Yamba port's historical engineering feat recognised

A SPECIAL ceremony will be held in Yamba on Saturday to unveil an Engineering Heritage Marker for the Port of Clarence.

The port will be formally recognised by Engineers Australia as a significant work of engineering heritage, acknowledging the important contribution of engineering in regional and remote areas.

Chair of Engineering Heritage Newcastle Rod Caldwell said the construction of the Port of Clarence 150 years ago had been ground-breaking for the region as it enabled regular shipping services to Sydney; these providing the only reliable means of transport until the railway was completed to Grafton in 1923.

"The significance of the Port to the community was demonstrated when over 400 people gathered in Yamba in September 1862, from as far as Grafton and Ulmarra for the laying of the Port's foundation stone at its entrance works," Mr Caldwell said.

"Many eminent engineers from both Australia and the UK were involved in the design and construction of the Port, with construction continuing in various stages until 1971."

In addition to the entrance works, 20 public wharves were constructed between Yamba and Grafton.

A fleet of up to five dredges operated to keep the shipping channel open and a dry dock at Ashby was also constructed to service the dredges.

The Port of Clarence was one of eight regional river ports in Northern NSW, but is the only remaining port today which still serves ocean-going shipping.

The official unveiling of the Engineering Heritage Landmark at the Port of Clarence, Yamba will be conducted by Engineers Australia's National President, Adjunct Professor David Hood and will be held at the Yamba museum from 4pm December 1.

President of the Port of Yamba Historical Society Maria Buist said it was fitting to formally recognise the national significance of Yamba's port.

"It was a real engineering feat, no doubt about that," Mrs Buist said.

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