Canowindra was well endowed with pubs and clubs. The town had four pubs and three clubs and also two wine and spirit merchants (mine being Canowindra Wine and Spirits, plus Finns – maybe Western Stores as well) also licenses for the show races and trots so no wonder there were a lot of resident pisspots around the town.
The hotels were;
The Hotel Canowindra with its delightful Spanish style architecture (built and operated by Bob Duncan and family (prominent was Carmen Duncan and Paula Duncan who went on to be a well known TV actors for some years so I’m told).
The Royal Hotel operated for some years by the O’Briens who had two very attractive daughters (would-be suitors were discouraged by Mother O’Brien who could fell a Roman warrior with one stare).
The Victoria Hotel (operated by Harry (“Dusty”) Rhodes with its spacious bar area.
and the Junction Hotel – operated for many years by Reg Garforth. The Junction served beautiful draught beer as was evidenced by the great crowd of drinkers who breasted the bar every afternoon. If someone ordered a lemon squash the very arrogant Reg would tell them if they wanted a squash.
“Go down to the bloody Cafe!”
Canowindra had four banks: Commonwealth (Federal Government owned); Rural (State Government owned); ANZ; Commercial of Sydney and Bank of NSW.
It had three general merchandise stores: Finns; The Western Stores and McDonaghs; two menswear stores ( Eric Best’s and later Gil and Hordern Mulligans) and Frank Pitt’s; Nick Malouf’s (smaller mainly grocery); a shoe store (Roley Frost) and a Canowindra Jewellers shop (Les Weston and later Hazel McNaught’s); two electrical retailers (Les Sutton’s and Harold Townsend’s). T.J. Finn built the mansion-like two storey residence “Tralee” in Short Street in the days when his store, T, J. Finns prospered ,
On late shopping nights one could hardly move in the main street.
Bad debts eventually ruined T.J. Finn’s store had a huge red neon sign on its roof with its big neon arrow sign pointing to the store. The Belubula River flood once rose so high as to flood the cellar at the store and townspeople had to be enlisted to move stock to a higher level. Canowindra had two doctors, (Dr Gribben and Dr Priestley). I remember Doc Priestley coming to our house to treat a large boil Dad had on his whatever. Dad was required to disrobe and as he did so the good doctor exclaimed: “What a pair of beauties!”
Mum quickly ushered me out of the room. I used to visit “Glastonbury”, the beautiful and spacious home of the Delaneys who owned the farmhouse near the town. Their very attractive young niece was staying with them over the Easter holidays. She decided to produce a play with an Easter theme and I was cast in the role of Pontius Pilate. There I was at the Dress Rehearsal with a Roman Toga draped over my near naked frame. The only problem was I got an erection. This resulted in the producer telling me I was not suited for the role. So ended My Brilliant Career as an actor.
Camowindra, was a rugby league mad town. Besides the matches in Group 11 (Forbes, Partkes, Condobolin). Canowindra used to play for the Jack Hore Gold Cup – a trophy donated by the Canowindra community in memory of a prominent late footballer. I used to tend the fire under,the boiler for the hot water that the team (coached by prominent imported Sydney footballer Joe Jorgenson as captain and player coach) needed after football training.
We had one keen supporter who was knee-high to a grasshopper. He could not see the play, He used to watch from behind the crowd on the hill at The Oval and would run up and down shouting: “What”s ‘appenin ? What’s appenin ?.”
We had three brothers as members of the first grade side (one a prominent goal kicker). I remember one incident on a rainy day. The referee had just awarded a penalty against Canowindra for about the third time when the mother of the three boys ran onto the ground and started hitting the referee over the head with her umbrella until restrained by her three sons.
I used to go to meetings of Group 11 and was elected Senior Vice President to “Sauso” Dwyer (a Parkes Butcher) as President and Jack Hartcher from Forbes who was Secretary.
More to come.