Members Story

Gunsser Family History of Bemm.



Marj and Ken Outten

It was 1956 when Ken and I made our first trip to Bemm River. We went camping with Jack Thomas and his wife Eileen, as well as John and Joan Oneil. When I arrived, my friend said to me ( you won,t like it here, the dirt sticks to you, it,s black sand.)

The toilets were at the top of the hill, there were two of them ,cans only, and there was a cold water shower.
It cost 7 shillings and 6pence a week to camp, and the money was collected by a council man who drove out from Orbost.

After camping for a couple of years, Ken and Jack Thomas bought our land. They built two cabins to start with, each had two bunks, a table and a little gas stove. They then built a shower and laundry, and next to that a long drop toilet.
(Photo of Marj  taken in the making of the new water storage dam for Bemm was taken in the early eighties)
Jock and Joan Joughin were in the Bemm hotel, a great meeting place when you came in from fishing. It was the first place to go and get your fish weighed, and have a chat.
Photo: Marj Outten with a lovely catch of bream.

Every New Years Eve everyone went to the hotel. Jock would put the piano out on the verandah, and everyone would have a sing a long. A lady would come from Cabbage Tree to play the piano.
Ken helped put television into Bemm River. We were still living in Melbourne, and Ken used to get the antennas from Dandenong, and bring them to Bemm. All the men used to help each other to put them up, and Ken would tune them in.
Photo: (The Long Jetty in the 80s)

Ken and Jack Thomas put on films in the town. They used projectors from work, as well as bringing in films and screen. We used to have them on a block of land near the hotel, and sometimes in our own back yard. Everyone brought their own chair, and we had a lgreat time.
I remember when the little shop arrived, just two rooms I think. It was on blocks for a while, but later it collapsed.It was later rebuilt, and upgraded to a shop and residence by Mark and Jane.
Marj Outten


Harold Houghton

Bemm River Fishing and Accomodation at Bemm Pub.

November 1946,1947 (twice that year),1948,1949 (twice that year also) & 1950, fantastic fishing holidays.

1947 November. Left home at Moonee ponds at approx. 5.30am with friend Harry Beard in second hand car I had just bought,a 1939 Ford Anglia, 8hp 'tourer'.

Had a good run to Bairnsdale,stopping for breakfast at 11.30am, than continued onto Orbost for a quick' reviver'. Left Orbost in heavy rain at 6pm and continued on down
highway until the bitumen road ceased at the Brodribb River, then it was just a dirt road highway to the NSW border.

Turned off onto Bemm River track in pouring rain. The track disappeared at times with flood water covering the track. Harry sat on the bonnet of the car with a long stick poking through the water making sure we did not get bogged. Lucky we did get through, after battling both the water and scrub, and  finally arrived at the Bemm Pub at approx 10pm.

On arrival we found Dinny Morgan  the publican, outside in the rain, resting his head in hands, resting on the low fence looking for us up the track.
The first words he said to us were "where have you been, I have been waiting for you to arrive & can you pour a beer?' I said no, but I soon  learnt. Dinny put the pluto in my hand and said "I am going to bed." He pointed to cash register, and said lock the door and the cash register. I went to bed at about 1am.

Breakfast was at 6.30 and then we down to the jetty with a Beatrice BBQ packed lunch box to go out fishing in a boat called the Queen Mary. We travelled out to the marks,
until lunch time, then went anchored at a fisherman's shack and had BBQ. Here we had the company of a 5' goanna who would come right up to the BBQ,& take a cooked bream and eat the lot. A good afternoon's fishing in the channel with 17 good bream,& 2 flathead.
Back to the pub at about 5pm and a nice cold beer.
We kept the boat's fishing keeper nets with 8 good bream for the pubs breakfast plus 2 good flathead to take the next day for lunch with leftovers from Beatrice's lunch box.
Had too much food on the second day! All the fish we caught were put in the keeper net then into a wire cop to keep for the return trip. The bait we used was shrimp.

On the second day we had decided to try Swan Lake for luderick. We got 5 good size ones,2 bream, 4 flathead,& 1 congo eel.
Back to the pub for dinner. After we had eaten,  back to bar duty and mail pick up at 10pm, then back to bar duty again. Had no visitors so able to have an early night and closed the bar at 11.30.

Third day we only caught 2 bream in very heavy rain so back to the pub for lunch and a sleep during the afternoon .Pub closed early  at 9pm.
On 4th day with BBQ on board, headed up river about 2 miles to 2 marks  recommended to us.16 bream a good catch for the day.
No more fish in cop until our 10th day, when we only kept enough for meals and the balance returned to the water.
Fourteenth day we were up early at 5am to clean and pack fish with freshly cut and washed bracken fern poked down through the fish's mouth to keep stomach from sweating until we got to Bairnsdale where we packed the fish in ice in banana boxes. Once home we gave fish to friends.
A great fishing holiday with the 1st class hospitality of the Morgan family at the Bemm pub.

It was a sad day when the pub burnt down taking with it some of the local history on its walls.
I have fished the Bemm on 1 day visits on 5 or 6 occasions since then. Still a great place with first class people!
I am getting old now but have fond memories of the Morgan family and residents of the  Bemm.

Cheers Harold Houghton


Family Name  -   Hester
1948 or 1949

Dad camped at the site in entrance, where Redge’s Camp was.

Dad came with a best mate called Barry Gale, who was needing some solitude to recover from the recent death of his wife, who he had married in UK.
They drove up the Princes Hwy for a fishing trip, and by chance chose Bemm River.
Barry Gale was a Wing Commander and a spitfire pilot, who grew up in Warburton.

Thus the perfect camp was found and even year , from this time, and easter was the time to take a break from work, Dad and Countles friend were invited on the annual trip for appex the next 40 years.
The  same location was used, the usual departure time from the Yarra Valley was around 9 pm, to arrive in the dark , wait until sunrise to launch boat, and then ferry all the camping gear across the lake.
To allow access to the surf from the camp, a track was created to the surf  beach. 

My recollections started in 1952, when I was 7.

Above is Bill Hester, taken in 1982, showing him in his “tinnie” at Bemm River teaching his 4 year old grandson, Marc Hester, the art of catching a bream.

I remember a very tall person called Mr Fellows, who took us from the jetty to the camp , it was still dark, and I remember his words on the location, there is a big hole in front of your camp.
My other recollection was the huge goanna that kept close to our camp, to me it was a crocodile size.

Another recollection was being in the old pub, when Mr Morgan owned it, and watching how he was in a rigid position at the Bar, left hand under his chin( with a cigarette , and right hand clutching a pluto, and filling glass’s
> without looking at the glass, and still carrying on a conversation with a client in front of him.
> He never overfilled, never missed the glass, and clients just deposited the coin on the bar, which he removed at times without breaking his conversation. Dads asked me would I like a drink, and I asked me a rasphberry lemonade, he said, it was not possible, until the lady from the kitchen was at the front bar.

I have vivid memory of Dad and friends, most who were war veterans, after a few drinks at the camp, starting to talk about the War, and this was I feel the relaxed atmosphere and unwinding brollyt out some real issue’s about the stress]s they were harbouring, it is interesting to note that my youngest Son Matthew who has spent time oversea’s and also Afghanistan is also finding solitude in trips to Bemm.

Another event still is vivid, and it was the many plans on how to cast out a long way into the surf.
A friend of Dad’s, Stan Norton , finally developed a bazooka type tube, propelled by a large penny hunger’.

It dis not achieve a great distance, so he played around with it in the camp.
Filled a beef can with water, and fired off into the lake, and one day decided to fire off a can, behind a gentleman fishing with his wife  acrid from our camp.
The can int very high and landed bewhing the boat, and startled the occupants, they were a little confused on what had happened.
Mt Dad( Bill Hester) loved taking the men over to the Pub for the saturday night barbecue, and I remember many easter’s where around 12 pm, a noisy boat approaching the camp.


Bill Hester, in 1982 with his grandson, Marc, fishing on the banks of the Bemm River.

So from my family when I was married, when my children started reached 7 , I continued to now take them in the September Holidays to the Hester Camp , and this started  in  1978.
We also then in 1981,  started to stay to Cosy Nook, and meet with other friends who had young children are now still continuing to come to Bemm, not every year, but aprox every 2 year’s.

With one trip with the children, we were caught in a huge storm, that blew for 3 days with torrential rain.
I had to rig a tarp over back of boat on way across lake for shelter for the children.
There still talk about it as a great adventure.

There is a photo in the pub where my Brother Barry and myself brought Dad to Bemm, just 3 week’s before he passed away.
Don Cunningham took him out fishing, and is was a very memorable time.
We also took Dad to the camp where we originally stayed at, and as he tried to get out of the tinny, he tripped and fell into the wet sand, his words were, as he burst out laughing were, silly old bugger. If only my mate’s could see me now.
We all laughed and cried at the same time, Dad was unique.

The Family NamesI can remember of friends who came to the camp and Cosy Nook

  • > Hester( Wesburn, Lilydale)
  • > Whitford ( Orbost)
  • > Humphries ( Can River}
  • > Gale( Warburton/ Orbost}
  • > Stewart( Mornington)
  • > Norton { Tyabb}
  • > Murley( Western}
  • > Lang ( Wesburn)
  • > Hayward( Western)
  • > Grover ( Lilydale)
  • > May( Wesburn)
  • > Marley( Wesburn)
  • > Bannister( Balnarring}
  • > Bunevic ( Somers)
  • > Ferguson( Balnarring)
  • > Toohey ( Melbourne)
  • > Scott ( Lilydale)


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One of Marc & Barry in 1982, and the other of Ian a few years ago.


>My parents first came to Bemm in 1955 on the way home from Sydney, and booked accommodation for Xmas 1956 for two weeks.
>We stayed at Savorys which later became Deegans.
> I turned 11 a couple of weeks later, and I don,t think I have missed an annual visit since.
> I think some of the important features in helping the progress of Bemm River have been the road into Bemm, the road to Pearl Point, power and water to the town and a bag limit for Bream.
> Years ago when Jock had the pub, I can remember the lawn covered with fish. There were a lot of Bream, Perch and Luderick, what were people thinking of ?.
> At what we called the 3rd turn in on the track to Pearl Point was a rough shed and a water hole. There were groynes around the Lake below the road to Pearl Point.
> Mrs Jones had had the store on this road , but it was only open for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
> We used to wade out to the sandbar to pump sandworm, and then keep them between wet sacks. We fished for Perch around the snags in the River, and hired old wooden boats. We never went further up than the farm house. 

Webster Family History:

In around 1925 my father (j.d) at 10 years of age ,came to Bemm with my grandfather,John Tarlton Webster. In those days it took some time to get there because transport was by horse and buggy. In those days you had to bring the chaff and hay for the horse as well as the fishing gear. They would stay at the old pub, in the flats at the back, and the horse would be in the yard behind the pub. J.D always said that usually on a trip to the Bemm, he and his father would have a night fishing at the Tambo on the way up. My father loved Bemm River and all it stood for, hence his great interest in introducing third generation Rod Webster at 9 years of age.To this day Rod and wife Marg own a house in Bemm, and are there regularly.Fourth generation Simon Webster and son Bailey have just arrived home after a fishing trip last weekend.So a fifth generation Webster has just started his journey, and hopefully will enjoy it as much as the four before him.

       Rod with his father john (JD)                       Rod and Marg Websters son Andrew.


In 1969 J.D. bought the first boat,a Sydney built Caporn, which was a bond wood boat. Also at the same time our family bought a house on Sydenham Parade from John Cadwallader. My brother Paul aged 16 or 17 was with my father at Bemm, with the new boat,having been in the shed on the property for the last 6 months. The following morning I was on the property and got a call at about 6 am to tell me there has been a catastrophe, and the boat was on the bottom of the Bemm at our jetty. My brother Paul said they left the house early ,to stroll down to the jetty and on the way saw a plastic bucket and life jacket floating by,with oars.The webster's had never faced a problem like this before. The boat had dried out, and popped its rivets while in the shed. At this time I think my father may have had a different opinion about owning a boat!
Following a lot of help from Baden Hams (our water bailiff) the vessel was floated and the motor was dried out, and fishing commenced at about 4pm.
It's probably not a good idea to be buying your first boat at 54 or 55......but everyone lived happily ever after. Rod


Left>  Rod with Baby Simon on his              Right> Marg & Rod Webster after a
          first fishing trip.                                              great day fishing. Rod wearing 
                                                                                 his 2 pounder Badge.

Dave Morgan History:

I’m 77 and have been fishing since I could see over the gunwale of my Dad Bobs boat at about 3 years old.

I got introduced to Bream fishing about 50 odd years ago by my Uncle Ted. He was designing and building his own boat to go to this magic place called Bemm River.

However the first time I caught bream was at Shaving point on the Gippsland Lakes-I caught 12 in the early morning on worms from Bairnsdale while my Daughter aged 3 Months cried in a nearby Motel!

My wife at the time was impressed and I had a customer who was Headmaster at a Local school. He would go to the Bemm in school Holidays and stayed at Fellowes Bungalows.

On our first visit there we took a tent and camped beside a small Norfolk Island pine at Fellowes. Next morning I used bait I picked up on the way and having no boat I drove around to Morgan’s (no relation) farm with 2 rods which after wading out into Bobs Bay to knee depth managed to cast out as far as possible and rest the rods on a floating tire & screen which I later used to pump my own worms near the river entrance.

In short order I netted 4 good fish up to 2 lb!

Later on I purchased a multipurpose wooden boat and began exploring areas on the lake. Eventually I got good numbers of Bream and an elderly gentleman showed me how to find local crabs in muddy areas. These I cannot find now but produced good fish over 2 lb allowing them a long run before striking.


In those days I stayed in the big bungalow with my wife & 2 kids under school age hence we could go after the summer school holidays .There would only be 3 0r 4 boats on the lake. I fished from 6-9 am and would only keep fish over 1 1/3 Lbs with a maximum of 10 fish! I never had to pull the boat our daily and no gear was ever stolen-I even left the keys in my Mk 10 Jaguar!

The management at Fellowes had a daughter working at the Marlo Pub and no fish were being caught so I obliged with a few to help the management of the pub.

Being young we also used the boat for water skiing in other places. We did a couple of runs down the centre of the lake at midday and I think the locals were shocked so we would just take the 2 girls down to the entrance for swimming after lunch punching thru the Souwesterly, on  one occasion I caught a couple of nice whiting of the swimming spot.


Fishing was so good that I had to ring one of my Pharmacy mates. Tricky then as no Mobiles and only a weird Post Office.The lady plugged in a few brass cords & bingo I was thru! He was blown away but couldn’t come in February.

Then it all happened later on when the lake was full my Headmaster mate gave a report to fish straight into the reeds & go for it so 3 boats & 6 blokes made a long weekend arriving 1 am or so Saturday morning fished till Monday pm and donged them including some good sized Yellow Eye Mullet.

So we came at least twice a year especially when the fish were in the river spawning. As the years went by we had 2 record long weekends tallying 300 and 500 odd with a lot going back.

After getting tired of lighting our own stove/water heater we somehow we went from Bemm River Bungalows and Fellowes to excellent accommodation at Don & Di Cunningham’s.-We even had Country music after the ABC news Etc! Brilliant and even my Dad Bob came several times.



Much later I inherited Dads 19’ cabin boat and as the other guys drifted to Whiting fishing in Western Port Bay I came alone & could survive for 3 days-I even had a Baby Webber which I could swing out the side & cook anything. I am a great oyster lover & used to bring a few dozen from a mate in Narooma Lake. Both of these activities amused fisho’s down the entrance at “The Slips” as evening approached!

Unfortunately in recent years I have been living part time in Thailand where the fishing is pretty ordinary at best and trolling is impossible due to all the trash within a couple of miles and you have to swim thru plastic bags etc  in most places!

I am still going back & fourth to Thailand with my Thai daughter twice a year but now I look longingly at Montague Island as I play 12 holes of golf for exercise 2 or 3 times a week.

I drove to Bemm for a long weekend recently and chose the wrong one-Labour Day. The crowds stunned me but I saw that Boaties are still getting good fish. One reasonable only under the Jetty was all I could drum up so after hiding around the Community Centre which we got after many years I reluctantly departed. May not be the last time as around my Birthday the fish often come up the river and I may crack one or two at some old marks-this time as a Bankie!

I wish you all tight lines and only catch what you need –Tag and return the rest as I believe they spend all their life in this wonderful lake complex.

Warmly Dave Morgan


The Brown Clan

Family Name/Members…Brown – Frank (d. 1995) - his brothers Jim and Les, his son Rod – his grandchildren Matthew. Lainie, Kiera and Sebastian 

Frank and his brothers first came to the Bemm probably in the 1950s – his son Rod first came around 1960 Camping on the river banks in the early days or stayed at the Pub. Then Frank lived next door to Cosy Nook in the 1990s.

My first vivid memories of the Bemm were of camping by the river in a tent around 1962. Dad would leave Warragul with two of his mates and myself about 3pm on a Friday. He would have the XL Falcon towing a 16 foot timber boat with an inboard motor (Prefect). The boat would be loaded with a tea chest (full of tea, sugar, spices, cutlery, cooking gear etc) plus a 12’ x 12’ tent, poles, lanterns, rods, anchors, ropes, nets etc. It must have weighed at least 1.5 tonnes. The Falcon set off down the Prince’s Highway, usually stopping at Traralgon for some dry ice, and for VB longnecks at Bairnsdale. Steel cans came into vogue a couple of years later.

Dad’s travelling companions were usually Milton Orchard (very valuable because he could fix the bloody engine) and Eric Johnson while an assortment of others would rendezvous with us there on the river bank – Sam Cox (Warragul); my uncle Jim and his wife Olive (Warragul) and their sons Don and Col; my Uncle Les and his wife May (Trafalgar); Dad’s cousins Frank Brown (Dandenong – who often brought Perce Bentley of Carlton FC fame), Max Brown (Lilydale) and Stan Brown (Yallourn); Jack Cuthbertson (Drouin - owner of numerous saw mills in east Gippsland); Geoff Emmett (Frankston).

In those days, there could be 15-20 tents and caravans scattered along the river in busy periods, from the farmhouse down to the river mouth.

Anyway, throughout the1960s the Brown clan and their mates arranged their tents and vans in a cluster along the river. They talked about where they were biting, the best tackle and bait, who had caught what etc. They wouldn’t all be there simultaneously, but on some weekends there might be 12-15 of them. On the first night, there would be a BBQ of chops and sausages, followed by apple pie, beer and port around the campfire. The following night it would be fried bream. Eric Johnson would recite ‘The Man from Ironbark’ in a rich baritone voice – we kids were spellbound listening to Eric telling us about ‘gilded youths that sat along the barber's wall. Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all”

There was a gap in visits to the Bemm when Dad and Mum moved from Warragul to Strathmerton around 1970, and then Narooma and then Queensland. Mum died in 1975 and Dad stuck it out there until around 1985 when he returned to the Bemm. He boarded at the pub with the publican Barry Pigot (a bear of a man with a heart of gold), and then lived next door to Cosy Nook where he was always keen to host my cousin Geoff Carland and wife Jane, plus my sons and I, and sundry others from around Warragul, Moe etc. His great friends and neighbours were Don and Di Cunningham and they shared all sorts of agendas and stories, as well as a love of the Bombers. For a while there Dad’s TV was the only one in town that could pick up a TV signal, so his abode became a very popular spot on Saturday afternoons.

Dad died in 1995 and we don’t get back to the Bemm much anymore. But we will make an effort because of the marvellous memories and friendships we experienced there. The Cunningham family – Don, Di, Mark and Jane – have been one fantastic constant presence in all this time. They more than any other family have kept the Bemm on the map.

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Simon and Diana Papasavva 

We are the Papasavva Family we have been coming to Bemm River since 1989, I was only 12 years old when I came here with my parents, brothers, uncles, Aunties and cousins. We happened to find Bemm River only because there was no accommodation in Mallacoota. We are so grateful to have found this special place it has really given our families many found memories and some of the best fishing we have ever done.  When we first arrived at Bemm we stayed at Don and Di’s Cottage. I will always remember how welcoming they were to all of us. Bemm river is a very unique place I have been here nearly every single year since 89. We were very lucky to find this hidden Gem. As I got older I would come here with my friends, I have stayed at a few different places over the time, from Cosy Nooks to Alcheringa Lodge, at the caravan park, a couple of private homes and lately we have found residence at Mark and Janes accommodation. I started bringing my wife Diana here when we were just dating in 99 and Don would always comment about how long and bright her nails were and that she would be able to gut fish with them. We Came here by ourselves and with friends for a couple of years until the kids came along. Our kids have been brought up with Bemm River running through their blood they have always loved coming every year and refuse to miss one, they learnt all their fishing skills here and met some really great friends for life. I know they will bring their families here in the future. The fishing in the lake and the river has never let us down, I for many years only fished off the banks but found many great spots and always taken home enough fish to feed the troops. We also love fishing the surf beach, Pearl Point being our Favourite, kids have a ball playing the water while I chase the Salmon. 

We purchased boat a couple of years ago and now we move around the lake a bit. I love fishing in the entrance there is more chance of catching a different variety of fish. 

While we stay in Bemm we have also taken the opportunity to take a few day trips, that’s the beauty of this place you’re not far from other destinations. We love the fact that when we come to Bemm my family gets a chance to fully relax and the kids get to be kids, we will be coming here for many  more years to come. It’s our favourite family destination. I would recommend Bemm as the perfect family destination once you come you can’t leave.



Our family first came to Bemm about 1953, and stayed at the Caravan Park.
Dad was a member of the Richmond Angling Club, and I think that is when he discovered Bemm River.
We camped for three weeks at Xmas, and met up with Doug and Merle McDonald and their children Kay, Leonie and Peter. The Youls, David and sons Bill and John. The Brices,their daughter Deone,and son Lemme. We also met up with the Egans, and I only remember their daughter Sylvia. Mrs Jones ran the general store, and Jack Savoury and his mum sold bait and they lived on the top of the hill.
We stopped going about 1958, when dad had three major strokes. We went back with mums sister and her family in 1961. Dad died in 1964. My husband and l went camping to Bemm again in 1970, and again in 1976.
We went back again with friends in 2003, and it was then that we bought our first on site  caravan. About 2005 we bought another on site van ,for daughter Pauline her husband Drew McNiff and sons Nicholas, Aidan and Riley.
They are all fishing fanatics. We love Bemm for its great fishing, it's serenity, and almost pristine beauty, and last but not least all the great friendly people we meet in the park.
My daughter Cindy Smith, husband Rick, daughters Ellie and Sam also go down on a regular basis. The kids all have kayaks now, we also have a boat each.
One year in the early days, the Youls tent caught on fire , and they were lucky to escape.


(Margaret holding Jacinta + Dorothy at Pearl Point.

I also remember the old pub had a post office attached. In those days everyone had bond wood boats. At first we didn,t have a motor, and dad would row us over to the mouth. There were five of us in the boat, no life jackets, and most of us couldn't swim.
Once we got caught in a storm, and had to shelter in the hut (which is still there.) until what we called a launch came to our rescue us.Dad and my sister Marie took the boat home by going around the edge of the Lake.
One day mum was shelling peas whilst watching us swim, and a big black snake crawled over her hand.
We had many trips out to the surf. The road was just a sandy track, and it was quite common to get bogged.


Dad was a very good angler and caught many fish. Once we fed half the people in the camping ground on gummy shark. The falls were another great spot on a hot day.
We have been going to Bemm every Xmas, Easter and September since 2003. The grand kids were just toddlers when we first took them, and they are now teenagers. They are excellent fishermen, both fresh water and salt.
We are the 4th generation Bemm lovers despite it being a 5hour drive from home.
I have hundreds of photos, but only a couple from the early days.



(The McConachy clan ready for a day out in the boat.)

FAMILY.  Keith and Lenore McConachy ( mum and dad )
               Sisters. Margaret Marie, Kathleen and Jacinta. Dale and Dot ( me ) Eaves.

               Children.  Cindy, Nicole, Pauline and Kathryn.
               Grandchildren  Nicholas, Aidan and Riley Mc Niff Sam and Ellie Smith
                                           Tyler, Zac and Harry Green.

All have been to the Bemm. Youngest Maggie May Barr.


Colin Pardy  History 1986

I first came to Bemm in November 1986 and stayed at Cosy Nook Flats. I came with Jim Styles of the Albert Park Angling Club, to catch some good size Bream.
Some of the things I would like to see implemented, would be an extension to the boat ramp. Look after the Bream population, increase the minimum size to 30cms, and maybe a closed season in the river for a month, so as the Bream can spawn.

Chris Garnar History 1976

I first came to the Bemm in 1976 , and stayed in the Gazzebo at the caravan park.
I was introduced to the Bemm by Keith Flemming, and looked forward to some good  Bream fishing.
One of the unique features that has been critical to Bemm River has been the good all year fishing.
In the early days , we stayed at Fellows Cabins, then later at Cosy Nook, and then Rosie's . My friend Lance Medwin purchased a property where I stayed regularly up until recently. The last few times I stayed at Gordon's Bemm River Bungalows, and before that at Alcheringa Lodge with the  Western Port Angling Club .
The best fishing that I have experienced at Bemm River was after the floods that washed the bridge away. We caught Flathead , Bream , Luderick and Estuary Perch, all of which were a great size.


Stewart McEwen Family Story


My first trip to Bemm River was in the early 60,s with mum and dad, in the first Ford Falcon car. We stayed at Alcheringa  Lodge owned by Mr and Mrs Joe Hopkins.
We had no power, just a generator, a wood stove for cooking, and a kero fridge.
The trip in from the highway was slow, along a sandy and gravel road. We would hire a boat off Joe to fish the Lake. An old wooden boat with a single cylinder Blaxland engine that we started with a leather belt wrapped around the fly wheel.

On a trip back from surf fishing one day, we came across an old hermit carrying a bucket of water along the road near the beach. He was dressed in bib and brace overalls,and an old sports coat, and had a grey woolly beard and hair.
Arriving back at camp dad asked Mrs Hopkins about the old chap we had seen. Mrs Hopkins replied, that he lived in an old hut behind the dunes towards the entrance, was very independent, and received his supplies from the hotel.He would walk to the entrance and back each day, having a spell on a makeshift seat half way along.

On another trip to the Bemm we were coming out of Stratford  when we passed an old bloke riding a push bike, heading towards Melbourne. As we went past, I said to mum and dad that he looked like the hermit from the Bemm. Dads reply was, couldn't possibly be. When we arrived at the Bemm, Mrs Hopkins said "You didn,t happen to see the old hermit on a bike , did you?" I replied , he was at Stratford . She said he was making good time, he only left here yesterday morning. He was heading to Melbourne to buy a part for his old Ariel motor bike that was stored in a shed at Alcheringa Lodge. That was the last we ever saw of him.

In the early 70,s, dad and some mates planned a Bemm trip to fish the surf. It was fishing well, and I tagged along. We were staying at Alcheringa Lodge as per usual. When we arrived, we were told that there had been a lot of rain in the Bemm catchment. Not to be put off, over to the beach we went, having a great afternoon. That night the rain started to get very heavy. Before we knew it, the road was flooded, the bridge was gone at Cabbage Tree, and the highway bridge was washed away at Orbost. We were stranded at Bemm for a week. The kero fridge that we had, couldn't,t freeze the fish,so we had to throw them all away. When we finally got over to the beach, l can still remember looking out to sea, and seeing trees floating passed that had been washed out of the Snowy River. We made it out after a week, but could only get to Orbost.
Walked across a gang plank, and up to Newmerella to be picked up.  What a trip, and a week off school.

Stephen Smith Family Story

I first came to Bemm River in 1982. I stayed at Alcheringa Lodge in a pop top caravan.
I came because it was a remote place without the crowds, and the surf fishing.
A group of friends that had been going to Bemm, invited me to join them on their annual Queen,s Birthday weekend fishing trip.
Some of Bemm,s many features are Pearl Point for surf fishing, as well as the whale watching platform. The River fishing for land based anglers, the old Bemm River Hotel, and now the new one as a meeting

Matthew Landy Family Story

I first came to Bemm in the early 70,s and my family well before that. I stayed with my grandparents Laurie and Nancy Purse.
My grandparents took me to the house they had built in Sydenham Parade now owned by their son Hugh Purse.
I think the unique thing about Bemm is the River ecosystem, fresh water to ocean in such a short distance. It is fair to mention, that it is unspoilt from the source to the sea.
From the alpine environment at the source, to the sea , is very rare for any river in Australia, as there are only a few that fit this category. It must be good as my three Canadian friends Oliver Wolf, James Wilton and Kevin Smith keep saving their holidays to make the trek every few years, the beer is not too bad either.
In the early days , i know my grandparents knew the Morgan's, and Laurie was very friendly with the 3 "Barry" publicans of the day. Neighbours Jack Lidicote, and David and Barbara Scott were always in conversations, and Graham Gunsser was always,and still is lending a hand.
Laurie always had good relations with Gordon and Rose Fields, be it at the shop, or a gas delivery.
As I grew up Nancy and Laurie,s other grandchildren, the O,Connor family, Ben , Nick and Sam all came for holidays, and still do. The Cunningham family at Cosy Nook always had plenty of similar aged kids to fish with, and their son Mark always gave me a fishing lesson each time we ventured out. Some of Mark,s friends Darren and Bob used to join us on fishing trips, trying out new methods, and thinking outside the square was our thing. Now my kids, Lachlan so far and the O,Connor kids are all Bemm veterans of four or more tours. May the good times and  the traditions continue.





Fred Morris Family History.

Click Here for detailed early history of Morris Family (UPDATED VERSION)



Beryl & Bob King 1972

When we came to visit, the roads were rather rugged and a caravan with bread and milk came down on Tuesday to the ramp and they were from the Cabbage Tree Creek general store, Mr Brown we think his name was. .. You had to bring all your supplies with you as it was a rough drive back to Orbost and you did not want to waste time away from fishing.  Old Ted Deegan who owned the Bemm River flats at the time was a walking encyclopedia.,he had an old wagon with a loud engine noise so he kept the radio blaring, he did not like you complaining about it at all .  Bob used to shoot rabbits for him to eat and he took some money off our rent . Mind you those cabins were also pretty rugged in those days, you cooked on a one fire stove and  the shower had about two holes in it.  We did not care , we took our two children with us and they loved the place, Darren and Rod were about four and six when we first went there.  Darren is a member of BRAC and still loves fishing., he brings his three children to this place now...................................................................



Above Bob with two boys Darren  and Rod taken in about 1972 at Pyoot Bay


The original pub was rather a rugged place in those days as the Mill workers all came down to the watering hole and were a little rowdy, so not many women went in to the pub from the fishing fraternity..  We often went together with other people to the Bellbird Pub and they always had a roaring fire in the fireplace lots of food and a great night out.

Beryl and Stan Edwards were out fishing one day and noticed a boat bobbing about and went over and the poor man in it was dead,
Dad had to bring him in to the jetty and the police were contacted..Never heard anymore about the poor man.  Quite often Bob and I would come to the Bemm with Mum and Dad and we all fished, Dad had an old tinny and we loved it. 

 Bob with two boys Darren  and Rod taken on the jetty.

When anyone had a lot of fish to spare we would all gather around and put on a BBQ and anyone was welcome, wonderful days of friendship and sharing.
One time Bob and I and the two boys were over at the entrance fishing and young Rod was bitten by something and developed a nasty rash and was not well, so we would not have our holiday cut short Mum and Dad drove all the way from Melbourne to bring Rod home and look after him for us because they knew how important this holiday at the Bemm was for us.  Mum lived to 96 and Dad 91 and always talked about their time at the Bemm


The kiosk on the foreshore  early sixties


 Beryl King at Cosy Nook with a lovely Bream


Rick Tolsher's Story 1958.

I was a regular Bemm visitor for many years but mostly as day trips from Orbost as my grandparents Fred and Annie Savory owned Bemm River Bungalows which included the PO and general store. I was born in Orbost as were many of the Savory’s who still live there today. I have been back a number of times in recent years and am about to start my twice yearly fishing trips back to Bemm as I have recently retired. My mother is still alive and would have many stories to tell about her parents and the Bemm. The current owner of the bungalows Gordon Field would also be able to provide this info as he knew Fred very well.

My Grandfather and grandmother owned the bungalows along with the general store and post office. My grandfather built the bungalows as his retirement business in the late 1940’s. His name was Fred Savory and he was a sawmiller from Orbost. As a child we went to the Bemm many weekends. Of late I have only made 5-6 visits in the last 10 years. I have recently retired and about to resume my regular annual fishing trips. I was born in Orbost so still have relo’s there.