Country Pubs in the 1930s Part 5

Last year I wrote about the times during the 1930s when my sister Mione and I with our parents stayed at Hotels whenever we travelled out of Mallacoota for visits to Doctors and dentists. It was mostly to Bega and Brady’s Commercial Hotel left a great impression on me. I have fond memories also of Narooma…

We loved staying at Lynch’s Hotel at Narooma. In a publication printed in the 1926 era (which incidentally thanks the Government Tourist Bureaux Of NSW for illustrations) states that the owner was Imelda. M. Lynch and the phone number was Narooma Phone 1 which I guess proves that hotels were the first established business in most country towns. At the same time the Post Office Hotel in Cobargo had ‘Vincent T. Welsh, Proprietor.’ Mr Welsh was always known as Barney and his wife, Eileen was a sister of Miss Lynch and also of Mrs Hyland who had the other Narooma Hotel. Later, Mr. and Mrs Welsh moved to the Moruya Hotel with the intention of going from there to a Canberra Hotel. Their eldest daughter Mary (Mrs Lloyd Cocks, Eden) who most will remember from the years when she was a well known South Coast Shire Councillor, tells the story that her mother was at a hairdressers in Sydney, and picking up a city newspaper, she saw in large leiters on the front paper, ‘Pulp Mill for Eden.’ There and then she made the decision that they would move to Eden and the Welsh family operated The Great Southern Inn for many, many years. It seems difficult to visualise that Eden’s timber industry was first planned so long ago in those early 1930s.

Back to Lynch’s Hotel, I think it was 1938, that I remember hearing the radio broadcast from England of the Australian/English Cricket Test. Although I recall being too sleepy to be very interested in it, I do remember that people were coming in droves to listen to it. I guess few people had a wireless (as we called them) in those days.

When Les Greer, Owen Allan, Albert Greer and our Dad, Hugh Brady purchased a truck and formed the Mallacoota Salmon Company, Dad carted the salmon from here and the Wonboyn Lake. The Eden Cannery had not been established so they were taken to the one at Narooma. It became more practical for us to move to Narooma. where we altended school. We children were always intrigued at the way the sea gulls invaded the grounds at lunchtime. That never happened in Mallacoota, our gulls lived off the lake and ocean and had not learnt the art of scavenging.

The Princes Highway wound it’s way through Tilba Tilba in those years and Dad would always stop so we could view the Rock Orchids (we called them Rock Lilies) growing on the granite rocks on the hills in and around Cobargo. I wonder if they are still there?

When we lived at Narooma, it was in a small cottage owned by a most wonderful gentleman, Mr. Joyce whose family owned a guest house at the top of the hill looking back towards the bridge. The house was on the Flat and the river beach opposite was our playground. Now it is occupied by East’s Caravan Park. (When I was working at Port Kembla in 1945 one of my train travelling companions, was a member of the East family and his parents had just commenced a caravan park at Kiama -that park eventuated into a chain of them down the South Coast.) Mr Joyce visited the cottage regularly to tend the garden. He grew wonderful beds of Linarias and Nemesias and worried constantly about the ‘war clouds’ looming over Europe and wondered about the future for our children. I guess we still do!

One afternoon we children went with :our parents as they attended a meeting for the Fishing Industry. I remember that the hall was packed, with everyone listening intently to the speakers from Sydney. Particularly to one man who had not long returned from a business trip to Europe. He spoke enthusiastically of the technical progress of that Continent and a sample of material which he had brought back from Germany was handed around. I, too was allowed to feel it and silently agreed with those around me that it was made from wool. Everyone seemed amused when told it was manufactured from ‘wood’ and perhaps in the distant future could be a threat to our wool industry. “Never” was the unanimous reaction. It was my first glimpse of synthetic material! Little did we know how that industry would evolve

Not all my memories of living in Narooma were happy ones as it was there that I nearly lost my life. Narooma is noted for it’s spotted gums and Burrowang palms, the latter produces a fruit somewhat like a green pineapple. Cattle avoid them as they are poisonous. Anyway one day Mione and I decided to cut one in half, with typical childhood curiosity we wanted to see if it really did look like a pineapple. Whether I .Iater used the knife, I do not know but Dr Fox fought desperately to save my life as I remained delirious for days. As I gradually recovered, it was Miss Lynch who sent down all kinds of delicacies to tempt me to eat. She even sent mea framed photo of Narooma’s famous ‘hole in the rock’ to help cheer me up. Not only was she a wonderful and capable business woman she had compassion for all those she met along the way.

Leone Pheeney

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