Coomee Nulunga was a Murramarang woman, born on Yuin country on the South Coast of NSW in the late 1820s. She remembered how her grandmother talked of seeing the ‘great white birds’ arrive decades earlier, a description of what Lieutenant James Cook’s ship would have looked like from the shore as he sailed up the eastern coast in 1770.
Coomee witnessed the arrival of British settlers in the 1830s and 40s
On 20 January 1883, the popular broadsheet publication ‘Australian Town and Country Journal‘ published a unique insight into the district of Milton-Ulladulla. Called ‘Southern Pencillings‘ and attributed to ‘The Raven’, it included several line drawings featuring Pigeon House mountain, Lake Conjola, Airlie House and Ulladulla Harbour.
In April 1770 Captain James Cook sailed past Ulladulla as he made his way up the coast in HMS Endeavour and then, in January 1788, the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson (later Sydney) bringing convicts, marines and a few free settlers to the new colony of New South Wales.
Early in local European settlement, travel by sea was the quickest and most economical way to transport both passengers and produce to other places. Not until the early 1950s were roads and road vehicles efficient enough to totally replace coastal shipping. Vessels to and from Britain, European and other ports regularly passed along our coastline. Before settlement whalers and sealers ranged as far south as Bass Strait.