History of the 'Hole in the Wall' - by Alan Thomas
As far as I can gather, a group of keen fishermen got together to arrange an annual camp. This was pre-war, but I don't know exactly when.. They were mainly Nowra businessmen. They started at Stony Creek, but boat access was too difficult so they moved to Murray's Beach where currents and rips were a problem, so then they moved to the Island. I don't know why they left there, but they finished up at the Hole-in-the-Wall. That's where I first caught up with them.
My initiation was in 1948 - as a weekend visitor. There were about 8 members, a Canberra bureaucrat who didn't fish, did all the cooking and didn't wear any clothes, a farmer from Gwallegan (in the Pillaga Forest), a few Nowra businessmen whose names I can't recall, and my sponsor - George West - a butcher from Husky.
The group had just resumed after the war. They had erected a small hut, but camped in tents. However, they were keen to get something more permanent and approached the Department of the Interior for permission to build. They didn't get permission, but rather an indication - in writing - that provided they built something unobtrusive which could not be seen from the sea (the only access) there would be no objection.
They built a large iron shed - about fifty feet by forty feet - onto the existing shed, with a concrete floor and a large fireplace with copper pipe coils connected to an outside unenclosed shower. Cooking was by camp oven and iron pots and there were about six kero fridges. It would have been about 1950 and that was about the time the coral trees were planted.
I had no contact over the years, having moved to country towns and interstate, and of course had a family to rear. I returned to NSW in 1970 and was invited to join. I remained a member until the end in 1975. By this time the 'road to nowhere' had been built to service what was to be a nuclear reactor site at Murray's Beach. This meant more people had access and eventually pressure from others to be able to camp in the area forced the Department to give us notice. We were required to demolish and clear up everything - even the concrete floor and the coral trees. We complied with everything - except the coral trees.
We argued that we should be allowed to remain for as long as the Fuller family were allowed to stay on Bowen Island. They had been granted a 25 year lease which still had a couple of years to run. They hung out for about five or six more years and were then given a large compensation. It is who you know.
I can't remember exactly when the top of the Hole in the Wall caved in - but it was about 1973. It should be remembered that even when I first went there in 1948, Jervis Bay was quite different. Huskisson was just a small fishing/timber town. HMAS Albatross started about then. It became a source of civilian employment and a few navy officers elected to build or rent houses in Husky. They were mainly English officers, but the captain of the base - Captain Rhodes - was an Australian.
Creswell, as you would know, was then a thriving tourist resort. There was no township at Callala or Callala Bay - just the odd fishing shack. Greenfields Beach was then leased by two chaps who used to come from Sydney and who had built a shack there. There was no vehicular access of course - there was no Moona Bridge and no Vincentia. These two chaps - one was Jack Greenfield and the other I didn't know - also seemed to shun clothes - as we would see when we passed by boat or on horseback.
There were two houses at Lamb's Point (Plantation Point) - one right on the point occupied by George Bennett. He even had a trolley on rails on the northern side to pull his boat out. The other - whose name escapes me - lived where the Vincentia boat ramp is now. They had a sandy bush track into the JB road.
The only other thing I should perhaps mention is the torpedo tubes - one pair at Boat Harbour and the other pair inside the Bay from the lighthouse. These were of course designed to defend the Bay. It's a pity that they've been neglected and are now hardly recognizable.