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  • 22/08/2018 12:35 PM

    Historical maritime artefacts found in Port of Eden

    Over 100 years of Harbour Masters’ work are revealed thanks to a rare collection of historical maritime artefacts found in the Port of Eden.

    A treasure trove of documents at the Port of Eden is giving a rare glimpse back in time to show how the vital work of Harbour Masters has changed over the last century.

    Items in the Harbour Masters collection includes decades-old maritime books and handwritten notes, records, ledgers and registries — some older than a hundred years.

    Within the collection are records of shipping arrivals and departures dating from 1938; drill documentation for the rescue of ships crews aground or near the shoreline and a collection of Harbour Master’s logbooks and diaries ranging from 1952 to 2011.

    The oldest item in the collection is a book detailing candidates who passed pilotage examinations for Eden’s Twofold Bay. The earliest record in the book shows that a Mr Crammond, who was the Chief Officer of S.S. Bega, passed his examination on 11 December 1903.

    Pages from a shipping registrarImage: Two pages from the book detailing candidates who passed the exam for Pilotage Exemption in Twofold Bay, Eden — the oldest of which dates from 1903

    In among the stacks of books and paperwork was also a significant find: a set of well-preserved miniature navigation marks commonly used for maritime examinations before the advent of digital software.

    The set of handcrafted buoys and markers would have been used to teach navigation regulations to ship masters and coxswains. Typically created specifically for individual ports, the set is likely to have been commissioned by a former Harbour Master at Eden.

    Set of miniature navigation marksImage: A handcrafted set of miniature navigation marks used to train mariners in the Port of Eden

    Harbour Masters are responsible for the control of shipping at ports and harbours. Port Authority of New South Wales has four Harbour Masters that oversee port operations in Sydney Harbour and Port Botany; Newcastle Harbour and Port of Yamba; Port Kembla; and Port of Eden.

    Their duties include the documentation of shipping arrivals and departures, the enforcement of regulations issued by the State authority and the overseeing of the maintenance and repair of port facilities.

    The Harbour Master’s collection in Eden shows that, while methods may have changed over time, the vital responsibilities of the Harbour Master have remained largely the same.

    Ships register_Port EdenImage: A record of ships visiting the Port of Eden in 1961–1962

    Following the discovery of the Harbour Master’s collection during a review of assets, Port Authority commissioned a heritage assessment to determine its historical significance and recommendations for its appropriate management.

    About the Port of Eden
    Eden, a small harbour town located in Sapphire Coast region, has the southernmost deep-water harbour in New South Wales.

    From its early use as a base for commercial whaling and fishing, Eden’s strategic location between Sydney and Melbourne and the safe anchorage of Twofold Bay saw it develop into a significant coastal port during the nineteenth century.

    Today, the Port of Eden supports a significant fishing fleet, services the import and export needs of regional industries, and is a facility used by ships of the Royal Australian Navy. Eden is also a regular port of call for recreational vessels and supports a growing number of visits by cruise industry.

    Find out more about the Port of Eden