Thursday, March 09, 2006
DINNER AT NAN'S
Today the senior man-of-the-house is celebrating his birthday, and the family has decided to have dinner at Governor's Lodge.
This restaurant is very special to all of us because it was the home of Grandpa Herbie Bailey and Nan (known as "Sett.") The house was built just after the turn of the century. Herbie and Clara(nee Christian) were wed on January 8, 1902, and their first child George, Bernie's Dad, was born just over 9 months later.
As was the custom in those days, Bernie remembers spending many happy hours in this house with his grandparents. Cousin Marie often reminds him of the times when Nan would call to Bernie to come to her, but when he did so, she would forget what she had wanted him for, so she would always say "Go practice!" (the piano) The old family piano, by the way, is still there in the restaurant.
When Bernie and I were married in Sydney, one of the cables we received from the island was from brother Mick, and it read "Hold tight, Nan's Goodness." Evidently this was what Nan said to Bern when he was riding his pony!
Although he was fairly young when Grandpa Herbie died, Bernie has vivid memories of him going out and lying under a shady tree with a book. He was a great reader.
Sett and Herbie raised five children here at "Elouera"...George, Linda(Ninna), David, Floris and Percy. When they passed on, son David continued to live in the house until his death in 1980.
The house, with its seven acres, was then sold to Gary and Debbie McCoy. Gary would have been Sett's great nephew. Gary (Foxy) made some improvements to the house, and enlarged the kitchen area, but the original character was retained.
In recent years, the land and house have become part of Governor's Lodge, a tourist accommodation complex. The home is now the restaurant, and it has been restored and refurbished in an extremely tasteful way. You can still see where the old room divisions were, and dining there always evokes many happy memories.
This watercolour of the old home was painted by me in the early seventies. It hangs in our hallway along with other pictures of old family homes.