Re­mem­ber­ing Jean

1915-2014

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

JEAN was born in Eng­land in June 1915. Jean had two daugh­ters: Anne who has two chil­dren and lives in Eng­land; and Josephine who came to Aus­tralia with her hus­band. And three chil­dren.

Jean ar­rived in Aus­tralia in De­cem­ber 1959 (aged 44) on the boat the "Fairsea" as a ’Ten pound Pom’ she ’hitch-hiked up the coast to Port in search of the sun,

Fruit pick­ing and do­ing odd jobs on the way and ar­riv­ing in June 1961. Jean’s story is a snapshot of the his­tory of Port from the early 1960’s to the present. Jean ar­rived in the mid­dle of the’ dry sea­son.’ Port didn’t have retic­u­lated wa­ter un­til l962 when the pipe came from Moss­man. There was a big tank down on the fore­shore where people got their wa­ter when their tanks were get­ting low. Jean slept on the beach in her tent for the first two weeks, which she loved, and then met Diana Bow­den who of­fered her a job and ac­com­mo­da­tion. They were the own­ers of the Nau­tilus Restau­rant and had a shell jew­ellery shop at­tached. Diana was fa­mous for the ex­quis­ite pieces of jew­ellery she cre­ated; she also did lunches and af­ter­noon teas. Her preg­nancy with Kate made it dif­fi­cult to con­tinue with the lunches and af­ter­noon teas and be­sides she didn’t want to cook any­more, she did con­tinue mak­ing her jew­ellery. Diana sold the lease of the Restau­rant to Bart Allen in 1963; Bart promptly opened the Restau­rant for nighttime din­ing thus cre­at­ing the be­gin­nings of the great "fine din­ing" Nau­tilus Restau­rant. Bart was a great sto­ry­teller as well as a fine cook, and like all sto­ry­tellers the truth could be some­what em­bel­lished. Bart’s choco­late cake be­came fa­mous and the ori­gins got grander in the telling. He at­trib­uted the recipe to his Pol­ish Jewish grand­mother and sold the recipe to the Smalls choco­late Com­pany, the truth of where the recipe came from is much more mun­dane. It came from Diana who got it out of The Women’s Weekly and even­tu­ally, when he left the Nau­tilus he gave the recipe to Paul from the Catalina Restau­rant. Mem­o­ries of Jean will be of her rid­ing around town on her bi­cy­cle in her colourful trop­i­cal dress, swim­ming ev­ery morn­ing in the sea, feed­ing the fish from the stale bread she used to col­lect from the restaurants, and also paint­ing the won­der­fully evoca­tive trop­i­cal signs for the businesses of Port and of course her own paint­ings. Her beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal gar­den which she nour­ished with sea­weed col­lected from the sea af­ter her morn­ing swim. They will also re­mem­ber her con­tent­ment with her life, Jean sit­ting on the ve­randa of ’mye­cum­bene’, which over­looked the Co­ral Sea, lis­ten­ing to Joan Suther­land in the early evening and watch­ing the birds play­ing in her bird bath. Jean also had a great tol­er­ance and en­joy­ment of people’s ec­cen­tric­i­ties which for a town with a pop­u­la­tion of be­tween 250- 300 seemed to be dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of them. Here are some of Jeans thoughts of Port People taken from her diary: Ge­orge Quaid had his Real Es­tate Of­fices in Moss­man and Port, he asked me to do a sign for his Port of­fice. It was through him I got the Lot 4 property in Wharf Street op­po­site the Cop Shop next to the church. Ge­orge had the lo­cal nick­name A Quid be­cause ev­ery­thing he touched turned into money. I earned my liv­ing do­ing sign writ­ing then and when in Cobb & Co. Coach came to Port to do their trip to Mel­bourne there were plenty of signs to do. When I first came I wrote a Poem to put in the two shops about want­ing work and it worked. Hamil­ton’s Store owned and run by Peter and June Hamil­ton (cor­ner of Macrossan and Grant Street) the other was Scul­lett’s store with Joan and Doug Scul­lett in Macrossan Street with Doug’s fa­ther Martin next door, across from the Court­house. Doug also had a boat called "The Gan­net".

Manny and Doreen Sims with their lovely boat "Miss Doreen" which they had for tak­ing sup­plies and mail to the fam­ily on Low Isles and later pas­sen­gers as well. Doreen came from Cey­lon and Manny from the Philip­pines Manny knew the coast and Bar­rier Reef in­ti­mately he could take you in his boat to the reef, no land in site, and show you his pet groper. Some years later they built a big­ger boat "Doreen Two" char­ter­ing longer trips for all the tourists and us. They had their own house and Jetty on the wa­ter­front near the wharf.

Right at the bot­tom end of Macrossan Street there a was the post of­fice - where ev­ery­one used to meet to col­lect their mail - the cop shop and Ge­orge Quaid and then Scul­lett’s store, it was op­po­site the Court House Ho­tel. Anita and Ross Pope used to be the light­house keep­ers on Low Isles. He had four four kid­dies and they had ed­u­ca­tion over the air, but when they had to go to school they came into Port and they took over the store from Scul­letts. What a con­trast be­cause she loved Low Isles.

There were two boys down on the wharf, Leo and Ernie. They were in­ter­ested in the Nau­tilus "but Ernie de­cided it was a lit­tle bit too hoity toity for them", so Bart said well why don’t you try the wharf you could turn it into a restau­rant", per­haps. The Coun­cil wasn’t very keen but they did it. Leo was a French/ Cana­dian and very artis­tic. Oh the fancy dress par­ties and the Hawai­ian nights. Say "They had three grass skirts and they used to say "Do a Hawai­ian dance and the best one get a bot­tle of wine." 1963 was a great year for Jean be­sides meet­ing her hus­band it was the year Cobb and Co once again pulled up in Port Dou­glas on their re-en­act­ment jour­ney to Mel­bourne.

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