“That’s where our house was.”, I told Michelle, pointing to the Liberty Service Station which now occupies the block of 21 Kyogle Street, South Lismore. The house is no longer there. In 1970, to make way for a weigh-bridge in Kyogle Street, the house was relocated to 195 Casino Street, South Lismore.
Though I don’t recall the exact conversations of the time (I was four years old), I’m pretty sure mum and dad were excited about the prospect of raising the house out of the flood zone. During the 1954 flood, they lived in the rooftop of the low-set house, while the floodwaters swirled below. Casino Street still flooded in 1974, but at least it was on higher ground and stilts, and floodwater didn’t actually enter the house itself.
A few other houses also moved in the following years, the Banana Growers Federation facility across the road closed, and the trains no longer come through. Also, I found out today the former Broom Factory in Engine Street is now home to a multiple-occupancy – “Hippies live there”, Michelle told me.
We were on our way to visit a piece of history that’s still around, the old Hensley Brothers railway workshed on Engine Street. Michelle’s father, Jack worked there as a mechanic from 1968 to 1982.
As a child, I would often go with him to work on a Saturday morning. “The floors were all dirt back then?:, I asked Jack today, hoping he would affirm my childhood memory. “Yes, there was a bit of concrete, but not much”, he told me. “Out the back”, he told us, “there were tracks where the trains turned around”.
The shed is the new home for “Two Mates Brewing”, which has recently opened. https://www.twomatesbrewing.com.au/
While Michelle and I enjoyed the beers, Jack told us stories of people he worked with and looked around the shed with an interested eye to see how much of the original structure remained. “That’s where they did the paperwork”, he told us about the room next to where we were sitting.
“Two Mates Brewery” does a range of craft beers, though probably some of these are a little exotic for Jack’s taste. “I’ll stick with a lager”, he told us, while Michelle and I tried some of the pale ales, the ciders, and the ginger beer.
When we were there earlier today there were maybe 60-80 people reclining on comfortable old furniture and beer barrels, enjoying the ambience, and enjoying the beers. There were even some people with their kids, as there’s a playground out the back.
With those memories of earlier days, Michelle, Jack and I all agreed they’d done a really good job on the renovation. “I might have my fiftieth here”, Michelle said.
“I hope they’ve got air conditioning”, Jack joked, “because it gets bloody hot in summer” remembering his days as a mechanic in the large shed.