The story of Joshs Beach at Dalmeny

Ever wonder how Josh’s Beach at Dalmeny got its name and did you realise the coming and going of the sand has been a regular occurrence over the years? 

Well here is a story of shenanigans at the controversially named Josh’s Beach by Jane Robertson, who is an amateur writer and now a mature age student at UOW after years in the workplace - first in health and then in the corporate world.

Jane tells us some of the locals have their own names and this summer even added their own take to the sign, adding an apostrophe and then calling it “Josh’s Rockery”. Apparently it’s all about the coming and going of the sand on the beach.

She and her siblings and grew up holidaying at Dalmeny every school holiday and what she said felt like most weekends since 1963 when her parents bought the land on the headland north of what she calls Rocky Beach formally known as Josh’s Beach, on Jocelyn Street and Ocean Parade, which is now the bike track.

Back then there were only three fisherman’s style cottages and “Tinker’s House”, with its white picket fence house.

Her father slowly built the house around them on the holidays and they spent their childhoods roaming around the area - the grandchildren, and this year the first great grandchild, crammed into the house each Christmas and continue to roam - visiting the lagoon, main beach and Rocky Beach.

Now here is Jane’s report on why Josh’s Beach, or Rocky Beach, located just north of Narooma on Far South Coast NSW got its name:

Although the 2016 June storms took the beach away sucking the sand into the sea, and as yet not returned it, the local holidaymakers had some extra fun this summer at Josh’s Beach.

The naming of the Dalmeny beach as Joshs Beach on local maps and signs, sometime in the early 2000s, caused a stir with the locals as all had their own name for the beach with the sand that came and went.  

Laurelle Pacey wrote in her historical review, “the old families called this beach – ‘Little Beach’. And the the Cresswick family called it ‘Back Beach’, for two reasons, according to Peter Benson. One was it was at the rear of the property; ‘the other was its sands were nomadic – we never knew whether the sand would have disappeared or come back between our holidays’.”[1]

Our family called it “the Rocky Beach”, as it could be either a rocky or sandy beach holiday visit to the house her father built in ocean parade in the early 1960s.

Rocky Beach continues to be the first location the children and grandchildren check with great anticipation on arrival at holidays. “Is there sand or rock?” they ask. And when reporting back the question, “but how much sand… a little, some, a lot?”  never failed to be asked. [2]

Ms Pacey wrote, “Former Eurobodalla Shire Councilor Neville Gough said locals there referred to it as ‘Our Beach’ and that he and his son's friends surfed there a lot in the 1960s and referred to the beach as Josh's Beach because their teacher - Gostwych ‘Josh’ Yates - at Narooma Central School lived in a house on Ocean Parade overlooking the beach”. [3]

Joshs Beach then became the official name.

As Pacey writes, “Neville says...that the locals were not happy when the name ‘Joshs Beach’ began to appear on local maps after a visit by the Central Mapping Authority and a chat with Neville”. [4]

But it did not end there. And this year's fun began.

The “apostrophe police” finally visited to correct the punctuation. If it was Joshs Beach (sic) then it should have a possessive apostrophe! The locals had muttered over the years. [5]

School teacher Gostwych “Josh” Yates may have seen the irony and be pleased with the correction of the punctuation on the signpost that occurred sometime over this year's summer holidays. He may have been bemused by the late night raiders with torch, paint tin and brush in hand to very neatly and precisely add their grammatical daub.

But it did not end there. And this year's fun continued.

Is it still a beach when there is no sand? How correct is this sign? More muttering flowed as people stood at the top of the stairs leading to the sharp rocks below.

Until the sea gives back the nomadic sand that Benson described, is it actually a “Rocky Beach” as the Robertson family called it?

Or, as someone decided late at night over the New Year, “Josh's Rockery”.

The old school teacher could only agree on this most recent - and temporary - alteration to this signpost. Josh's Rockery is a more fitting description until the sea gives back his and all of our beach.

We did miss the sand this year, but Josh's Rockery continued to give us a lot of fun while we wait for the sand to return.

References:

[1] Pacey, L.(2007:p13) (Coastal Reserves Dalmeny – North Narooma Historical Review

[2] Conversation with Robertson Family, 01/01/2017.

[3] Pacey, L.(2007:p13) (Coastal Reserves Dalmeny – North Narooma Historical Review

[4] Pacey, L.(2007:p13) (Coastal Reserves Dalmeny – North Narooma Historical Review

[5] Conversation with Graham Hart 01/01/2009

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