| ||From left to right: Liz Seckold and Michelle Russell, Pig and Whistle Fleet Committee; Poppy Benton, Hannah Pearce and Emma Benton, Tathra Wharf Locavore Café.|
Pic Credit: Robyn Rosenfeldt
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The iconic Tathra Wharf is celebrating a birthday like no other over the upcoming long weekend – it’s 150 years since it was opened.
Classified by the National Trust as the only remaining steamer wharf on the Australian coastline, Tathra Wharf is winding back the clock on Sunday, September 30, playing host to activities and entertainment from the 1860s.
Local organisers have pulled together a huge array of fun for the day, with stories and games, street theatre, buskers, hay stacking, vintage cars, magician, blacksmith, organ grinder and a knife maker, along with demonstrations of woodworking, spinning and weaving.
A range of stalls will be open on the wharf with local ‘old-time’ produce including fresh vegetables, olives and honey, craft and even an old-fashioned haberdashery.
The Wharf Museum will be open on the day, giving visitors a chance to learn more about the history of the building, the steamship company (colloquially known as the Pig & Whistle Fleet) and its importance to the economy of the surrounding area during the early years.
The Wharf Locavore Café will be open, serving homemade lemonade, iced tea and a special birthday cake, along with damper, traditional cakes and other fare.
Visitors are encouraged to dress up in 1860s costume on the day (the Locavore staff will be!) and there are prizes on offer for the best dressed. It promises to be a fun day for the whole family, with celebrations going far beyond the Wharf!
The Tathra Surf Club has organised a surfboat race past the Wharf, with competitors from several clubs along the far south coast. Competitors will start from the beach, go past the Wharf and out to sea, and then finish in front of the Wharf. There’s also an early morning swim from the Surf Club to the Wharf for the strong at heart.
Local bike retailer, Tathra Beach and Bike has planned a wide range of activities over the whole weekend that will suit riders of all standards, from beginners to the most daring mountain biker. On the Sunday, there’s a social ride (Wharf to the Waterhole) for all comers, starting at the Wharf at 2.30pm.
Building on the Wharf started in 1860 when the local farmers who were tired of the long, hard haul to the deep water wharf at Merimbula, joined forces with the Illawarra Steamship Company to provide funds for their own wharf and storage shed.
Present day visitors know of the steep road down to the Wharf but modern cars have good brakes! Back in the 1860s, the wagons had to wait at the top until someone could help brake the wagon on the way down. It would take two teams to pull a fully-loaded wagon back to the top of the hill.
The Illawarra Steamship Company suspended trading in 1958 and the Wharf was used only rarely after that, gradually falling into disrepair until it was set for demolition. Local residents worked hard to save it, preserving a little part of their history that will celebrate a major milestone on September 30.