Appropriately the name Ulladulla is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘safe harbour.’ The sunrise over Ulladulla Harbour is a sight to behold and the small pleasure boats moored there make a wonderful display. Ulladulla is a great holiday destination.
The harbour is the home port to one of the largest commercial fishing fleets on the south coast of NSW. Every Easter a Blessing of the Fleet Festival is held. This colourful festival has been held since 1956. The tradition originated in Sicily, Italy and is centuries old. It is continued in Ulladulla by the descendants of the original Italian fishing community. The actual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony is held at Ulladulla harbour on Easter Sunday, after a street parade with colourful floats and street stalls. The Princes Highway is the main road running through the town and is usually closed for the day.
Ulladulla Harbour is a minor port administered by the previously named Land and Property Management Authority, which was responsible for land titles, property information, valuation, surveying, and mapping and spatial information in New South Wales. This is now called the New South Wales Land and Property Information, a division of the Department of Finance and Services in the Government of New South Wales.
A wooden jetty was built in 1859. This was because the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company had told the farmers that they would not call again at Ulladulla unless better mooring facilities were provided. The Illawarra Steam Navigation Company was a shipping company that serviced the south coast of New South Wales, Australia from 1858 to the early 1950s. The company was formed through the amalgamation of the General Steam Navigation Company, the Kiama Steam Navigation Company and the Shoalhaven Steam Navigation Company. Each of these companies serviced parts of the south coast with their respective vessels.
After merging, the new company held a virtual monopoly in regard to shipping on the south coast. Their fleet visited every significant port between Sydney and the border of Victoria. The company transported passengers and a range of produce, including livestock, and so it became known as the ‘Pig and Whistle Line’. More than twenty steamships were part of the company’s fleet, over the years. These included the Merimbula and the Eden. Most of the ships were purpose-built according to the needs of the company, and they were built in shipyards in Australia and abroad.
The jetty was replaced by a stone pier after seven years. The pier was built by the government on the natural reef. The Illawarra Steam Navigation Company built a store on the harbour foreshores. This storehouse was for the receiving of produce for shipment to and from Sydney. There was a weekly cargo service to Ulladulla until the mid-1950s.
The Ulladulla Lighthouse was built in 1873 on the harbour breakwater. In 1889 it was relocated to Warden Head, a headland south of Ulladulla Harbour, and is active today. This lighthouse which guards the entrance to the Port of Ulladulla is one of only two wrought iron lighthouses in NSW, the other being the Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse.
Tourism is one of the main causes of growth of the township of Ulladulla. The underdeveloped beaches are beautiful and the fishing is great. There are cafes and restaurants and plenty of shops to browse in.
Nearby are the lovely towns of Mollymook and historic Milton. Also part of the Milton-Ulladulla district is Narrawallee which is a coastal village consisting predominantly of a residential suburb, bordered by a tidal inlet to the north and Matron Porter Drive.