Laurelle Pacey launches her revised Narooma local history book

A new revised edition of Narooma’s Past – steamers, sawmills and salmon was launched on Monday in front of about 50 well-wishers.

Local historian Laurelle Pacey said the previous edition sold out about three years ago, so it was a good opportunity to do more research and include many more stories about Narooma’s fascinating past.

‘This revised edition is half as big again with more photographs and stories,’ she said.

‘I did a lot more research on Narooma’s fish cannery in Forsters Bay which was Australia’s first commercial fish cannery, and included many subjects not previously covered in the book such as the battle over the St Kilda guesthouse site in the 1980s, the construction of the Mill Bay boardwalk, and the Dalmeny to Narooma pathway.

‘I have also included a table with the technical details of most of the ships known to have called at Narooma over the years.’

Laurelle’s fascination with the coastal steamers that brought supplies to the town and returned to Sydney with valuable cargoes of timber, the district’s sawmilling industry and its characters, and the golden age of its hotels and guest houses continue though as the real backbone of this book, but with even more information.

In launching the book, long time Narooma identity John Burbidge said it was wonderful to have this record of Narooma’s history especially the stories from some of its characters no longer with us.

He was fascinated to read about the early settlement up the Inlet around Wagonga and Punkalla, and spoke warmly about some of the people in the book he had known. He was impressed with the vision, enterprise and determination shown by many in the past.

‘They recognised early on that Narooma was first and foremost a tourist town and set out to ensure that the town provided all amenities tourists expected and that would make their stay here enjoyable,’ he said.

‘Things like securing a reticulated town water supply long before Moruya and Batemans Bay, constructing a top golf course, and a shark-free bathing area.’

‘As a community, we can learn a lot from the past.’

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