Today, it takes between four and five hours to drive from Sydney to Moruya, and the air flight takes between 40 to 50 minutes depending on air traffic control. In the mid to late 1800's it was less than 24 hours of sailing time.
The Moruya Heads Pilot Station was well known up and down the south east coast of the State as Moruya was the major coastal community of that period. The Moruya Heads Pilot Station was utilised for many purposes. One of these was to house those waiting for the flag drill with passing ships.
On every cargo ship was a sailor with flag drill experience and as the ships came past Moruya Heads, the latest Sydney news was flag drilled. The onshore personnel would take down the news, rush into town and have that news in the daily newspaper that same day.
Moruya had Sydney's latest news item within 24 hours through this well organised and functioning system. The flag drill news was such that the rudiments of the news was given and any half-decent newspaper man could fill in the gaps.
Until the telegraph line actually came to Moruya, firstly to the police and the Court House, the only way any news got to Moruya was through the overland postal service or by ships that came into port with mail bags.
The flag drill news service however beat anything else hands-down until the telegraph got to Moruya in the mid 1880's. For almost 20 years the flag drill service by passing shipping proved to be a remarkable form of communication.
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson says that we forget how crucial shipping was to the entire world, for even fifty years ago, international 'overseas' travel was by liner. It was no small thing that ships secured passenger and postal services as it was in the first century.
We get a glimpse of how effective shipping was to communication by reading the New Testament with the Apostle Paul's missionary journeys and the numerous trips he took on board ship.
Those vital 20 years of Sydney news flag drill illustrated to the Moruya township they were not that isolated from the latest news, and that there are numerous ways to communicate, and this is no different today, although we now have different kinds of technology.