This photo is from the family collection of James Smith who settled with his wife and three children in Coffs Harbour from Tipperary, Ireland after sailing north from Maitland. The photo features a rail cart at the southern end of the harbour, circa 1915 to 1920.
This photo is from the family collection of James Smith who settled with his wife and three children in Coffs Harbour from Tipperary, Ireland after sailing north from Maitland. The photo features a rail cart at the southern end of the harbour, circa 1915 to 1920. Wendy Stokes

Headlines throughout history - the early 1900s

1911

  • A long-time fixture of North Coast shipping - the steamer SS Rosedale was wrecked at the mouth of the Bellinger River.
  • 1911 saw banana plantations make a significant mark on the town for the first time. Large-scale crops were planted in Korora, with the results so successful that the plantation grew to cover 20 acres by the end of World War I.
  • April saw the arrival of the Royal Australian Navy ships HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Yarra.
  • Regular transport between the Jetty and "Top Town" was a two-horse coach run by Mr Weeks, or Joe Smith's hansom cab. Calls for a tram line between the two areas to fix a traffic problem sparked debate, however plans never got off the ground due to the presence of motorcars seemingly solving the problem.
  • In November construction on the North Coast Railway between Coffs Harbour and Raleigh began. It wouldn't be until 1915, however, that construction for the railway between Coffs, Coramba and Glenreagh would begin.
  • Minister for Public Works, Mr Arthur Griffith announced plans for a port scheme for the harbour.

Timber getters settled in the area in 1841. The busy Port was frequented by up to 450 ships a year until the Carywell was wrecked in 1865. Timber cutting remained the most important industry well into the 1900's, flourishing after the completion of the Jetty in 1892. Rail arrived to Coffs Harbour in 1915.
Timber getters settled in the area in 1841. The busy Port was frequented by up to 450 ships a year until the Carywell was wrecked in 1865. Timber cutting remained the most important industry well into the 1900's, flourishing after the completion of the Jetty in 1892. Rail arrived to Coffs Harbour in 1915. Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

1912

  • 1912 began with residents continuing to call for the addition of a public hospital for the town and a public school at the Jetty.
  • Plans for a district hospital were later submitted to the government, however they were not approved for several years.
  • Miss Banks opened a private school at the Jetty in July and a fire brigade was also established.
  • The Chief Engineer for Harbour and Water Supply ordered work to begin on a breakwater wall extending east of South Coffs Island, which was to become a quarry.
  • The widening and lengthening of the jetty became a "considerably urgent" issue. Construction finished in 1914 with the jetty now widened to 41 feet and lengthened to 320 feet. 

Clyde Cavanagh was in the 7th Light Horse Regiment and fought in Gallipoli in 1915.

22 APRIL 2015

Photo Gemima Harvey/Coffs Coast Advocate
Clyde Cavanagh was in the 7th Light Horse Regiment and fought in Gallipoli in 1915. 22 APRIL 2015 Photo Gemima Harvey/Coffs Coast Advocate Gemima Harvey

1913

  • The Jetty was finally gifted a public school when the Department of Education purchased a block of land on the corner of High St and Salamander St. The existing school in Gordon Street was relocated to this new site, while an Infants Department school was also established.
  • However, the relocation did not occur until the following year, with the school set to open at the start of 1915. 
  • The Roman Catholic Church also established a school - St Augustine's - which opened with 31 students. Classes were held in the Catholic Church until a Convent School was opened nearby in 1919.
  • Around April, the Advocate reported that a ship was wrecked near Bonville Beach during a storm. The ship was not found for several days until it washed up on Boambee Beach, so badly damaged that it could not be identified.
  • Construction began to connect South Coffs Island to the mainland, establishing a breakwall and to build a quarry on the island. 
  • Dorrigo Shire was divided into two separate, smaller areas - Dorrigo Shire and the Nymboida Shire. 
  • August saw the divide of Dorrigo Shire into two separate, smaller areas, now called Dorrigo Shire and Nymboida Shire. Coramba became the meeting spot for shire business.

To mark the 110th anniversary of The Coffs Coast Advocate we have delved into the news archives.

Share your historic images and stories with us via email editorial@coffscoastadvocate.com.au, or drop into the office to scan your photos or share them with us on Facebook.



Marching against sexual violence

Marching against sexual violence

Women (and friends) ready to reclaim night.

Fraser acts on ramp, slipway

premium_icon Fraser acts on ramp, slipway

COULD there be a better time to talk about the boat ramp?

You’re never too young to be heart smart

You’re never too young to be heart smart

KEEPING your heart healthy at any age is easy if you know how.

Local Partners