I grew up in the small border town of Wallangarra and members of my family lived there from the very early days of settlement. Recently I was alerted to a postcard on eBay of James McCook's Royal Hotel. When I saw the postcard I knew I had to have it.
Starting with the reverse of the postcard I wanted to identify the 3 people mentioned. Polly was easy. She was my great-grandmother Mary Moore (McColm) (1885-1939). Mary is readily identified with the McCooks and the Royal Hotel. My grandfather, her second son, was born there in January 1909 and Mary's husband Knox was the nephew of Rosetta McCook, wife of the proprietor. The Moores lived and worked at the hotel.
If you look at the postcard image you can see a single storey section sandwiched between the front and back two storey sections. I wonder if extensions were built in front and behind the building above?
|Jas McCook, Royal Hotel, Wallangarra, c. 1914-1915?|
|Reverse of postcard|
A search on electoral rolls has identified Elizabeth and Christopher Noye living in Warwick with their daughter Alice Elizabeth. Alice was born in 1889, so she, rather than her mother, was probably Polly's friend. (Ancestry.com. Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.)
The postcard is a treasure trove! Details that I can make out on a high resolution scan include:
- 6 men, 6 women and 5 children
- Jas. McCook. Royal Hotel sign
- Licensed Billiards sign
- BAR sign
- bedrooms on the second storey which open onto the verandah
- gauze doors on the bedroom windows
- a chaise lounge and 3 single chairs on the verandah on the second storey
- a long ladder on the ground
- a hitching post outside the hotel
- a teacup on the rail
- a bicycle on the right hand side of the verandah
Who are the people?
I am positive that the boy on the left in front of the bar sign is my grandfather James Moore. I have another confirmed image of him when he was smaller and the likeness is remarkable. The boy on the right is likely to be his older brother Matthew. The woman who looks most like my great grandmother Mary (Polly) is standing on the verandah behind the hitching rail with another child sitting on the rail. This child is probably her fourth child, Knox born in 1913. There is no man resembling her husband Knox. I assume the man in the centre is Jas McCook, but presumptions can be dangerous.
I wonder who the others are?
Date of the image?
An earlier image of the Royal Hotel can be found on Trove.
|Royal Hotel Wallangarra, c. 1909 |
My grandfather looks as though he is about 5 or 6 so I believe the photo on the postcard may have been taken in about 1914 or 1915. Was this when the hotel was extended?
Unfortunately, the Royal Hotel was destroyed by fire on Friday 13th June 1952 so I never got to see where my grandfather grew up. (The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933-1955, Saturday 14 June 1952, p. 3.)
A wonderful find which I will treasure!