South Lismore Shops

There are some smells from childhood that stay with you throughout your life. Though I’m not sure why, I’ve always been attracted to the “chemical smells”. Things like petrol, adhesive, kerosene etc. But if I had to identify one of the most lingering childhood smells, it would be the smell of Carol Beddoes Hairdresser, at the bottom of Casino Street, South Lismore.

About once a month, or thereabouts, mum and granny would visit Carol’s “hole in the wall” hairdresser and have a “permanent rinse”. For mum, it was always a brown rinse, and for granny it was a blue rinse, to reflect their respective ages. If you’re not sure about what a blue rinse is, think Dame Edna.

I’m not a hairdresser, and I found the online information about rinses and perms confusing. Maybe you can make some sense of it for me? I do know, however, that it was a pretty common for women in country towns in Australia back in the 1950s/1960s to have them. And they had a unique smell – like nothing else I’ve ever smelled in my life – which I can still vividly remember fifty years later.

Mum and Granny at Wedding 1972 with their perms.

Of course, mum, granny, and Carol Beddoes passed away many years ago. But it’s encouraging to see the hole-in-the-wall hairdresser salon still lives on in the same premises, albeit with a new hairdresser. I should also mention Carol Beddoes was always referred to by her full name. She was never Carol or Mrs Beddoes. She was always “Carol Beddoes” in our house.

This photograph was taken in 2016.

Since being home I’ve become reacquainted with some of the many shops of South Lismore. Even if the content of the shops within them has changed, the buildings have remained very much the same. As I’ve taken a walk to the local chemist, the local pub, or the local coffee shop, its been wonderful to take a walk down memory lane.

Even though it’s been a tatoo parlour for maybe twenty or thirty years, I still remember it as “Mr Meek’s Shop”. I was born and spent the first five years of my life living only a short walk from the the shop. And even though it’s fifty years later, I can still remember the shop. I can still remember Mr Meek! I can also still remember my sadness when it was announced the shop was closing. To the right, I’m pretty sure was a butcher.
Though they specialise more in pies and other hot take-away food these days, I remember with fondness the sponge cakes and cream horns of my childhood visiting Bowen’s Cake Shop, now known as Bowen’s Pies. I remember Mr (Ron) and Mrs Bowen very well. They’ve been replaced by their daughter Tracey (who was in my year at primary and highschool) who looks very much like her mother.
Apple Turnovers, Cream Horns
Though it’s been called “The Station Hotel” for many years, it’s also been known as “Hogan’s Heroes” (named after Doug Hogan, the licensee). Though he’s been retired for many years now, I remember when Doug Hogan had only just taken over, and he was seen as a bit of an “uppstarter”.
I love the old tile works on the shops at the corner of Casino and Union streets. There were a couple of supermarkets in South Lismore when I was a child. I’m struggling to remember the name of the corner supermarket – maybe “Mewings? – but I do remember Casagrande’s not far from there.
A favourite place for me as a child was the local newsagency. It was where I would buy “Sydney newspapers with stories about ABBA” as my family referred to them. I don’t think they ever quite recovered from the big flood of 2017, and I’m pretty sure the shop has been empty ever since.
The post office is still there, and located right next to it was the “Baby Health Centre”. Located at the front of the health centre now is a permanently located van coffee shop.

The “Duck Pond Espresso Cafe” is the main reason I go for a walk most days of the week. Though there are places in Lismore where I can get better takeaway coffee, it’s only 500metres from home, and I love the “Nan” and “Grandson” (I assume) who run the cafe. Most days there’s a good crowd of people lining up for a takeaway coffee, or enjoying something instore. I love looking around at the others, and to make some generalisations (in my mind) about the changing face of South Lismore.

Author: James O'Brien

Born / Currently : Lismore / Widjabul Wia-Bal - Bundjalung Live : Sydney / Gadigal - Eora Also : Brisbane, Bourke, Renmark, Wagga, Perth Pronouns : He/him/his.

2 thoughts

  1. I had forgotten that hairdresser smell. I think it was a chemical mixed in with hair dyes. Hydro….hydra…..hypo something?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.