John Hill Interview
Mr Hill was born in Coffs Harbour in 1920. He lived in the Korora area most of his life. His father was an early storekeeper in Coffs. After the war his father was put on a war pension. Mr Hill also grew bananas and opened the Banana Bowl Caravan Park in 1960. He was heavily involved in the tourism industry in Coffs Harbour.InterviewerKerri MossCollectionVoice of Time oral history projectAgencyCoffs Harbour Regional MuseumSummaryStandard disclaimer. Visit the 'Voice of Time' web site to read or listen to the disclaimer. Loaded into the steamer at the Jetty (on route to Sydney) -- James Small first grew sugar cane at Korora in 1883 -- Miss Reedy was employed to help do the cooking in the busy times. Killed their own beef, surplus available to locals for three pence per pound -- "For several years it (Small's) was the unofficial Post Office" -- Hermann Rieck, first banana grower -- "In 1885 we saw the first tourists arrive" -- "Profits were too low" -- "James Small went bankrupt" -- Alexander Herman bought the Small's property. Mr Herman decided to make rum -- Building 'the still' -- Walter Jordan was his young helper -- Customs authorities were on the lookout for an illicit still. They sent detectives to Mr Herman's to investigate -- Locally made rum was known as 'L.M. Brand' -- Mr Herman lost two small boys when they ate poisonous passionfruits -- "The Herman's had a brush with the local aborigines". August Nelson -- "In 1913 John B. Hill bought the property" -- Mr Hill Snr sold his store to Mr Perry -- John at the age of seven years, went to his grandmother to talk the family out of selling the property. Steam Sawmill operating about one mile west of Korora -- Ben Crumpton at age of six years was run over by a bullock team -- Started school at age of five years at Korora School (the building had been moved from Moonee) -- Campbell family, Hammond family, Hill family, and Butler family -- 'Barnie' the bull. Playground games -- Changed schools, rode a pushbike into Coffs Harbour school. Reg Saywell was the mailman -- "Red clay roads" -- Washing for eight children -- Being the eldest, John had a hard time getting away from his little brothers. "More discipline at Coffs School" -- Finished school in 1936 -- Getting the cane, "one of them was a Malouf, one was a Hives" -- "Brilliant Headmaster, Russell Hodge". John to do the shopping while he was in town -- "It was a real ramshackle old bike, I was always having punctures and trouble with it" -- The Depression, "Boyden and Walker" -- McDowell's "bought a thousand sheep to run on the Banana Bowl and we Hill children were employed as shepherds". Making the first nine hole golf course -- John was an excellent golfer -- Father making concrete bricks -- Bruce Taylor, bricklayer -- "When I went to Sydney the family missed me and I missed the family, so the family moved to Sydney and leased the place out" (Les Rippon) -- Wards took over the lease and neglected the property. The Depression, the Boyden family lived where Pelican Beach Resort now is -- Banana plantation -- John had to take milk to the Boyden's and also babysit the children -- "Sheep not really well suited to the coast" -- "My father wasn't very fond of unpleasant jobs " -- Kids used to dive into the wool from up in the rafters of the shed -- Mr Clarke, road worker. Mrs Clarke, trotting driver -- Kenny Walker and Paul Boyden lived in the barn -- Rex Boyden was a pilot, killed in plane crash -- Paul Boyden started the Boy Scouts in Coffs -- Built caravan park in 1960. O'Toole (fisherman) kept a boat at Charlesworth Bay -- Swaggies did a bit of gardening in exchange for food -- Living in Sydney -- Spitfire pilot in air force during Second World War -- Growing crops back in Coffs after the war -- Got married in 1948. Bought six acres in Gaudrons Road for 600 pounds -- Banana growing at Korora -- "We had the first four-wheel drive vehicle ever used on a plantation" -- Caravan Park and Star Motel both opened in 1960. Nervous breakdown through overwork -- Sold property to Lend Lease in 1983 -- Tourist Association -- "Tourist industry here is a bit in the doldrums at the moment".