submitted by Jim Comino on 13.07.2008
The Theatre shown was run by Theo Comino when he left Wee Waa and it was here he met and married Hazel Donnelly and where their first two children Martina and Maria were born.
It was also here that the first Cinesound film in Australia was shown by Theo,as told to me by a lady from the Historical Society,who came looking for me to get Dad to go to their Historical Society Town Reunion, but alas he had passed away by days when she called.
The Transit Bar and Cafe was purchased by the Comino Family in 1985 namely James and Karen,
James later sold his share to Patricia and went into a courier business on his own carrying specialized freight from Rockhampton Qld to Newcastle NSW for the one company and still carries for them today.
The Transit Bar was Known as the Black and Green Bar when Mr Steve Mitchel purchased the building sometime in 1934 and run the business .
unfortunately the building was built as a hotel in 1885 and went through many floods over its lifespan. It is of the 13 July 2008 been readied for demolishing due to flood damage.
this bag was given to me by a residence in merriwa when she was cleaning her kitchen desk out and is reminicent of what the people of merriwa thought of Theo and Hazel.
submitted by Jim Comino on 07.08.2006
Photo of Theo,s Picture Theatre in Bellingen, it was here he met and married Hazel and had Martina and Maria.
He also broke away from the Partnership of Comino Bros Wee Waa. In those days it was not nice for Australians to marry Greeks and visa versa and went to Moree into a partnership of sorts with a Mr Poterios, in the Hollywood Cafe which was caught up in the depression and Theo went out of business hoofing it around the Northwest working where he could get work in Warialda ,Bingara, and Inverel ,it was here I,ve found a paper in the Inverel Times Archives where Theo was in a fire at the IXL Cafe while sleeping there and was pulle dfrom the building nearly deing from smoke inhalation while trying to save a Mr Castrisos, who had already slid down a grapevine unbeknown to Theo. He joined the RAAF in Warialda and was shipped off to New Guinea.
Returning home to go th Merriwa into the Merriwa Cafe.
This Cafe was sold by Peter George and was demolished and a park now stands where it stood.
Picture of Michael, Theo [Dad] me Leslie, Mum Hazel hiding behind me, Helen Mavromatis [now Conomos] and two staff members, Joan Cooper and Stella Coward.
No time to be flash here it was too busy.
We had lots of stars eat here, the film "the Sheralee" with Dana Wilson and Peter Finch and all the film crew always came to eat when not filming at Cassilis and district.
I remember after the Rodeos a man would come in and ask if he could play the violin, this man was the best I,ve ever heard he cold make that instrument talk and then he,d take a box on a flat stick around the tables for money. I reckon he did better than the Cafe.
After football the tables would all be put together in line up the middle of the shop and both teams would come and sit down to dinner, after they finished they would all get up and sing Auld Lang Scene
those were the days .
The back yard was showpeice of every type of fruit trees and roses all hedged and the Pioneer Tourist busses would pull up just to see the yards Mum had fixed.
The Police would bring down the English Imigrants and ask Dad to help them with work till they settle into a permanent job. Hence the showpeice out back.
Dad sold the Cafe to Peter George and his brotherinlaw and they put the grader through the lot ,it ended up as just a little vegy patch in the end .
This Cafe was like all Greek Cafes "the best ever" we had the frontal soda fountains and a huge range of syrups to suit. The syrups were also use to put on the ice cream sundaes. I,d help Dad make these syrups sometimes at 1am in the morning after a very busy day.
I,d be sent out the back to make the soda water from a machine linked up to gas cylinders. While it was going the machine had a musical sound about it and I,d sing away to any tune it sounded like.
Steak vegs and eggs two and six pence
Mixed grill three shillings
Pies and potatoe and peas one and six pence
Like all Greek Cafes the premices were completely rejuvenated with new lino, new backbar etc. Dad was always on the lookout for new things to put in the Cafe.
Each thursday Mum [Hazel] would drive the truck to Newcastle to get vegetables and visit Streets ice cream then to get smallgoods.
I,ll never forget, we always went to Red Funnel Fisheries on the Wharf it was owned by a Comino then I dont know if its still there now , there was always a huge bin of prawns there fresh from the ocean and I use to love going there to see all the seafood.
One day Dad picked a prawn from the big bin and pealed and ate it, so me being about eight years old picked one too. All hell broke loose Mr Comino yelled
" put that bacvk those things cost tuppence each" Dad pulled ten shillings out of his pocket and gave it to him and told him "thats for the two prawns Sir" and we walked out and never went back. He always bought prawns back for a few people who liked them and always had a large bag of oysters in the Cafe,boy after we finished working at night he,d open a glass of oysters and give them to me.
There was a Cafe called Jerry,s Cafe in Darby Street and we always went there for fish and salad now memories are flooding back ,too much to put in here.
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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