KraMar was a very well respected private hotel during the 1950’s and 60’s. The Managers, my parents, had links to the Immigration Department and had many “Ten Pound Poms” live at KraMar as they arrived straight from the ships, and stayed till they found their way around and found job security and formed friendships. They also had young men and women from country areas staying, who had come to the “big smoke” to forge a new and exciting life for themselves. Because of the closeness of living, and there being often 35 to 40 people as guests, people got to know each other quickly, and many forged lifelong friendships which exist to this day. Many romances also bloomed, and there were upwards of 12 Weddings from amongst guests. As most had no family here, my Dad was asked to give the brides away and often because of financial constraints the Reception was at KraMar, with everyone invited.
My mother, Lola Draper, was the mainstay of the property. She managed everything, cooked 2 meals a day, 7 days a week, cleaned, serviced rooms and was Dear Dorothy to lots of bleeding hearts and homesick bodies. She was affectionately known as “Mrs D” to most guests. Week days she cooked breakfast and dinner, and on the weekends, breakfast and lunch. She and my father often went out on Saturday nights, often taking guests with them, and often not back till the wee hours. Next morning she would be back up at 6am for the breakfast shift. If they did not go out, there would often be all night Five Hundred or Canasta card games which were very competitive – my Mum was a master of both and taught me well. There was also a Dart Board on the Verandah and many tournaments took place, with a beer or two the wager for the winner. As a young girl in those circumstances, I probably saw and heard a lot of life that someone of my age should not have, but at the same time it has stood me in good stead in my life and I have very fond memories of our time at KraMar and am still in contact with some I met there to this day. If the walls could talk, folk would hear some amazing, life changing, many happy and some sad stories!