The Clyde River

In the 1950s families use to paddle up the Clyde River to fish for bream, have a picnic, and return home in the afternoon. The main fishing site was between Batemans Bay and Nelligen, where a locust tree grows. You can get there by road, but we always took a boat [Jennifer Stewart. 9.11.2005].

Sydney Chapman once built a raft from 44 gallon drums, gum saplings and wire. He paddled around the Clyde River and fished [Tom Davis 18.12.2005].

Les once made a canoe from corrugated iron and paddled to Barclay Island [Budd Island] in the Clyde River, people lived there in houses at the time. The canoe was fashioned from second hand corrugated iron, bent and tied up at the edges; the nail holes were plugged with mangrove roots. It was a one-person canoe, with hands for paddles. On Barclay Island Les, Danny Chapman and Freddy Gill Jnr collected oysters and fish. Les Simon also recalls visiting a locust tree planted on the southern bank of the Clyde River. There was a house there too. Les and his father fished all day and returned to Batemans Bay to sleep [Les Simon 3.11.2005].

Many Aboriginal families lived in the North Batemans Bay, Surfside and Cullendulla Creek areas. There were only a few houses there then. We would walk all around the area with no shoes. People had to travel on the flat-bottomed ‘Fairy dale’ punt to cross the Clyde River. Kids caught the punt to school. ‘If the driver didn’t see us, we’d have to wait till he came back….’ [Symalene Nye 15.11.2005].

It was once a dirt road from Nowra, all the way down the coast, sealed only through the towns. There was always a line up at the Punt, over the Clyde River. Linda Cruse recalls riding on the ferry, backwards and forwards, across the river, until her father got to the front of the line and onto the ferry [Linda Cruse 1.3.2006].

During the 1950s the Fairy dale punt transported people, cars and freight across the Clyde River. Willy Thomas worked on the punt, Ted Thomas’s brother, Agnes Tower’s father [Les Simon 15.12.2005].

Georgina and the McLeod children caught the Fairy dale punt to school when they lived at Surfside. They purchased paddle pops from the Corner’s store, north side of the river on their way to school [Georgina Parsons 15.12.2005].

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.