The Inlet Cottages
This article was compiled by Colin Handel in 2008 from information, old papers, photographs and conversations with Charley Cropper.
"A Brief History of the Inlet Holiday Cottages"
Mr Henry Hourigan was responsible for establishing the "Inlet" Cottages.
Some time in 1918, Hourigan applied for and was granted a parcel of land, on the Farnhem Headland, overlooking the entrance to the sea from
The land, approximately two (2) acres, was at the time under the control of the Commonwealth Government of Australia. Hourigan set about building a holiday camp on the site.
Gradually some wooden "humpies" were added and other improvements were made.
Henry Hourigan produced advertising brochures to attract guests. He invited people to come to Sussex Inlet and stay at Hourigans "Inlet Camp". It was promoted it as the only camp at the entrance.
Hourigan held the lease on the land and conducted the business for 29 years. In 1947 Hourigan sold the lease to Mr Frank Sherry, who made more improvements and cabins of a better quality were added.
Sherry was also a long-term operator of the business, keeping a steady stream of visitors coming to the area.
After some twenty seven years at the "cabins" he sold the business to Mr Tom Lowe. The exact sale date is unknown. It is believed to be some time in 1974.
Lowe and his wife continued with upgrading the cabins, facilities and grounds. After a short time running the business Mrs lowe passed away, unwilling to continue with the business alone, Lowe sold the lease after about two years occupancy. The Croppers had been coming to the Sussex Inlet area from the early 1950's.
Looking to moving to the south coast and buying a small business, Charlie and his wife Norma took over the lease and business from Frank Lowe in 1976 and are still the proprietors. At the time of the transfer of the lease to the Croppers the only access to the cabins was by water. Clients were required to leave their motor vehicles in Sussex and complete their journey to the site by boat.
The Croppers applied to the Commonwealth Government for permission to construct a road from Pacificana Drive to the parcel of land they had leased. Permission was granted and the road was constructed.
Up to 1980 there had been no electricity connections at the "Cabins". In the early days metho primus stoves were used along with ice boxes and some early kerosene fridges.
During the 60's and 70's gas fridges and cooking stoves were used. Electrical generators supplied limited power for lighting and running radios. This generator would be run from 5pm until 10 pm, the on/off operation and fuelling performed manually by the proprietors.
In 1980,at considerable cost to the Croppers, an elecrtricity cable was run to the cabins from the Haven Resort further up the inlet. In 1996 the Commonwealth Government transferred the lease on the property to the NSW State Government. Since that time some lease matters are still being resolved with the State Government and the Shoalhaven Council.
The cottages are the only place with a full view of the bar and the entrance from the sea. A bar watch facility is in operation together with the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, a worthwhile addition to boating safety at Sussex Inlet.