Good reads

The cottage at No 3 was bought and sold several times and was also mainly used as a rental. The original external weatherboards are still in place under the blue fibro cladding.

Yamba’s Oldest Cottages

The Ocean View

For many years, the landmark Ocean View Boarding House stood in Pilot Street overlooking Yamba Beach and was very popular accommodation for holiday makers from upriver. It was also the venue for balls, social events and concerts.

The Ocean View was built by George Bale on behalf of William Kinnear of Grafton in 1877. It consisted of nineteen furnished rooms, a kitchen and servants’ room. George was the first white child born at South Grafton on 08 May 1848 to Philip and Elizabeth Bale. He set up as a wheelwright at Palmers Island and built many houses in the area. In 1870, he married Julia Ann Baker and they had five children. In 1877, they moved to Yamba to conduct the boarding house. Their last child, Priscilla, was born there on 10 May 1879 and she is believed to be first white baby born in Yamba. She married George Wood on 15 December 1898 at Alumny Creek and died on 15 December 1985, aged 105 years.

In 1879, George advertised the Ocean View for lease and Mrs. Adelaide Rose Gregory, wife of William, took it up. In 1884, due to delicate health, Mrs. Gregory advertised the lease and household effects of the “Ocean View” which James and Hannah Ryall took up and later purchased the freehold from Kinnear in 1888. James built a bakery adjoining the premises – the first bakery in Yamba – and added ten more rooms in 1884 in an adjacent building and a five-room detached cottage in 1890. They were popular hosts for many years until transferring the lease to Sarah Jane Graham in 1891 and finally selling the establishment privately to her in 1902. There were forty boarders over Christmas that year. Sarah’s husband had died in 1885 at West Maitland and she brought four of her daughters and three sons as well three granddaughters to help run the business at Yamba. Yamba Beach became locally known as Graham’s Beach.

Reported in the Grip that a Grafton bachelor went to Yamba in June 1896 to seek refuge from the loneliness of his celibacy; and one dark evening enjoying the breeze on the front verandah of the Ocean View, happened to take a seat that had been vacated by the husband of a loving and newly-wedded wife, with whom he had been chatting. A few moments later the lady mentioned came out to look for her husband, and mistaking the stranger for him, lovingly encircled his neck and gave him an affectionate kiss with the remark; “Come darling, is it not about time to retire?” He did not faint, but the shock was very severe.

In 1916, Sarah transferred Title for the Ocean View Boarding House, to her daughter, Ellen, who continued working in the boarding house and did not marry. With the help of her sisters, Mary Anderson and Isabella (with her husband George Moore), she ran it from 1901 until subdividing and selling the Ocean View to Robert Roland Smith, a grazier of Coaldale.

In September 1922, he leased to Hannah Jane Daniels, a widow of Grafton, who was also the proprietor of the Family Hotel, Grafton and she later bought the freehold. Mrs Inda Ann Wallwork was appointed manager and, in October 1922, announced that it had been thoroughly renovated and was reopening for business.

The “Ocean View” was destroyed by fire on 15 July 1923. Forrest Claude Wallwork, husband of the manager, was tried for arson but acquitted by the judge due to insufficient evidence.

John McNamara

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