Thousands celebrate Tathra Wharf's 150th

THE 150th celebration of the Tathra Wharf on Sunday was a huge success with an estimated crowd of 2000 or more enjoying the atmosphere and activities.

Stall holders, members of the 150th celebration committee and the Pig and Whistle Fleet Club members dressed in 1860-style clothes, as traditional games and activities took place on and around the iconic structure.

The official opening of the museum and celebration speeches was also a chance for both Federal and State members to throw their support behind the rebuilding of the Tathra ring road.

Federal Member Mike Kelly backed the pledge made by State Member Andrew Constance last week for $300,000 toward the project.

Mr Kelly said the Federal Government would find whatever funds were needed as long as it was matched dollar for dollar by the State Government.

The ring road that once ran past the wharf up and around the headland was last washed away in the mid-1970s as well as on previous occasions as depicted in the historic images in the newly reopened museum.

“I have been given permission by Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese to announce that we will match dollar for dollar any contribution from the State Government toward the ring road,” Mr Kelly said.

This brought a cheer from the crowd and was followed by Mr Constance also reconfirming the funding commitment from the NSW Government.

The crowd waited expectedly for Bega Valley Shire councillor and mayoral hopeful Tony Allen to commit the council to the project.

But Mr Allen despite saying the “ring road needs to be done”, somewhat threw cold water on the enthusiasm saying the previous estimate of $1.2million for the project may or may not be correct depending on what further geotechnical reports found.

While he admitted the council had already spent considerable time and resources on feasibility studies including an environmental impact statement, he said more studies were required before an accurate costing could be developed. 

Back to the celebrations, Mr Kelly noted that he was a direct descendent of Daniel Gowing, the man that built the wharf back in 1862.

He heaped praise on the committee organising the 150th wharf celebration as well as the Pig and Whistle Fleet Club members that fought to save the wharf as well as more recently reopening the museum with the help of the Tathra chamber of commerce and the Bega Valley Shire Council.

The ribbon to the museum was cut by Betty Koellner and tributes to Daisy Bearlin who fought so hard save the wharf influencing the powerful including Prime Minister Gough Whitlam flowed from several speakers. 

Organisers from the 150th wharf celebration committee and the Tathra Chamber of Commerce were more than pleased with the numbers attending the celebration.

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