Araluen once housed 20,000 people with shops, schools, hotels and churches. This was also a period of the bushranger. Ben Hall was the most famous. The local people knew who they were, mostly young family men trying to feed their families. The locals kept 'mum' from the local constabulary.
It was never the same after the huge 1872 flood that swept away most of Araluen's buildings. Dairy cows were washed up onto Moruya's beaches days later. Nonetheless, it produced Australia's fifth largest alluvial gold deposits.
One of the issues with the Moruya River is the bar that runs across Moruya Heads and for years dredging has been a constant battle.
In the 1920's and '30s when granite was being extracted from Moruya, loaded along the river bank, wharf crews loaded barges with granite blocks and those barges would carefully navigate through the Moruya River entrance.
Moruya granite was used for the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge along with the Cenotarf in Martin Place, Sydney. The mine manager, a Mr McDonald from Scotland, lived in a Miss Marple type house on the other side of the river bank and would row to work each morning across the Moruya River.
This house still stands and can be viewed from George Bass Drive, the coast road from Moruya to Broulee (and on to Batemans Bay).
The mine manager and his wife had seven daughters and as they each became eligible for marriage, stories are told of the string of suitors rowing across the river for 'supervised visits'.
Large freight shipping was unable to cross the river bar into the mouth of the Moruya River. The Moruya River nonetheless provides wonderful fishing experiences. There are 35 different fish species and even an occasional shark is seen in the river. Equally so the bird life along the river bank. There are 75 species of birds in the Moruya area.
Many sailing vessels on 'around Australia trips' were able to navigate the mouth of the Moruya River and visited Moruya.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson lived in Moruya for 14 years co-ordinating the Basil Sellers House athlete respite ministry. During those years they met many such seafarers. Some visited the athlete respite facility and the tourism ministry Australia's Bush Orchestra, a birdsong (Bell Miner) walk through an ironbark forest.
Another aspect of Well-Being Australia's Tourism Ministry in Moruya was the Historic Moruya Bus Tour. Dean Davis of Dean Davis Productions from Brisbane produced a cassette recording for the tour for 'step on - step off' coach tours.
Dean Davis also produced an Australia's Bush Orchestra video and on another occasion, an athlete respite video to show athletes and coaches at the Australian Institute of Sport the benefits of respite from an AIS Men's Basketball squad visit. Dean Davis at that time was also the Brisbane Lyons AFL team 'lay chaplain'.