The Sapphire Coast Local History
Located on the southern coast of New South Wales, Australia, Sapphire Coast is a region known for its pristine beaches, charming seaside towns, and rich history. The area boasts a breathtaking coastline, several nature reserves, and an abundance of flora and fauna. But what makes this region truly remarkable is its rich cultural heritage and fascinating history.
The traditional owners of the land on Sapphire Coast are the Yuin people, who have lived in the area for over 12,000 years. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Yuin people lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, relying on the land and sea for their sustenance. They had intricate social structures, and their culture revolved around their beliefs and traditions.
The region's recorded history dates back to the early 1800s when the Europeans arrived in the area. The first recorded European to explore the region was George Bass, an English surgeon who sailed down the south coast in 1797. Bass named the region "Sapphire Coast," after spotting the blue waters of Twofold Bay.
In the early 1800s, the Europeans established several settlements in the region, including Eden, Tathra, Merimbula, and Bega. These towns quickly grew, and by the mid-1800s, the region had become a hub for timber and dairy farming industries. The towns also became a popular vacation destination for the wealthy residents of Sydney and Melbourne.
One of the most significant events in Sapphire Coast's history occurred in Eden, in the mid-1850s. It was the arrival of the shore-based whaling industry, which turned Eden into one of the busiest whaling towns in Australia. Between 1860 to 1872, over 40 whaling ships operated out of Twofold Bay, and over 5,000 whales were processed in Eden's whaling station. However, the industry's decline in the late 1800s, coupled with the depletion of whale populations, led to the closure of the whaling station in 1930.
Another significant event in Sapphire Coast's history occurred in the early 1900s, with the establishment of the Bega Cheese factory. The factory was established in 1900 by local farmers who wanted to find a way to use their surplus milk. The factory and the Bega Cheese brand have since become popular worldwide.
Throughout the 20th century, Sapphire Coast continued to thrive, with the region's economy diversifying into tourism, aquaculture, and fisheries. Today, Sapphire Coast is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world with its beautiful beaches, stunning coastline, and rich history. The region's national parks, including Mimosa Rocks National Park, Bournda National Park, and Ben Boyd National Park, are among the most visited attractions in the region.
Despite the growth and development, Sapphire Coast remains firmly connected to its unique cultural heritage and history. The region's museums and historical sites, including the Eden Killer Whale Museum, the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre, and the Bemboka Museum, provide a glimpse into the region's rich past.
Sapphire Coast's history is an important part of the region's identity and heritage. It has played a vital role in shaping the region's economy, culture, and way of life. For visitors to the region, exploring Sapphire Coast's history provides an opportunity to connect with the past, appreciate the present, and look forward to the future.