A 1923 Coffs Christmas

DECEMBER in Coffs Harbour in 1923 was considered a quiet month.

Rain had not fallen for several months before Christmas, school finished on 14 December and there was the annual exodus of local families to Sydney and other destinations to visit family and friends.

While the annual arrival of holiday campers partially offset the departure of locals, it was an influx of railway and other workers with money to spend which helped local business.

Three local hotels were the site of much free spending and harmless fun and well-known professional singer Madame Edith Sagasser performed at a local concert.

Considering the ongoing dry spell, local shops were also doing good business, however shortly before Christmas the heavens opened and as the newspaper described, had the effect of ‘lightening hearts and loosening purse strings’.

Then there was the usual last-minute rush for gifts, many well-stocked windows displaying a myriad of toys and other items suitable for presents.

This resulted in the newspaper editor reinforcing the point that there was no need to spend money elsewhere, when there was so much to be found locally.

The newspapers also described the rain’s effects, how ‘As if by magic, the brown, burnt pastures shed their sombre suits for garments of green, as if they, too, had put aside their period of gloom and were preparing to rejoice at the season of peace and goodwill. What the famished stock thought about the happy turn of fortune’s wheel is more easily imagined than described.’

While the wet weather was largely celebrated, numbers of campers were down on previous years, although there were plenty whose enthusiasm refused to be dampened and they remained.

It was speculated how much they enjoyed Christmas day as the unsettled weather became a deluge which continued over the entire day.

Luckily however, by the following day the sky cleared, many people headed for the beach and a lucky ten-year old girl was rescued from Coffs Creek after the tide swept out of her depth.


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