built by the government costing £11,000. The pier was built on the line of the natural reef and made full advantage of the deep harbour.
Farmers and residents were provided with a regular passenger and cargo service from 1852, with the establishment of the Illawarra & South Coast Steam Navigation Company (ISCSNC). This shipping company, which serviced most ports on the South Coast, built a store on the harbour foreshores for the receiving of produce for shipment to and from Sydney. The millard family arrived in Ulladulla in the 1850s and many members worked for the ISCSNC until its closure in the 1950s.
When the harbour was surveyed in 1868, it was recommended for the installation of a lighthouse so the port could be used at night. The lighthouse was erected at the end of the stone pier in 1873 and was relocated to Warden’s Head in 1889. Today the lighthouse serves the large commercial fishing fleet of Ulladulla and recreational boating.
Ulladulla harbour has always been the home for commercial fishermen. Aboriginals were featured fishing at Ulladulla harbour in a sketch drawn in 1828. Many early pioneers of the area listed their occupation as fishermen in the late 1880s.
Shipbuilding returned to the foreshores of Ulladulla Harbour prior to World War II and continued for many years. The launching of these boats was always a festive day attended by many members of the public.
Trawler operators including members of the Greco, Puglisi, Salafia, Canon, Costa, Lavalle and Dunn families formed the Ulladulla Fisherman Co-operative in March 1956. The Italian fishermen and their families staged the first Blessing of the Fleet in Ulladulla in 1956. A crowd of 2500 people watched the actual blessing of vessels and joined in the Italian community’s Family Picnic Day.
The harbour’s coastal foreshores are popular with both residents and tourist alike, surrounded by a vast arrange of seafood restaurants and cafes. Along with many activities such as surfing, recreational fishing & boating, snorkelling,