Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Clermont Guesthouse

‘Clermont Guesthouse’ was built in 1929 at Reddall Parade, Lake South by Mr. RW Harradine who had grand views of turning the area into a major holiday destination.

‘Clermont’ included 40 accommodation rooms and a dance floor. The Lake Illawarra Progress Association which formed the same year as the guesthouse held many dances and social functions there, as well as church services.

Carlene Coulter, the great niece of Bob and Esther Harradine, owned tablecloths from the waterfront guesthouse. Carlene’s father was the pick up driver for the guests and would drive people from the station at Dunmore to the lake.

The centre of ‘Clermont’ contained a dining room which became a dance hall when needed. It had a small stage and a pianola. Off the dining room was the kitchen, with copper sinks and a commercial stove. The washing up area was referred to by the kids as the dungeon. The guesthouse also had a billiard room on one side and a fernery at the back. On the other side were the lounge room and the bedrooms.

The guesthouse had a large L-shaped verandah with views across the lake. Washing was done in the coppers and wrung out in huge mangles large enough to fit the sheets.

‘Clermont’ was demolished in 2002.

At the request of Tongarra Heritage Society, Shellharbour City Council conducted an archival recording of the building before it was pulled down.

Clermont Guesthouse, Lake Illawarra South
Clermont Guesthouse, Lake Illawarra South 1929
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Fishing boats moored at Lake Illawarra South
Fishing boats moored at Lake Illawarra South c.1930
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Lenore Hughes on horse
Lenore Hughes on a horse near Clermont. c.1930-1940
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Leon Cicolini outside Clermont Guest House.
Leon Cicolini outside Clermont Guesthouse 1958
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lily McGill

The following story is taken from Tongarra Tales by Jack Martin, published by the Tongarra Heritage Society Inc, 2005.

Archibald and Margaret McGill lived under the mountain cliffs in between Yellow Rock and Tongarra and in 1883 their family was struck with tragedy when four of the children lost their lives to diphtheria - they were aged from three to eight years and died within nine days of each other.

Lily McGill was one of the McGill’s surviving daughters. After the death of Archibald in 1915. Lily and her brother Harold carried on the farm for a number of years. When Lily's mother Margaret died in 1935 Lily took over the farm. She lived by herself in the home, milking a number of cows by hand and had a lonely and isolated life. Lily only went into town at Albion Park when she had to do business or to buy supplies.

During the 1930s Lily relied on the State Boys to help her on the farm. Farmers could apply to the Welfare Office and be allotted a boy to assist with the farm work.

Sometimes Lily would ride down the mountain and do the hand washing for Mrs. Couch who lived at ‘Wairanga’ farm at Yellow Rock Road when she was not well.

On the farm Lily would hand milk the cows by herself, catch her old draught mare, harness the horse, hook her to the slide and lift one or two cans of heavy milk onto the slide before driving down the mountain to meet the lorry at Yellow Rock, which would take the milk to the factory.

During the Second World War Lily was the only person living at Yellow Rock mountain on the western side. According to local farmer Jack Martin, Lily was a strange figure - very tall, thin and wiry in her old clothes and she always carried a stock whip.

Isolation never seemed to affect her. As she got older in the 1950s she left the farm and came to live at Albion Park, opposite Centenary Hall.

Lily was the only person Jack knew who could germinate an Illawarra Flame Tree, and used to grow them in old jam tins for her friends.

Lily McGill riding with the Foran Family at Green Mountain, Yellow Rock
Lily McGill riding with the Foran family at Green Mountain, Yellow Rock c.1930-1940
Shellharbour Images Shellharbour City Libraries

 'Wairanga', home of the Couch family at Yellow Rock.
Tongarra Museum collection.

Kiama Family History Centre Expo

If you love all things history, join the Kiama Family History Centre for their History Expo 12 April 2014, Bong Bong Road, Kiama. Should be a great day!!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Chambers Bakery

The Chambers family moved to Lake Illawarra in 1932. Mr. Chambers was a baker and a bakery had come up for sale in the area. The family came down from Sydney by car. The bush was much thicker then, and they only passed six cars in between Sutherland and Bulli Pass. They came through Unanderra and Dapto as there was no bridge over Lake Illawarra.

The family purchased the bakery and living quarters as well as a small general store from the owner Mrs. Ballentine.  In the tourist season thousands of campers would be served at the bakery but off season the Chambers family would service only the locals. There were 12 or 14 families living around Lake South at that time.

The Chambers would deliver bread to Oak Flats, Marshall Mount, Albion Park and Albion Park Rail. Deliveries for their general store came from Davis and Penny in Wollongong.  The flour for the bread came by train to Albion Park Rail. Fred Graham brought it across to Lake South by truck when he delivered milk from the Co-op in Creamery Road, Albion Park Rail. They also bought their butter and ice from the Co-op. A green grocer delivered fresh fruit and vegetables from his truck as did the local butcher.

Bread deliveries were made three times a week; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. All bread was made by hand and baked in the wood oven.

In 1943 on the night of the Cities Service Boston shipwreck when the area was at the mercy of a ferocious storm, the Chambers Bakery had sand five feet up the windows from the sandhills and the family couldn't get out of the door. The heavy machinery that was being used to construct the airstrip at Albion Park Rail was used to excavate the sand around the bakery and house.

When Mr. Albert Orange sold his famous California guesthouse at Oak Flats the Chambers family purchased it, and transported the guesthouse board by board over to Lake South where they rebuilt it. Mr. Chambers then sold the land at Oak Flats.

Chambers Bakery 1943
Chambers Bakery 1943.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.
Chambers Bros Bakery delivery van
Chambers Bros Bakery Deliver Van c.1940
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

Tom and Beulah Chambers
Tom and Beulah Chambers c.1950. Beulah was one of the first females to deliver bread in Shellharbour.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries
Chambers Bros Bakery delivery van
Chambers Bros Bakery Deliver Van c.1940.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.