Well, we did it folks, 10 episodes in a row. Season one of The Local Update done and dusted. I must say I’m a little touched to see Graham Farram wind up the first season with something close to my heart.
My folks and I arrived in the Bega Valley in 1983, I was one at the time. When we moved into our house in Tathra, our lovely old neighbour, Alice Otton (nee Davidson), was 81 years old and going strong. You might be surprised to know she was still living at home in Tathra in 2004 when she was 102 years old. Mrs Otton passed away in the nursing home here in Bega in 2005.
My childhood memories of Alice are of that traditional silent movie style piano music, she played the piano in the cinemas around here in her younger life. I also have memories of her Cooee-ing across the fence to deliver us fruit she’d grown, food she’d cooked or even just to casually let us know about the great big black snake she’d spotted slithering across her yard.
The fondest memory, however, has to be the stories. Mrs Otton had a head full of adventures and stories from her young life in Kiah and Eden where her family owned the Davidson whaling station.
When I was a kid, Alice told me stories of her childhood, stories of her father’s connection to Old Tom, the killer whale who worked with her dad to chase down other whales along the coastline. Old Tom’s work would ensure him a feed of the offcuts from Mr Davidson’s haul. If you head to the Killer Whale Museum in Eden today, you’ll see the skeleton of Old Tom with a groove in his back tooth from pulling the rope that towed the whaling boat while on the hunt.
We will definitely return to Alice in detail in the future, for now though, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear Graham read a story as told by my old friend Alice Otton.
Also on today’s show, we’re staying in Eden and taking a look at the future of one of the oldest building still standing in town, The Australasia Hotel. The building sits on the top of the hill in Eden’s main drag, Imlay St, where it opened to the public in 1904.
The Australasian operated as a Hotel for over 100 years but ran into trouble in the last decade. Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor, Sharon Tapscott, tells me the council bought the venue in 2016 intending to turn it into a civic centre. The building has a prime position in the middle of town, and Mayor Tapscott tells me it was perfect for the ‘strategic direction council saw Eden heading as a community.’
This week community members may have been surprised to learn the council have now sold the building at a considerable loss. Mayor Tapscott tells me council couldn’t reach an agreement on what to do with the site while they owned it, but they feel they have made a positive impact by heritage listing the site before selling it.
Thanks for listening to the first 10 episodes of The Local Update. We’re not going anywhere, simply marking the end of the first season. If you’ve got a local story to tell or an event or issue you’d like to see promoted then don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always looking for new story ideas. simply leave a comment on this story, or you can shoot me a message using the form here