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Boarding-House Ladies


In 1921 there were three Boarding Houses on Bribie Island all situated in Banya Street, Bongaree.

Running a boarding-house at Bongaree wasn’t easy 100 years ago and the women who welcomed guests, disembarking from the Steamships three times a week, certainly didn’t have the mod-cons we have today.

Electricity and mains water didn’t arrive until 1953 and 1961 respectively, so Mrs Bridget Davies of Glan-y-Mor, like her counterparts in Carlton House (Mrs Davis) and Rosevilla (Mrs Stone) made do with a wood-stove for cooking and tank or bore water for drinking and laundry. No washing machine or dryer and no electric iron to take the creases from the tablecloths and pillow slips. Kerosene lamps or candles lit the houses at night. Glan-y-Mor was a family concern and Bridget was helped by her husband Robert, her twin daughters, Lily and Rose and son Bob.

Glan-y-Mor’s speciality was morning and afternoon teas in the Novelty Garden, clipped from the Bribie Pines. With ice only delivered three times a week on SS Koopa Mrs Davies couldn’t do without local storekeeper Artie Bestmann delivering fresh milk and cream from his little dairy. Lunch and dinner was communal on long tables served in the outdoor, netted dining room - usually fresh fish and oysters. Little market gardens flourished on the island to cater for the salads, vege and desserts. Glan-y-mor planted pineapples, a new crop for the district. Guests though welcomed Bridget’s renowned Pea and Ham soup which gave her guests a change from fish dinners.

There were no ensuites in the houses as indoor plumbing was not available, so family and guests used bathrooms and outhouses situated in the garden. Each room though would have had a lovely ceramic basin and jug and mirror for a quick wash or shave. All the Boarding-house ladies advertised that visitors could rely on every comfort and attention with superior accommodation and well-kept tables.

The houses weren’t large, like the boarding-houses at Sandgate but they were advertised as being able to lodge 18 guests at Glan-y-Mor, 25 at Carlton House and 13 at Rosevilla.

Woorim's first guest-house was built in 1926 by the Tug Company as a kiosk and dance hall but soon was advertising rooms for people who wanted to stay at the Ocean Beach.  In 1937 the guest house had to be moved back from its location, close to the beach, as the dunes were building up around it. Dorothy Shirley was managing the "Ocean Beach Guest House" during the time it was transformed by the addition of a second storey with upstairs allocated as bedrooms and downstairs incorporating a booking office, Post Office, shop and large dining room which was used at times for dances. On the east side of the top floor was a sundeck which was very popular.  The guest house was used by the military during the war but was back in operation by 1946 but only a couple of years later, in 1949, it burnt down and never replaced.

Written by Lynne Hooper from information sourced from the BIHS database.

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