Many of us have heard of this bay, and seen it as we pass over the Harbour Bridge.
The name Lavender Bay conjures up mental visions of a sweet-smelling flower; however, the naming of this bay was far from sweetness.
In the later part of the 1780s a Royal Navy ship, the HM Bufallo, made a navigation error and ran onto the well-marked Sow and Pigs rocks at the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
The accident broke the back of the ship and she was condemned as unseaworthy; however, another use was found for the ship as a prison hulk.
She was anchored in a deserted bay, now known as Lavender Bay, and the former proud naval warship received prisoners who were considered to be uncontrollable. Aboard, they would await transportation to the dreaded Norfolk Island.
Soon after she was anchored, a convict was appointed as coxswain to the hulk. His special job was to transfer convicts from the hulk to a waiting ship sailing to Norfolk Island. His name was George Lavender. He was trusted and performed his work with due diligence for many years, finally earning his Ticket-of-Leave. Like so many others he was last heard of owning a pub.
So, when next you are passing over the Bridge, think not of the pleasant scene, but ponder on that ghost ship that once lay there.
(Another from the series of articles by Don Coulter for the Abbotsford Cove Community Association.)