Entering the Peaceful Bantry Bay.
Today the protected waters of Bantry Bay contains eight courtesy boat moorings and is a a very popular destination with the weekend boating public.
The Bantry Bay Explosives Magazine Complex is located in Garigal National Park and managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Complex occupies an area of around 14 hectares on both the eastern and western shores of the bay and consists of numerous buildings, seawalls, tram lines, wharves, slipways, tracks, dams, and other above-surface remains as well as a number of archaeological sites. It is an important but little known part of the cultural, and natural, heritage of Sydney.
Bantry Bay is part of the traditional lands of the Guringai/Gai-Mariagal Aboriginal people. The Guringai/Gai-Mariagal people made extensive use of the area for tens of thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers. Numerous rock engraving sites and shell middens, some dated to at least 4,600 years old, can still be seen in the area today as tangible evidence of this Aboriginal past. It is likely that Aboriginal people continued to use the area for fishing and shellfish collecting until they were gradually dispossessed by European settlement and disease.
European use of this area in the early 1800s initially focussed on lime burning, fishing, oyster gathering and wood cutting. The pioneer of the area, Constable and Crown Lands Ranger James French (after whom Frenchs Forest is named), started the first local timber industry around 1856. He located his sawmill on the hill above Bantry Bay, and made a track for his bullock team to drag the wood down to a wharf, from where it was shipped to Sydney. This “Old Bullock Track” remains today, with cobbles, culverts and the remains of a stone bridge visible amongst the bushland.
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