Blackfellows point, Potato Point and Jamison Point

Within this area a combination of complementary post and precontact places of Aboriginal Heritage exist. Traditional camping and fishing places, mythologically significant places, burial places and the well-known work places associated with the seasonal farm and sawmill industries.

Adjacent ecological zones were used in combination with each other; each zone offering an array of specific natural resources. For instance Brou Lake, Brou Beach, Whittakers Creek, Jamison Point and the surrounding bushland areas; were used by people living at Stony Creek, Brou Lake and Potato Point.

During the 1940s Linda Cruse and her family camped at Blackfellows Point on the weekends if not picking seasonal vegetables at Cadgee and other farms along the Tuross River. Tuross could be seen across the inlet from where they camped. Linda’s father Ben Cruse loved lobsters, when he ate them he left only the shell [Linda Cruse 1.3.2006].

A scull was once found at Blackfellows Point. There was also an Aboriginal Reserve on the north side of the point, on the south of Tuross Lake. It belonged to Richard Bolloway. The Yuin Women’s Lore Council meets here. We have all congregated at Blackfellows Point four times, four years running [Trisha Ellis 7.6.2006].

There is a traditional campsite next to fresh water spring amidst marshlands at Blackfellows Point. When the tide is high the fresh water rises, when the tide is low, the fresh water subsides. The Parsons, Davis, Andy and Brierley families camped here on their way walking from Wallaga Lake to Bodalla and beyond [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

‘….there is a camping spot in the sand dunes at Blackfellows Point, our family has used it throughout our lives. …. for a camp we just pulled driftwood together as a shelter, and slept on the beach …..Mark rolled onto the fire here.. ‘ [Glen Ella 5.1.2006].

Margaret and her family camped at Blackfellows Point, where the caravan park is today. They often walked to Tuross for supplies or around to Mummuga Lake to visit Stewart family members who were camped there [Marg Harris 9.3.2006].

The main Christmas camping area was at Potato Point. Les Simon’s great grandmother [his mother’s father’s mother], Annie Bolloway, the daughter of Richard Bolloway was from the Potato Point / Blackfella point area. They built humpies from bent over saplings, clad in bark, no roof in summer, more like a wind break with a sandy floor. 3 people would fit in each one. They caught salmon, lobster, abalone, bimbulas, mussels and conks [Les Simon 03.11.2005].

Jennifer Stewart walked or rode on horse and cart from Bodalla to Potato Point with her sisters and brothers. With other families such as Bella and Percy Mumbler, they would fish, camp and walk between Potato Point and Brou Lake. Fish were caught off the beach with hand lines, and lobsters were caught from within the rocks. At night the children would be told stories about ancestral spirit beings and get scared thinking that the rats and possums were ‘dulagal’ or hairy men [Jennifer Stewart 09.11.2005].

During Christmas holidays when the picking season came to an end, Alan Mongta and his family would camp at Potato Point with many other koori families. Alan still goes to the same little spot, although there are houses close by now. They would collect lobsters and abalone. Alan’s uncles showed him some old Aboriginal carvings at Potato Point [Alan Mongta 25.11.2005].

‘‘……. My early memories at Potato Point are of the fellas diving for and shucking abs, whilst the women and kids did the cooking. The process was headed by Nan Stewart and mum, who were sitting on the rocks directing the production line, it was all very ordered, ‘…those ones need to be bashed, those ones needed cleaning, you need to go diving’, they’d say. The abs were always shucked on the rocks where they were caught, Nan Stewart would tell us to do it this way ’you can’t eat mutton ears if they are not shucked on the rocks..’.. She would count how many people, how many abs, ‘ ….that’s it now…’. There is a ritual of catching and eating abs; it is directed by the women….”. Marcia Ella Duncan 5.1.2006.

On weekends in the 1950s when living at Nerrigundah Ronnie would fish and collect mutton, lobsters, all the rich stuff, bimbullas and oysters at Potato Point. His father and mother also collected shellfish, lobsters and muttonfish off the rocks at Potato Point, Narooma inlet, Mystery Bay, Glasshouse Rocks, and Dalmeny. There are fresh water springs at Potato Point. There is no need to bring in water. Ronnie Mason has always returned to the south coast for holidays and extended stays. At Christmas they would camp at Potato Point, Jamisons Point, north side and south side of Brou Lake and at Mummuga Lake [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

Linda and her parents camped at Potato Point. Linda’s father fished, whilst her mother looked after kids. Linda’s Uncle Isaac, her father’s brother, lived along the Potato Point Road for many years [Linda Cruse 1.3.2006].

During school holidays Violet and her family would go to Potato Point to camp with the extended family. Jim Turner would collect the family at the end of the holiday period in a cattle truck to return them to work on his farm in Moruya [Violet Parsons 6.4.2006].

‘…….Nan told stories about aunties at Potato Point. She told me that two of her sister-inlaws, jumped into rocks in their bloomers, and pulled out bags of lobsters….’ People use to camp along Potato Creek, it runs into the southern end of Potato Point Beach [Vivienne Mason 5.1.2006].

The Potato Point Lookout, on Potato Point Headland, has always been used to spot fish to the north and to the south. In Lionel’s lifetime, Walter Brierley and his son Peter came here and used the lookout to spot fish. Lionel recalls them whistling instructions from the lookout to the boat below. ‘”….. A long whistle meant ‘go’, ….a short whistle meant ‘stop’ and two whistles meant ‘get ready’…”. [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

The Potato Point Sawmill was previously located on the Potato Point Headland. There was a flying fox to send timber to the boats docked at the wharf located on the southern end of Potato Point Beach. When the sawmill was operational, there were Aboriginal camps all along the headland, adjacent to the mill [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

There was a sawmill along Potato Point Road. Issac Cruse worked there. He was married to Georgina’s cousin Violet [Georgina Parsons 6.6.2006].

My grandfather, Edward Stewart worked at the old Potato Point Sawmill. It was located at the southern end of Potato Point Beach, under the headland [Vivienne Mason 1.6.2006].

Robert Parsons worked in the Potato Point sawmill run by Norm Houce [Violet Parsons 6.4.2006].

In 1960 Ronnie Mason took up his first job, aged 15. He worked at Potato Point Sawmill. ‘…I lasted one week. I then went to pick beans and peas and then worked on my brother-in-laws truck carting wood around, taking the timber to the mill, the Mongtas did the same sort of work…..’ [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

Potato Point Farm, was previously located in the vicinity of the present day Borang and Deragui Street, Potato Point. Bob Andy once worked here to plough the farm. Lionel’s mother Zita Andy was born here [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

Potato Point Creek runs off Lake Brunderee and into Potato Point Beach. Walter Brierley took Lionel Montga to the lake and creek in the 1940s for prawning and to collect bream, oysters and bimbullas [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

Jamison Point offers a well-sheltered camping area. Issac Cruse, Jack Chapman and the children of Crongee Parsons used the site throughout the 1950s. There is a scattering of artefacts and a burial site near by. Lionel came here with his grandparents, but did not camp. He was told of the spiritual significance of the place and that Yams and Burrawangs could be collected. Good fishing grounds are all around [Lionel Mongta 2.1.2006].

Fishing trips to Jamison Point, often take place by the families camping at Mummuga Lake. From Mummuga Lake they walk along Brou Beach until they reach Jamison Point. Usually day trips, ‘….take all the kids, a big mob of us, cook damper in the sand, walk in the sand along the coast for good diving at Jamison Point…even mum would get the lobsters, in water knee deep, abalone on the rocks, exposed at low tide, easy picking. We never sold them, just got enough for the families. It was good fishing all around here…’ [Ronnie Mason 5.1.2006].

In the sand dunes behind Jamison Point was another good camping spot, our family has used throughout our lives [Glen Ella 5.1.2006].

‘…..first we camped at Jamison Point, million kids packed into the back of the Ute, with one piece of canvas to cover us, we would find some tin to sleep on. ..we had no tents…..the babies slept in the back of the car, kids near the fire…….’ [Jackie Puckendge 5.1.2005].

Potato Point, Blackfellows Point, Jamison Point.
Potato Point, Blackfellows Point, Jamison Point.

Taken from “Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People”. View the full study

Excerpt from "Stories About the Eurobodalla by Aboriginal People", 2006. Story Contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School.