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MAY 24 1898 : The old bridge across Kangaroo River was washed away by flood. This was five days after the new Hampden Bridge was opened!

MAY 1 1899 : Opening of the lighthouse on Point Perpendicular. Kerosene operated, the light was in a 44 foot tower. The original lighthouse on Cape St. George (built in 1860) was closed. It was later demolished by the Navy, using it for gunnery practice.

MAY 5 1902 : The Nowra Co-Operative Dairy Company began operations as a butter factory on the western side of the Shoalhaven River bridge on the southern side of the river. The building originally cost £550.

MAY 4 1908 : Cambewarra Shire Council (based in Kangaroo Valley) resolved that “the speed of motor cars within town boundaries and on the mountain passes be not more than 4 mph and that all motors be compelled to stop until any horse or vehicle meeting them has passed”.

FEBRUARY 26 : 1909 Death of Sir John Hay LL.D. of Coolangatta. It was under Sir John’sauspices that the bequest of the late David Berry, of £100,000/-/- for a hospital for Berry, was fulfilled. The Government took over control of the hospital in exchange for a large area of foreshore of Sydney Harbour to the mutual satisfaction of the Government and people of Sydney and Berry. The hospital continued to serve not only Berry but the whole of the Shoalhaven area for almost half a century before a public hospital was erected in Nowra.

SEPTEMBER 18 1909 : Opening of the David Berry Hospital by the NSW Premier Charles Wade (later Sir Charles). The total cost was £7,900. (This left a fair bit of change from the £100, 000 of the original bequest. It is unknown who got to keep the £92,100!).

APRIL 30 1911 : David Boyd a teetotaller and licencee of the Bridge Hotel, Nowra died on this day. The day before, he had “broken down” 17 gallons of rum and, on finishing the task, had closed the bar and all doors leading to it. Following his Sunday lunch the next day he left the table and adjourned to the bar to smoke his pipe. The fumes ignited which in turn caused a cask of rum to explode, killing him almost instantly. There were no complaints that the rum was underproof!

OCTOBER 5 1911 : The Royal Australian Navy officially came into existence. The Navy and the Shoalhaven have had a long history together with HMAS Creswell being opened as the RAN college in 1913 and HMAS Albatross being the Naval Air Station since 31 August 1948.

AUGUST 4 1914 : Men of the Shoalhaven District began enlisting for active service with the declaration of what was to become known as the First World War.

MARCH 17 1917 : An elephant named Jessie, attached to Wirth’s Circus which was visiting Nowra, decided that she had gone far enough and sat down – in the middle of the Nowra bridge. All traffic was stopped as the horses refused to go near the animal. All attempts to move her failed, including one which was to bring the steam ship “Bermagui” alongside the bridge and hoist her by means of the ship’s crane. Unfortunately, this attempt came to nought as the ship stuck on a sand bank. Eventually somebody decided to bring another elephant and Jessie, seeing her mate, quietly got up and continued her journey to the station.

AUGUST 14 1918 : The far South Coast march to freedom, which was part of a state wide recruiting campaign for men to join the armed forces, reached Nowra. They were met by the Mayor of Nowra, Alderman J C Bennett, the Mayor of South Shoalhaven, Alderman W Watts and others. The marchers were informed that nine waratahs from the 1915 recruiting march (a party of 50 men left Nowra on 30 November 1915), remained in the firing line. (Front Line).

FEBRUARY 5 1919 : The Pneumonic Influenza epidemic which hit Sydney in January 1919 had made its presence felt in Nowra. The Shoalhaven Telegraph of this date (5/2/1919) stated “the New South Wales Health Authorities recommend for protection against the germ, the use of a solid inhalant from the formula of which Wawn’s Wonder Balm is made. Apply this up each nostril three or four times a day – price 2/- a tube”.

JUNE 30 1919 The first sufferers in Nowra, of the pneumonic influenza epidemic of 1919, were Mrs C Watson and her daughter from Numbaa. They were admitted to a temporary hospital at the Nowra Public School. 17 people in the Nowra district died from the epidemic. (The first on June 25) During the peak of the epidemic the horse drawn ambulance would bring patients to the front door. The horse drawn hearse called at the back.

JUNE 5 1921 : Patrick Caffery III and Miss Celia Watts were killed in an automobile accident on the way home from church on Greenwell Point Road at the bend known locally as Apperley’s Hill. This was possibly Shoalhaven’s first car fatality.

MARCH 27 1928 : The S.S. Merimbula grounded on Whale Point (Currarong) at 1.00am. All fourteen passengers and thirty five crew survived. The Merimbula was a high class passenger vessel built in 1909 at Troon in Scotland. It had 96 saloons and ten second class cabins and plied between Sydney and Eden with charter sailings between Melbourne and Tasmania. Her loss marked the end of steam passenger services on the NSW South Coast.

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