Bush walking and family history are not often commonly associated. However on my morning walk along Currambene Creek off Jervis Bay I revisited a favourite site of mine which has both local and family history significance.
During summer I look forward to visiting Myola and as well as enjoying the delights of Jervis Bay, I take at least one morning walk though the neighbouring bushland. From Myola Road, I head along Catherine Street that runs north past the last house following Currambene Creek until the sealed pavement comes to an end near the local boat ramp. Beyond that point the dirt track is generally passable only in a four wheel drive vehicle used mostly by free campers along the creek. My walk route is generally triangular and after leaving the creek the track heads towards Callala, again rutted with evidence of trail bikes. The final leg is a well maintained fire trail back to Myola Road.
Recent rain had helped the breeding of mosquitoes but even these don’t really detract from the pleasure of listening to the chorus of cicadas that spasmodically rose to thunderous proportions ensuring that even on the cooler morning it was a reminder of summer.
About five minutes walk past the boat ramp there are a number of pine bollards beside the track marking the path to the lone grave of six year old Thomas Speechley who died over a hundred years ago. If you weren’t aware it was there you would miss the notice erected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service about the site. Along the path past the notice, the grave sits within its bush setting with clear evidence of regular visits.
The grave provides a glimpse into the history of the area and the Speechley family and is a place I visit every time I take this bush walk.
A lot has been written about Thomas’s grave and by googling him you can find details of his tragic death as well some local and aboriginal history of Currambene.
I have distance Speechley cousins in my own family tree and one day I will delve further into that family to see if I have a connections with Thomas’s family.