By MICK ROBERTS.
FIFTY five years after the death of her husband, Irish hotelier Johanna Ryan was finally reunited with her spouse Michael, laid to rest beside him in the Catholic section of Australia’s largest cemetery. The year was 1956, and the grand old landlady, who ruled her pubs with an iron fist for over four decades, was no more.
This is the untold story of Thirroul’s own ‘iron-lady’, a hotelier, mother, and entrepreneur, who lived most of her long life as a widow, and who left Thirroul, the Ryan’s Hotel.
At the grand old age of 94, Johanna Ryan died upstairs in the Surry Hills Commonwealth Bank building at the corner of Crown Street and Lansdowne Road on August 2 1956. She was being cared for by her daughter Frances, the wife of bank manager, Vincent McDonogh.
The retired hotelier’s heart had finally given-up. She was buried at Rookwood, where her elaborate headstone sits today under the sprawling branches of a Camphaloral tree.
Read the full story at the Looking Back website.