NELLIGEN is just 10kms from the Batemans Bay CBD however it could be a lifetime.
Just upstream on The Clyde River is the port of Nelligen. It is still classified as a port because it had long served as a primary port for the South Coast. Now you can sit down at the wharf down by the river bank and wait for the daily visit of the tour boat that comes up the river from Batemans Bay. While you are there take a fishing rod because catching dinner is there is as easy as it gets.
Nelligen is a perfect place to sit back and do nothing at all however if you are drawn to the water then go for an explore up or down the river by kayak.
Looking at the size of the town now your wouldn't realise that it was once a bustling port. Development came rapidly to the area in the mid 1800's, firstly with timber cutters cutting all they could out of the surrounding forests to supply the demands of the rapidly expanding city of Sydney. Nelligen's link to the world was then only by water.
By 1835 the Colonial Secretary petitioned for a road to be constructed across the Clyde Mountain range from Braidwood to Batemans Bay so that inland settlers "might ship their wool and receive supplies”. It was finished in 1856, such was the difficulty of terrain.
Soon after gold was discovered inland and to the south at Araluen and Majors Creek and everyone coming in to try their luck landed at Nelligen or Moruya by steamer. In the mid 1850's steamships as large as 1,100 tons were venturing up the Clyde River to the Port of Nelligen.
The nearby River Road to Shallow Crossing (gravel) is also recommended as an excursion as it follows the Clyde River upstream. The hinterland remains pristine and undeveloped and the nearby Clyde River National Park is a natural playground by the river, offering kayaking, canoeing, swimming and fishing, alongside its beautiful views.If you feel like venturing further at the top of the Clyde Mountain (via the Kings Highway) you will find the Monga National Park which is a nice day excursion that includes Penance Grove, a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk and discover rainforests and Gondwana plant species.
Follow the Historic Plaques (The Nelligen Town history guide can be found HERE)
Through the initiatives of the local historical group a series of informative plaques have been erected at significant historical points around the town. Start in the park beside the Clyde River where you will find a plaque with a map of the original town. The map identifies 24 sites of historic interest that tell about the town and its history including the Steampacket Hotel, the Old School Site and the Bushrangers Tree. The stump is all that remains of the big gum tree that local bushrangers, the Clarke Brothers, were chained to before they were taken to Sydney for trial in 1867.
Bushrangers were rife during the gold mining boom. When you visit Nelligen look for the big old stump of a tree near the bridge where they first chained convicts for several days as they were being moved back and forth between squatter projects on the coast and their gaols inland at Goulburn and Braidwood. Then it was referred to as the Prison Tree and with the Clarke Bros became the Bushrangers Tree.
For those who love their history: The Nelligen Main Street Study is an excellent report that looks at the history of the town as it was and as it remains today.
Near the top of the Kings Highway on the Clyde Mountain those arriving to the Eurobodalla encounter Pooh Bear's Corner.
Crookwell seed potato farmers the Barbara and David Carter have told they made up the idea of "Pooh Bear's Corner" on the Clyde Mountain in 1971 too keep their children amused on the trip to the coast. After leaving a couple of cardboard signs over the years, others started leaving teddy bears, and then a pot marked "Hunny".
- In 1992 Eurobodalla Shire Council responded to the family's request for a proper sign, saying that the family's efforts were interesting and refreshing, that it was now a famous landmark, and that a sign would be installed. And it was as a welcome milestone to ease the journey.
But the corner has other interest. One story has it that from 1942 to 1944, the 14th Battalion of the Volunteer Defence Corps manned a shelter at the corner, from where they could trigger demolition charges under the road. This was part of a plan to delay any Japanese invasion party who landed at the coast from advancing on Canberra. A tunnel was dug under the King's Highway at the corner and explosives placed inside. The entrance to the tunnel has now been sealed by concrete, conspiracy theorists suggest that there may still be some explosives inside the tunnel.
Another story has it that if the Japanese were advancing inland, the three (or there might have been five) specially dug 'caves' in the roadside cuttings would be packed with explosives, which would be detonated and cause landslides to close the road. In the 1940s there were definitely three such "caves" along the barely wide enough for two cars gravel road, of which road widening has left just one, at Pooh Bear's Corner.