Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Living with Risk of Fire; Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Living with Risk of Fire; Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

IN 1903 the rail link between Nerang and Tweed Heads was finally completed, with the Tweed Heads station located at the top end of Bay St.

Boarding houses, cafes, shops and other establishments were soon erected along both sides of the street in order to obtain the business of train travellers passing through.

Fire was always a major concern in these early premises due to the flammable nature of products used for lighting and also for cleaning. In April, 1912, a disastrous fire broke out at Sullivan's Railway Boarding House causing its total destruction.

Mr Charles Skinner's adjacent cottage was also destroyed; however, Mr John Gardner's two-storey building was saved, which prevented the whole street being burnt down.

When John and Clara Gardiner came to the Twin Towns in 1910, they opened their Bay St store and later opened another in McLean St, Coolangatta.

The couple became prominent in local civic affairs with John Gardiner taking on the role of mayor of Coolangatta for several terms. He was also a foundation member of the Tweed Heads and Coolangatta Bowling Club and Kirra Surf Life Saving Club.

Boston's Oyster Saloon was one of the early premises offering food and refreshment.

In 1912 Mensforth's Tea Rooms opened for business. In 1914 the 20-room Tweed House boarding establishment faced new competition when the former Tweed Heads Customs House opened as a boarding house called The Bangalows.

In about 1913 the large and impressive Greenwoods Emporium opened in a block of buildings owned by Mr and Mrs Henry Gill of Murwillumbah.

The Gaiety Theatre was a popular venue at this time for both locals and visitors to the town until it was deliberately burnt down "by persons unknown" in 1915.

In the 1920s Bay St was the busiest part of Tweed Heads. Businesses included a jeweller, chemist, plumber, an optician, drapers and mercers, butchers, bootmakers, general stores, numerous cafes and boarding houses and a garage.

In March, 1921, Mrs Skinner's a[approximately]fine two-storey building" in Bay St was nearing completion and was expected to "add greatly to the appearance to this portion of the town". …

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