Prior to the arrival 150 years ago of Twofold Bay’s first ·customs officer Hugh Hammon Massie, entries regarding arrivals and departures at the local port were made in Sydney. Initially Massie operated from East Boyd, a vantage point from which no vessel could arrive in Twofold Bay undetected. After construction of the Customs House on Lookout Hill in 1848, Massie moved his station to Eden where the office remained until being closed down almost sixty years later.
Plans for the Customs House were approved in August 1848, and the construction contract was won by George Paton, Murdock McCoy and Duncan Campbell. As described by local author H. P. Wellings, the Customs House “was built of locally made brick with expensive cedar work. Commanding an uninterrupted view of the harbour, it had six rooms, an imposing entrance hall and large grounds, in which there was a smaller cottage. The Sydney Morning Herald in 1856, however described the building as “far in advance of the requirements of the place”.
In 1904, after much discussion about the expense of the branch, the Eden office was closed down and the Customs House sold. After use as a private home by several owners, the building was demolished in 1961 to make way for a bulk oil terminal.
Image: Australian Customs Service Historical Collection