We thought you might like a trip down memory lane. Each month we will bring you the ‘Sawtell That Was’ page. We are honoured to have Terri Beckhouse from the Sawtell Historical Society share lots of interesting history with us each month. Terri and President Pam Worland have a wealth of knowledge of the Sawtell of old and volunteer at the Sawtell Historical Museum, which is just inside the caravan park, next to reception. It’s well worth a visit, and if you’re into history, they would love some more volunteers down there.
You can read her first column, which is about the Main Street, on page 30 or we have included a copy of it below.
Meanwhile, we have found this issue of the Sawtell Guardian from exactly 50 years ago.
This was published by the Sawtell Chamber of Commerce and the editor was Nan Sanders. It was printed in Bellingen. On page one, there’s a report from the Pensioners Association (I think, or maybe it’s the Progress Association), stating they had had a good attendance at their local meeting “where matters of vital importance were discussed.’ Also, “loud applause greeted the announcement that Mr A.J. Blenkin (Chemist) had donated another large sum of money to the funds. This was the second donation Mr Blenkin had made in two months. The first was $13 and the second was $10.“ Concerns were voiced about the Reserve Hall being demolished because a councillor had stated, “It has outlived its usefulness”. I love how the darts at the Sawtell Bowlo made it to the front page, but hang on, there’s another darts game on at the “Imperial”. Both on the front page. Interestingly enough, there was a housing shortage in the area back then too. There was also some quite descriptive complaints that the garbage collectors were leaving a mess.
Page two highlighted a poem by Owen Meredith, a Kooking Korner (sic), some information about the Girl Guides, a special section devoted to Bonville covering Rotary, the CWA, Sunday School, the Primary and High School bus run, and some news on the local teachers. There was a brand new Woman’s Column where the lady discusses her concerns of “The Shire” being overdeveloped in the next two years.
Page three was the classifieds with some familiar names. One advertisement invited you to visit the Golden Pick behind the Shell in Boambee. But probably the most exciting thing on this page was Christine Mosely’s twenty-first birthday party at the Sawtell Masonic Hall. “It was a very friendly and gay occasion, and it could safely be said that a good time was had by all.” Does anyone know Christine? We hope she had an equally enjoyable 71st birthday this month.
Page four held the Bowling Belles’ Bulletin, where the ladies from the Sawtell Women’s Bowling Club invited all women from 18 to 80 to join them for afternoon tea. There was a report from the Coffs Harbour & Districts Junior Tennis Association with Keith Austin and Bruce Jenkins being elected Vice Presidents. We’re not sure who the president was. The registration for the full year of tennis was set at 30c per player, but if you participated in a tournament or a competition match, you had to pay an additional 20c. Vic Hardaker’s band was playing at the RSL, and Dorrigo were coming down for the Joe Hill Shield, not sure what sport that was. Does anyone know? I couldn’t find anything on google. We love reading all the old history and look forward to bringing you more.
We hope you have enjoyed this month’s Sawtell that Was. If you have a story you would like to share, please send us an email. Our details are on page 3 of Sawtell News. Pages reproduced from Trove http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-title1346
First Avenue followed the crest of a large sand dune - where it bent awkwardly near the hotel, it is simply following the winding of the dune.
As part of the subdivision requirements, Ossie Sawtell had to build a bridge over Chinaman’s Creek (now called Middle Arm Creek). This provided much easier access to the village and the reserve.
The Reserve was such a popular holiday spot that this allowed shop keepers easy access to tourists and vice versa. The first shop on First Avenue was a bakery built by Ossie Sawtell at a cost of £50 ($100).
David Kidd was the baker. This was also the first wooden building in the Avenue. The bricks for the oven were made by Mr Vickery at his brickyard situated opposite the Railway Station. The site for the bakery is 13 First Avenue and it is believed some parts of the oven still exist.
Ossie Sawtell had built his first home from bags and hessian on the eastern side of the road. A similar dwelling was also built for a family named Smith. The Post Office was moved from the Reserve to the Avenue in 1926. Mrs Margaret Johnston was the first Post Mistress. In 1927 Mr Charlie Finch built two shops. He was a chemist, dentist and unofficial doctor to the village. He also built next to his shops a large hall where the cinema stands now at 25 First Avenue.
Fred Cockbain built a boarding house close by. In 1926 Sunday School was conducted in the dining room by Granny Shaw. In 1927 a Chamber of Commerce was formed. It was at this time that the Avenue was properly created. Then a median strip was installed and planted with shrubs and trees. Local resident Win Hulbert (daughter of Dave Kidd)can remember playing ‘chasies’ around the trees. The idea of the trees was to stop the sand blowing into the estuary facing stores.
It was thought at the time that Sawtell would become the ‘Manly of the North Coast’. Bonville Reserve was to become the recreational suburb of the more vigorous. Unfortunately there was little property evident in the area around this time. The Depression of the 1930s was looming. Most of the buildings were little more than shacks which were inexpensive to build and could be rented cheaply.
By this time though, many services were available to the locals and tourists. They included petrol stations, butcher, paper shop, as well as the chemist and baker. By 1930 First Avenue could provide locals and tourists their everyday needs. - Terrie Beckhouse
Fun fact: Ossie named the streets of Sawtell after the avenues of New York, and obviously, the town after himself.