Thursday 11 February 2016
Photos by The Bay Post and Karen M
The pretty little village of Nelligen and surrounds was the subject of Batemans Bay Bushwalkers’ midweek walk. 27 walkers enjoyed a relaxed exploration of both sides of the river, led by Nelligen locals Mary and Stan. Mary painted a vivid picture of the Nelligen of old, busy with steamers and river traffic, bullock trains and horse teams, muddy, possibly smelly and definitely noisy. The town was a major staging post for goods and passengers arriving by sea, and dispersing to the Araluen goldfields and Braidwood farming district. The main road down the Clyde Mountain ran straight through the middle of town, terminating at the jetty on the river.
Goods and passengers travelled between Nelligen and Sydney via weekly steamers. The first punt at Nelligen was established in 1875, with additional larger punts added as the traffic demand grew. The current bridge across the Clyde was built in 1964, bypassing Nelligen altogether and spelling the end of its heyday.
Walkers enjoyed hearing about the historic buildings which had survived the Nelligen bushfire of 1939, and paused to admire the far reaches of the Clyde River, one of the most pristine waterways in NSW. Last stop was the peaceful little bush cemetery running down a hill behind the village where many pioneers were laid to rest.
The walk ended with home-made cakes and biscuits for morning tea in the park by the river. Some walkers also enjoyed looking at the numerous historic photos in the Mechanics Hall, many able to remember catching the punt across the river before the mountain road was sealed and the bridge built.