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History: Looking Back

This category contains 15 posts

Looking Back: Urwins and the Headlands Hotel

By MICK ROBERTS. IN the days when the two big breweries ruled the liquor industry, owning most of New South Wales’ hotels, and ‘tying’ clubs and pubs to exclusive beer sales, Bob and Lurline Urwin made quite a name for themselves as trouble-shooting temporary managers for one of Australia’s most successful – Tooheys Limited. Born … Continue reading

Looking Back: Timber mill closure end of an era

MORE than a century of sawmilling at Bulli has come to an end with the closure of Molloy’s Timber Yard. Austrian-born cabinetmaker Gunter Grafenauer operated Molloy Timber with his wife, Pamela, for 38 years before shutting the business for good in May 2013. The Molloy Street business will be redeveloped into a large industrial complex. … Continue reading

Looking Back: Coal miners established oldest club

By MICK ROBERTS. ALTHOUGH Helensburgh Workmen’s Club began trading on shaky grounds it has survived to become the Illawarra’s oldest operating registered club. Born from a dispute with the town’s two publicans, the Helensburgh and Lilyvale Workmen’s Club was established by a group of coal miners in 1896. Complying with a request from the village’s … Continue reading

Looking Back: The Bulli Railway Bus

By MICK ROBERTS. PUBLIC transport has moved forward in leaps and bounds since Lance Brown drove the Bulli railway bus in 1927. Lance was one of the Illawarra region’s early bus drivers and revealed his memories in a 2003 Looking Back story in the Northern Leader. Living at Tarrawanna, he was 93 at the time. … Continue reading

Looking Back: Coaching the sea cliffs

By MICK ROBERTS. THE eagerly awaited arrival of the railway to the Illawarra awoke the world to what is known today as Lawrence Hargrave Drive and its scenic splendour, altering what was a coastal bush track from a quiet local thoroughfare into a busy main road linking Sydney to Wollongong. Soon after the opening of … Continue reading

Looking Back: Riley’s Thirroul wine saloon

By MICK ROBERTS. AFTER last drinks were called at Thirroul’s Ryans Hotel, in the days of the “Six O’clock Swill”, swards of men would trudge down the road to Riley’s wine saloon. The wine bar, on the corner of The Esplanade and Lawrence Hargrave Drive, hit its peak in popularity during the 1920s and 30s … Continue reading

Looking Back: The Chamberlains and the Bulli jetty

By MICK ROBERTS. PETER Chamberlain has vivid memories of his dad telling him yarns about working on the Bulli Jetty. His father George and Grandfather Arthur Chamberlain earned a living as bridge and wharf contractors moving around the country in search of work early last century. George was born in Richmond Victoria in 1893, the … Continue reading

Looking Back: A Hotel Dynasty

By MICK ROBERTS. OFTEN overlooked in the pages of history, women played a central role in the day to day functioning of inns and hotels. The wives of the region’s pioneering publicans were often young and their duties were physically demanding. Husband and wife teams rarely could afford to employ staff and as their children … Continue reading

Looking Back: A story of war, love and two mining towns

By MICK ROBERTS. AN HONOUR roll in Corrimal Uniting Church – not unlike memorials in community halls all around Australia – has revealed a tragic love story that spanned the globe. The tablet lists 21 local men from the church who served in the Great War, with one name, however, remaining a mystery to local … Continue reading

Looking Back: The Lost Village

By MICK ROBERTS. A FEW rusted corrugated water tanks scattered amongst the leftovers of English ornamental gardens, stone walls and twisted barbed wire are all that remain of the pretty little village of Sherbrooke on Bulli Mountain. The settlement, a couple of kilometres west of the summit of Bulli Pass, is no more – given … Continue reading