Tea Gardens Slipway naming and discusson

By Len ROBERTS Deputy Mayor, Great Lakes Council

Council has received conflicting requests for the naming of Tea Gardens Slipway. The first request was for it to be named after an early family involved in boating on the Myall River, the Korsman’s.

The second request was for it to be named as the Tea Gardens Slipway as that is the preferred name by the Slipway Association membership and what it is known as now.

When the first request came to council, given there was apparent conflict within the community, and there was no requirement for the slipway to have a formal name Council unanimously decided not to take any further action.

The slipway is on land managed by council and council is not obligated as the “owners” to have it named.

However, the first proponent, as was his right, pursued the matter through the Geographical Names Board (GNB).

After discussions with the GNB Council decided to put the matter to the community, with the advice that Councils’ preference is to name it Tea Gardens Slipway which is favoured by the local slipway members.

Tim Motum and Jeff Low at the Slipway
Tim Motum and Jeff Low at the Slipway

The salient points for the community to consider based on information supplied to council (which may or may not be historically accurate) are:

The Korsman family did relocate a slipway from Nelson Bay in 1948/49 to service their ferry fleet and other commercial interests that operated in the area. In 1956 with the demise of the ferry service the slipway was sold to GLC.

During this same time there was another slipway at Winda Woppa that serviced the Birdwood Timber Mill. The Mill ceased operation in 1954 due to a downturn in the industry.

As advised by local historians, the Birdwood Mill Slipway was relocated to Tea Gardens adjacent to the original Korsman facility. This operation resulted in the Korsman slipway being removed after approximately seven years of being in service. The Korsman slipway has little to do with the current slipway in Tea Gardens.

In 1980 local boat owners began operating the slipway as a community facility and in 1988 becoming an incorporated Association.

Over the years the Association has replaced all the Birdwood Mill equipment as part of maintaining the facility resulting in there being nothing left of the original Korsman or Birdwood Mill slipways. The existing slipway remains on the site of the slipway relocated from the Birdwood Mill.

Tea Gardens Slipway Association Inc consists of 90 members and is managed by a management committee which is responsible for the direction of the slipway affairs.

The committee has been discussing the naming of the slipway over several months and concluded the current name “Tea Gardens Slipway” was the most appropriate bearing in mind, it has been known by this name for over 30 years.

Minutes of the management committee held on the 19 February 2015 shows a unanimous motion being passed to maintain the name as “Tea Gardens Slipway”.

Since 1955 there have been many people who have contributed to the development, operation and management of the slipway.

The facility is considered a community asset and over the last 30 years has been known as the Tea Gardens Slipway, however it is good to have connection to our historical past.

The matter is on exhibition for 28 days.  If you have an opinion on the matter, or an alternate suggestion for a name please make a submission.  You can drop a comment in at the district office or email me [email protected] or write to the council as per the notice that will be circulated in the local press.

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