Broulee Island Nature Reserve
The island walk is a very easy two hour stroll around that starts in a carpark behind the dunes of North Broulee Beach.
The first thing to do on your excursion is the most difficult; finding the carpark where to start your Broulee Island excursion so follow the map above. Once parked head towards the sea through the dunes until you come to the beach.
There is no water and there is no toilet so be prepared. Take your swimmers and a towel. If it is a nice day you will hunger for a swim when you see the little bays. Take good walking shoes that will allow you to explore the rock pools and to stomp around on a rocky shelf or shoreline covered with small fist sized rocks. It gets hot out in the sun for a few hours so a hat and sunscreen is a good idea.
A nice way to visit Broulee Island is arrive on the half tide going out and have a swim at either the horseshoe beach on to south side of the snadspit or, if the wind is from the south then swim on the northside. In summer the water is clear and perfect. Dry off and walk the island clockwise heading to the northern shore line to start where you can explore the rock pools. Most visitors go to the green section only - there and back - it is the prettiest part of the island.
The section facing the sea has a tilted beach of fish sized rocks and more rock pools. Most often it is exposed to larger waves as is the southern side. This is a good walk but more of a trudge and less interesting than the northern section you just walked through.
The final leg before you complete the loop requires a little rock hopping. Not too serious but little ones might need to be guided and helped.
Some History of Broulee Island:
Broulee Island Nature Reserve was created in April 1972. It covers an area of 42ha.
Broulee was once the main town on the South Coast and is recognised as the first settlement in the Eurobodalla. The island was surveyed with streets and land lots sold. As you walk around towards the north you will find remains of the old drydock rail and it was steadily growing with a courthouse, police station and hotel that catered for the steady increase in whaling and coastal sailing vessels calling in to anchored in the lee of the island.
In 1841, the schooner Rover, went aground near Candlagan Creek and the crew members were rescued by a group of Yuin people who formed a human chain through the surf. A report in the Sydney Gazette noted: "As the men dropped from her [the Rover] their only chance was to get washed in by the surf within reach of the blacks, who were doing their utmost to save as many as possible, for which they merit great praise". In appreciation Captain William Oldrey presented every member of the tribe with a commemorative brass plate featuring an etching of the ship and an Aboriginal figure.
Captain William Oldrey also built the infamous Erin-Go-Bragh (Ireland Forever) Hotel on the island. Unfortunately in the same year (1841) huge seas washed away the sandbar severing it from the mainland. The consequence was that Moruya township was to become the new administrative centre and they moved the whole parade disassembling the police station, houses and hotels by boats up the Moruya River. By 1859 the last of the buildings had relocated to Moruya leaving Broulee Island abandoned.
There are a few remains of footings and also the grave of Mrs Elizabeth Maleber died June 27 1842, aged 45 years, is located at the eastern end of the island. It consists of a sandstone headstone, a stone border and a sandstone footstone. The grave is surrounded by a chain wire and pipe fence constructed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1972. A word of warning. The hinterland of the island is very scrubby and difficult to walk through – plus there are oodles of snakes and ticks – stay on the edges.
Shellgrit Bay is the name that locals call the second longest beach on Broulee Island.
From 1920 the Broulee Island shellgrit was being taken to Sydney (virtually as ballast) where it was used to make lime for the building industry. To enable the launch to be loaded at the island, a 17-20 metre jetty was built together with a light rail track that carried a small dump truck at what had become known as Shellgrit Bay, some scant remains of the jetty are still there.