Captain John Gogerly was born in 1843 and grew up at Port Hacking.1 As young men, he and his brother William would collect oyster shells and sell them to lime kilns at Milsons Point.2 It was here that John met his future wife Mary Ann Alderton; her brother operated the lime kilns.3
In 1882, John, Mary Ann and their children settled on land at the base of Booti Booti Hill on Wallis Lake.4 John was a Master Mariner and sailed between Forster and Sydney transporting timber and oyster shell. In 1898 Gogerly’s name became legend when he ran into one of the fiercest storms to hit the east coast while sailing to Sydney in the “Venture”. He strapped himself to the tiller and bare-posted rode out the storm for three days. Blown off course he eventually made it to the safety of the Clarence River where he was towed in. He reportedly announced “There is not enough water in the Pacific Ocean to drown me”.5
It is ironic then that Captain Gogerly drowned in a metre of water on Wallis Lake while sailing back from Forster with supplies. After he failed to return home a search uncovered his small upturned boat. Days later his body was found three miles from his home. It is supposed that John had a heart attack which caused him to accidentally drown.6 He was buried on the Gogerly property and his grave marker can still be seen along the Lakeside Walking Track at Booti Booti.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Ancestry.com, Baptism record for John Frederick Gogerly, September 1843, St Philip, Sydney.
2 Will Newton, “Who was Gogerly?”, Sutherland Shire Historical Society Inc, Quarterly Bulletin, No. 78, November 1991.
3 SMH, 1 August 1884, 3.
4 NSW Government Gazette, 29 January 1890 [Issue. 60], 912.
5 Manning River Times, 18 May 1898; Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 12 August 1905, 4; glmrsnsw (2016). ‘Petta’ – Pearling Lugger.
6 NSW BDM, death Index for John Gogerly No. 10703/1905; Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 12 August 1905, 3.