Our Mother loved our stop over in Eden as her family came from Nethercote and with her four siblings had spent many happy occasions there. Their farm “Edendale” has now been subdivided. Her father had bought it on the recommendation of her mother’s uncle, Leo Sheehy who owned Boydtown Inn at that time and the inn was often visited by the family. Leo Sheehy was the founder of the Magnet Newspaper in 1908 which was named Twofold Bay Magnet. We travelled to Bega with Dick Edwards; his passenger service became an institution in the following decades. On leaving Eden someone would inevitably say “We’re leaving the garden of Eden, Palestine is over the hilL” The hamlet so named lost it’s title some years ago. (In those days the Princes Highway took us through the town of Wolumla.) In Pambula, as we travelled down Roan Horse Hill, Mum would catch us up on family history, pointing out the beautiful old home on the left hand side of the road where her cousins, the Teers lived. It is now known as’ The Grange.’ On the right hand side along the flat was a little cemetery, (the post and rail fence can be seen) where our Great-Grand parents, James and Bridget Egan were buried. The Egans came from Cork, Ireland and were stone masons involved in the building of many of the early homes in Eden. Early photos of Eden also show the Egan bullock teams and when in 1928, Isaac Warren in the Ketch, “Nell” laid the telegraph cable to Gabo Island, an article in the Magnet, records Bob Egan’s bullocks took the line and hauled the cable ashore towards Howe Range.
I recall the time we stayed at the Top Hotel in Pambula it was a worrying occasion as Mione had scalded her foot and needed medical attention. At night the unfamiliar thumping sound from the town’s electric light plant, a generator situated across from the Hotel at the garage was certainly heard until about midnight. It is hard to believe in this day and age that towns were reliant on generators, and I remember my late husband, Rod saying that the one in Eden only supplied the immediate shopping area. Brown’s Cafe owned by Jim Woods was a favourite place to visit.
Bega was a thriving town when as children we stayed there. If the Far South Coast was known as ‘The Land of Milk and Honey’ Bega was indisputably it’s Capital. Eden, Merimbula, Tura and Pambula Beach hadn’t been boosted by tourism. Nearing Bega, on the hills, we would watch for the much defined ‘fairy rings’ apparently they were caused by fungi, the brown rings most distinct from a distance. There was something else to watch out for also, the advertisement for Otton’s cordials those delicious drinks which were a special treat. The sign was in the shape ofa huge bottle on the side of the Highway. Perhaps it was the forerunner of the Big Banana, Big Pineapple and so on.
The 1930s was an exciting time for Bega it had a regular air service to Sydney, via Moruya. Later in the 1940s it was operated by Butler Transport company. In the early years the landing strip was on private property on Jellat Flats but I can only remember when the aerodrome was visible from the Highway on the left hand side in the vicinity of Frogs Hollow. In the 1930s Bega had an established modern Butter Factory, Stafford’s Brick Works at Tathra and the Bega District News which had in the 1920s incorporated the two other newspapers of the time. I remember the excitement when in 1937, the commercial radio station. 2BE was officially opened. Bega meant great excitement for we children.