Moruya and District Historical Society travels back to the 1940s.
It’s time to jump back in our time machine and touch down in the mid 1940s, Moruya’s “Golden Years” of the granite quarry are over.
During The War years men had been stationed at the Aerodrome at North Head with many billeted with families in town.
Again we land on Mullenderree just near the Criterion Hotel, a two storey timber building with verandahs facing the river on both storeys each over 100 feet in length and having wrought iron railings.
Locals tell us the story of a family of pigs who were washed down stream in the 1925 flood.
They found their way upstairs as the flood waters rose and stayed put until it was safe to come down again.
But we have a problem! It is just like the first time our time machine visited – there is no bridge! It has been washed away by the 1945 flood.
We don’t have to swim our horses across this time – there is a ferry or we could go back to Larry’s Mountain Road and take the back roads through Kiora and reach Moruya that way.
A lot of heavier traffic have to do this including transports and milk truck taking milk through to the Horlicks factory at Bomaderry near Nowra.
We elect to go across on the ferry and we are once again in Vulcan Street.
We decide to walk up the western side of the street and return on the eastern side.
First there are a couple of old houses, then a barber’s shop, ladies hairdressers and dress shop.
Then comes a café owned by the Filmer family, then a lane way leading up to the Convent and Catholic School.
Next comes the brown brick building of the Commonwealth Bank. (Still there but no longer the bank).
We find that Keating’s Moruya Hotel has burnt down a couple of years ago. Such a pity as it was quite striking when we visited in the 1920s. A temporary bar has been set up in the old stables at the back and nicknamed the Air Raid shelter
On the corner of Church and Vulcan Streets is Irving’s garage. Across Church Street is a Stock and Station Agency and then the granite building of the Bank of NSW. We’ve seen this before.
Next comes an empty block with some sheds. The Court House looks as good as when we saw it last. The police station and lock-up are around the corner in Queen Street.
Crossing Queen Street we find Mylott’s have a lovely new shop and bakery. The shop has black tiles and leadlight windows. (Now the Commonwealth Bank).
We find that Keating’s Moruya Hotel has burnt down a couple of years ago. Such a pity as it was quite striking when we visited in the 1920s. A temporary bar has been set up in the old stables at the back and nicknamed the Air Raid shelter, shortened to the Air Raid. (Name is carried on in the “Air Raid Bar” in the rebuilt hotel.)
The little park next door has a fence around it with a path through to Campbell Street and a turnstile at each of the path to keep any stray animals out.
Across Campbell Street is Flood and Gillett’s Garage. (Now the site of the Eurobodalla Shire Offices). And so we come to the “Pink Gates” still painted pink and still the entrance to “The Park”, the racetrack and Show ground. It has a football field where locals strongly support their teams.
As we look to the east we see the South Head Road and we are pleased to get a glimpse of “Braemar’ Homestead.
Now we turn around and start back on the eastern side. The first couple of paddocks are low lying and swampy. The locals tell us the circus would sometimes set up its big top here when it came to town, but it is not here today. Then there are a couple of little shops, Faraday’s dry cleaners and Jack Woods’ shoe repairs. The old Amusu Theatre is still there but not receiving much use. (Later Emmotts Furniture Department, now Silly Willy’s).
A new picture theatre is up in Queen Street called the Orion. It shows talking movies. A fuel depot is next and then a block of shops extending to the Queen Street corner. First in these is a dwelling with cream render on the outside. Next were some shops including a Donnelly’s butcher’s shop, Koellner’s sporting goods and radio repairs shop, and right on the corner Garney Chewing’s shop selling greengroceries, ice cream, cigarettes, lollies. These shops are clad with lovely blue tiles.
Across Queen Street is Emmotts Store and the residence, followed by Woodbridge, the solicitor. The Commercial Bank is still there. Michel and John Nader have a men’s wear shop next with Ernie Chesher’s shoe shop. Clarrie Chesher has a grocery shop next.
We stop off at the next shop which is the Red Rose Café. We think we deserve a treat so some of us have banana splits while others chose ice cream cake and caramel sauce. (Red Rose, remodelled but still there). There is still an hotel on the site of the old Commercial which we visited on previous occasions. It was built by Mr King and renamed the Monarch.
Mrs Ware has a gift shop on the corner of Vulcan and Church Streets while Mr Ware runs the old Weatherby Chemist shop. There is a fruit and vegie shop run by the Norman family, a barber’s shop and Mrs Nader’s shop. Then comes the newsagency run by the Johnson family and later Allan and Marie Stormon. Price’s Café is next and then the Adelaide Hotel, looking much the same as when we saw it last.
Now we are back at the bridge but before we leave we would like to check out a few of the old buildings. The Catholic, Wesleyan, (now called Methodist), and Church of England churches all have substantial impressive granite or brick buildings. The Presbyterian is still of timber.
In Page Street there are two halls, the Mechanics Institute and the Masonic. There are two schools, the public, now called the Central School which goes to the Intermediate Certificate, and St Mary’s Convent School.