TOWN TRAGEDY: The EJ Portley Pool being demolished
TOWN TRAGEDY: The EJ Portley Pool being demolished Warwick - pictures from the past

33 cents at the Langham: memories that make you a local

WE RECENTLY put a test to the town to see who could really call themselves a local, and one resident went above and beyond.

Don't let us tell you who's a local and who's not - take it from one of the old timers instead.

Born and bred Warwick resident and the town's most senior bank manager Gary Kelly help us put together a list of things that only those who've lived their whole lives in Warwick will be able to tick off.

So tell us: how many of these memories do you share?

1. Fill a jar up with honey at Barry and Roberts.

Barry and Roberts was a well-known grocery store opposite the park in Palmerin St around the 1960s, when Mr Kelly was a kid.

Children got into all sorts of sticky fun playing with the honey machine in the shop.

2. Have an underage drink at the Langham or the Mayfair.

The Langham was where the Condamine Sports Club is now, and it was one of the most popular pubs in town, in fact many of the locals still call it that.

The Langham was known for its raunchy Saturday night cabaret, and Mr Kelly'd dad was a member of the band that played there every weekend.

"Tony Maroon was the publican back then, and he had a unique method of crowd control," Mr Kelly said.

"He used to have half a pool cue that he would use to beat people if they were acting out of line.

"Everyone had an underage drink in that pub.

"I can remember a 7ounce beer at the Langham was only 33 cents because you could 3 beers for a dollar and have a cent left over."

3. Have a late night burger at Whimpy or Ma Bergs.

These two local burger joints where were you would go to get a bite after you'd been at the Langham.

Ma (as in mother) Berg put on a good feed at her shop on the corner of Wallace and Wood St, where the Tobacconist now stands.


GREAT OUTDOORS: Locals loved to spend the day at the beautiful Olympic swimming pool in the heart of town.
GREAT OUTDOORS: Locals loved to spend the day at the beautiful Olympic swimming pool in the heart of town. Warwick - pictures from the past

4. Swim in The EJ Portley Pool and jump off the high diving board.

This one will still strike a sore spot with the locals.

Warwick lost an aquatic gem the day they pulled down the old outdoor Olympic-sized pool that was named after local mayor EJ Portley.

The pool had a small diving board and a high diving board and two big grandstands down either side.

"There would be no kid who grew up in Warwick who didn't have a memory of the pool," Mr Kelly said.

5. Went to Coles when it was next to the Magnolia Arcade.

You couldn't find a vegetable in sight back when Coles was a variety store.

It was where you would go for socks and hankies and bits and bobs, kind of like a mini Big W according to Mr Kelly.

6. Have a malted milk and toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich at Tanna's milk bar and get a fruit salad on Sunday to go with the home-cooked roast chook for lunch... and fight over the wishbone.

Tanna's was a milk bar owned by the infamous Tanna boys - Fred, Joey, Teddy and Peter.

Mr Kelly said they used to make the best malted milks and great toasted sandwiches.

But a couple of them made names for themselves in other corners of the town.

Teddy Tanna made a name for himself as a local master of ceremonies, and would often call a phantom race to everyone's amusement.

"He was an icon," Mr Kelly said.

Peter Tanna was one of the town's top musical talents, not to be missed at the Langam on a Saturday.

"Anyone who has been a to a dance and hasn't heard Peter Tanna sing couldn't call themselves a long term local," Mr Kelly said.


LOOKING BACK: Piggot & Co was a popular general store.
LOOKING BACK: Piggot & Co was a popular general store. Warwick - pictures from the past

7. Climb up the steel gates at the National Bank.

"The bank used to be a sandstone building that had steel gates with spikes on top," Mr Kelly said.

"As a kid we would try and climb those gates.

"Injuries were possible... there was no workplace health and safety in those days - it was called common sense."

8. Listen to Slugger belt out a tune or two.

Coorey's Ladies and Menswear is still standing today and owner Joe Coorey can be found behind the counter some days.

But back in the day Joe was known as 'Slugger' and was another of the town's musical icons, although he had a limited repertoire.

At the insistence of the locals, Slugger would perform the same medley of songs to great applause.

Among them were Diana, I'm going to knock on your door, Sad movies always make me cry and Aba Daba Honeymoon.

9. Buy a $1 casket ticket from the Black Cat news agency.

The news agency was part of the Criterion Hotel, and it was where the Warwick Credit Union began.

But you could also buy a casket ticket back in the day, and hope to win $10,000 or $30,000.

Mr Kelly remembered a couple of locals taking out the prize, but there would be no naming names.

"Casket tickets used to be written in pencil or pen and they would all go into the casket office and picked by hand - there were no scratchies or lottos tickets back then," he said.


Historical photos from Warwick.
Historical photos from Warwick. Warwick - pictures from the past

10. Buy petrol from Amoco, Esso, Golden Fleece, Ampol or Total.

There was no such thing as Puma or United and fuel would cost about 50 cents a gallon when Mr Kelly was growing up.

All the fuel depots were positioned on the railway line so the petrol could be delivered by rail tanker.

It's clear Mr Kelly knows a thing or two about the town and he although it has changed, he still loves living here.

"I feel safe here, it's got everything you want, and it's close to everything," he said.

"We've got a police force that keeps the rubbish out of town and it's been that way since I was a kid.

"It's a town I love so much."

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