Letters & Stories
AS TIME GOES BY by Betty Harlin-Smith – Feb/March 1995 Issue
Although I was born in the Brighton Hotel, some of my earliest years were happily spent at Ethelton Primary School. My parents ran the Ethelton Hotel which was across the road from the school. The Great Depression was a disaster for the children I went to school with, because most of the Dads worked at the Port Adelaide wharves, and were mainly unemployed from 1927 until the 1930s.
In Port Adelaide and surrounding districts, all the churches hard card evenings and children’s fancy dress frolics to help upkeep the social venues. St Nicholas’ was our mission church. It was located on the opposite corner of the hotel, and many of the Anglican school children went to Sunday School there. Sister Lucy, who was a teacher at St Peter’s Collegiate Girls’ School, conducted the Sunday School classes. Confirmation classes were held at St Paul’s.
Following my primary years, I went to Woodville High which at the time was the only high school in the western districts. Then in 1932 my parents bought the Glynde Hotel at Payneham. We really missed the beach at Semaphore and the Port River where we children from Ethelton learnt to swim. My new school was Norwood High. The depression was still affecting business, and my parents could no longer affords to send me to school. So at the age of 15 I left. I met my husband in 1936 and we married at St Matthew’s. In 1939 he enlisted in the AIF, and our first son was born. Murray spent the next six years in the army, while I helped my parents to run the Glynde Hotel and served with the Red Cross Transport. When Murray was discharged we moved to Kircaldy where we had another two sons. In 1950 Murray and I took over the lease of the Glynde Hotel and our lives became very busy and quite interesting. There were homes being built around us and big land sales and developments kept us occupied with a hectic social life as well as business. The Grange Hotel became our next venture. Grange beach and jetty were very popular with young families and our hotel was a real family place. From there we moved to the Karwara Hotel at Elizabeth. There were many migrants in the area, and our hotel was most popular with the locals.
In 1973 our eldest son and his wife took over the running of Karwara, while our second son and his wife came to work for us at the Highbury HoteL During our time at Highbury we negotiated to buy Normans Wines from the Norman family. Murray then decided we would take a lease of the Grange Hotel again. During all these moves we were managing three hotels and a winery, with the help of our three sons. Our lucky-last hotel was Tattersalls in the city. We now live at West Lakes and are both enjoying our retirement. Our only business interests today are the winery, and our shop and office on Holbrooks Road at Underdale. Murray and I enjoy our Probus Club and St Bede’s, and so our twilight years will be among friends and family.