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Port Stephens Named

A Contentious Account (PDF extract)


Popular writer  John Hawkesworth  was commissioned  by Lord Sandwich to compile the official account of the Endeavour' s journey, based on Cook's journal.  He sold the copyright for £6,ooo (over $1 million dollars today)  causing the disapproval of his literary peers.


While the book was a  bestseller, Hawkesworth was criticised  by Cook for changing the original account. Many others also complained that it was vulgar and irreligious.


John Hawkesworth  (1715?-1773)


An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere 1773.            Australian Printed Collection

Historical Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay


Shoal Bay is in Port Stephens, a large coastal inlet 170 kilometres north of Sydney. Larger than Sydney harbour, it has a narrow entrance between two striking hills of volcanic origin. Mostly shallow and sandy, the harbour is excellent for fishing and recreational boating. Captain Cook named Port Stephens on 11 May 1770 after Sir Phillip Stephens, Secretary of the Admiralty.

Port Stephens including Tomaree Headland is part of the traditional country of the Worimi Aboriginal people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years, and have a special connection with the landscape, plants and animals.

Development of Shoal Bay commenced in 1934 when a local fishing venture, started by partners Bob Elliott, Alex Kufner and Tony Raper, decided that Shoal Bay was a good place to build a club house, being to the Port’s entrance for the journey out to the Broughton Island fishing site. The club approached the land owners at the time, Realty Realisations, who offered the club the land free while the building remained in the hands of the club. The building was completed in 1935 when a jetty was also erected and a dirt track from Nelson Bay opened up. When the venture went commercial some years later a payment of £345 was made.


World War II structures

During World War II a garrison was established on Tomaree Headland to defend the entrance to the port and provide for amphibious training for U.S. and Australian soldiers. The club became the headquarters for the Joint Overseas Operation Training Services.


On Shoal Bay Peninsula on the site of what is now Tomaree Lodge, a State-run facility for the intellectually disabled, were barracks, messes and recreation rooms for gunners and soldiers. They manned the observation post, signal station and radar station at the summit of Tomaree Head, and the concrete gun emplacements and battery command posts built in 1941 half way up the headland. 


At the end of the war the structures at the base of Tomaree Head became an army hospital and in 1947 were transferred to the NSW Department of Public Health for the establishment of Tomaree Lodge.


The club cum training HQ was returned to Alex Kufner who, with R G Browne, refurbished it as a guest house. In 1947 the Randall family purchased the property and grew the business. The club was extensively redeveloped as the Country Club Hotel, which opened on New Years Eve 1954-55. In 1957 further additions and alterations were made to both the hotel, bar and accommodation as the business expanded and the area became more popular.

As for Tomaree Lodge, it is scheduled to be closed and the residents rehoused into group homes by 2018. The NSW Government has given no indication about plans for the site’s future.

SBCA is interested in more photographs of historical Shoal Bay - if you have relevant photographs please contact us using the form below or e-mail the photographs to
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