Visitors bring memories to the Roxy complex

October 19, 2010

Bingara was recently a week for family history searches or trips down memory lane.

On Wednesday September 29, a very excited visitor, Mrs Ellen Holley of Port Macquarie arrived at the Bingara Information Centre.  Her excitement stemmed from hearing of the restoration of the Roxy Café and the possibility of being able to look through it during her visit.

Mrs Holley’s maiden name was Ellen Vangis and her father Harry Vangis owned the Roxy Café in the late 1940’s early 1950’s. Ellen has fond memories of her childhood in the café.

While she was in the café, where the builders were working on the walls recreating the original texture, Ellen turned from showing Jenny Mead (Tourist officer) some photographs to look at the northern wall and exclaimed, putting her hands to her face saying, “oh, that wall is just how I remember it, you are doing a wonderful job.”

Of the large counter in the café area Ellen commented that it reminder her of the counter which had been in Farouly’s Café in Inverell. There was a exclamation of pure delight when she was told it was the same counter. The Vangis and Farouly families had been friends and Ellen remembers going there in her childhood. 

With permission from builder Tim Russell, Tourist Officer Jenny Mead accompanied Ellen on the journey through her memories of the café and the accommodation area above the café. In the upstairs area, Ellen mentioned that the corner room with balcony had been her bedroom and was thrilled to be able to walk though it again.

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In an unrelated visit but in a way related, on Thursday Gail and John Drummond of Sussex Inlet called into the Information Centre for a tour of the Roxy. Members of Gail’s family (Finkernagel) operated business in Bingara.

One of these was Sid Finkernagel who, according the late Trevor Wearne’s book, Bingara 1827 to 1937; in 1911, Sid Finkernagel had Bingara’s first motor garage and workshop – situated in Cunningham Street at the rear of W Finkernagel general Store at the corner of Maitland and Cunningham Street (maybe on the site where the Roxy now stands).

In 1912, Bingara’s first Picture Theatre was built on the site where Ritter’s garage stood (currently the site of the Bingara Toy Library).

Therefore, in a way the two visitors’ stories are linked.

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Also visiting for the week was Mr Basil Langley and his daughters who were tracing the Armstrong family.

Mr Langley’s late wife’s maiden name was Armstrong and her family home was ‘Lynwood’ at Emu Creek on the Warialda Road.