Tathra Wharf has a place in history as the only remaining timber deep-water wharf on the East Coast of Australia.

From the departure of the last ship in 1954, the wharf fell into disrepair. With the assistance of Federal,  State and local government funds in the early 1980, restoration commenced. The wharf was officially re-opened in 1988.

The Tathra Wharf Museum remains standing grandly on the headland, providing the village with a rare tourist gem a showcase for our maritime history now kept open by dedicated volunteers.

Then & Now from a working Wharf to a Museum. 155 YEARS 1862-1916

The rich Bega River flats and nearby coastal areas developed in the 1800's, and the Tathra village established. With poor roads, no rail and undependable punts to cross the rivers, it was soon realised that reliable transport was needed. The valleys produced pigs, beef and skins, butter, cream and cheese, and wattle bark.

The first unsuccessful attempt at Kianinny Bay, the current site which allowed a permanent wharf to have some eleven metres of water below its decking, was chosen. In 1862 the structure began with the deck. A few years later a cargo shed was added and the newly-formed Illawarra Steamship Company locally known as the Pig & Whistle Line provided a regular transport by steamer, beginning a near century partnership with the district's farmers.
The wharf and buildings continued to be extended after the turn of the century. The cattle and pig yards were added in 1901, the wharf was again extended in 1903 and the buildings reconstructed with the present two storey structure in 1907. At this time a major upgrade took place with the introduction of spring-loaded buffers to assist in the berthing of larger vessels in the difficult north-easterly seas to which the wharf was exposed. This was in conjunction with a mooring buoy to the north east of the jetty. Between 1907 and 1912 the wharf underwent major extensions in eight definable stages including a sub-deck, jib crane, the addition of the cattle race, loading ramp and passenger shelter. In 1919 the passenger shelter was replaced by a single storey shed abutting the two story building.

 In 1952, the last passenger steamship, the SS Cobargo, departed. Two years later, the SS Tathra, the last cargo steamer left the wharf. During these years the real working wharf was the lifeblood of the district, providing work for the locals, an outlet for produce and a port for incoming goods desperately needed by the burgeoning communities.

In the last century the maritime authorities passed these wharves back to local councils to manage. The financial burden was huge; mass deterioration resulted and invariably each fell into disrepair, a number meeting their end by fire. The now historic Tathra Wharf was the only such structure saved, all due to a concerted community effort. Continuing this effort, in 2006, piers, bearers and the platform were replaced using the original spotted gum or turpentine timbers, and the roof was renovated.

Continual work ensures the displays and facilities are maintained.


We are located in the heart of Tathra... enjoy the unusual and extensive exhibits.

  WE ARE OPEN 10am - 4pm
FRIDAY - MONDAY inclusive   
In Winter Monday & Friday are 11am - 2pm
Extended hours in School Holidays

Prior arrangements 64944363

THE PIG & WHISTLE FLEET CLUB Inc 2016  TATHRA New South Wales           TATHRA WHARF MUSEUM  - New members and  volunteers warmly welcomed.
                                                                                                                                                   1116 Tathra Road, Jellat Jellat   NSW  2550     64922820 or After Hours 64944363