Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

{Stage Set for History at} {Local Pub}

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

{Stage Set for History at} {Local Pub}

Article excerpt

SOME years ago, with a twinkle in her eye, Hazel Wicks told me the story of her childhood at the Young Australian Hotel, of the times when she and her sisters put on concerts for neighbouring children.

Her star act, she told me, was performing handsprings in the large backyard.

She recalled charging everyone a coin to go to her concert and setting up the backyard of their hotel with a stage for the occasion.

Hazel was one of six daughters of Gideon George Dennis who married Charlotte Rebecca Ibell, of Oakey, in 1907.

Her father was the owner of the Commercial Hotel in Boonah until the end of World War One and purchased the Young Australian Hotel in the area of Gladstone known locally as "The Valley" in 1918.

The Valley was once the hub of the city, but commercial development spread along Goondoon Street and on the hillsides above the wharves in Auckland Creek.

The hotel had stables out the back, and a post and rail fence.

The local band practised in the old billiard room in the hotel.

Mr Dennis also purchased the butcher shop in Auckland Street opposite the hotel, but had disposed of this before his death.

Gideon George Dennis was born at Yankalilla in South Australia in 1876.

At the age of 27 he and his brothers, Victor and Frederick left South Australia to travel to Queensland.

After selecting a property on the Darling Downs, he was for some time engaged in mixed farming, but later disposed of this property and took up banana growing and timber getting in the Blackall Range near Cooroy.

He was a member of the Noosa Shire Council, and stood for Parliament in Cooroy.

While in Cooroy he was the recipient of a Gold Medal from the Ambulance, as well as a Gold Medal for rifle shooting. Hazel told me that he was considered a crack shot. He took a keen interest in local affairs, and was president of the Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Harbour Board 1924 to 1926, a foundation member of the Gladstone Bowling Club, also of the Port Curtis Development League, and was a council representative on the Gladstone Hospital Board. …

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