KraMar Private Hotel

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Gayle Cale nee Draper
Late 1950s

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!

Gayle Cale nee Draper · 7 September 2021

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Hi Gayle….George Shaw again. I recognise at least one face in the photo …Jimmy, the postman who came from Ballina. The other faces are too blurred. I see the old place is now a private home, and has been renovated hugely. But the exterior ….from the viewpoint of the ferry…is still recognisable….that little attic balcony room still there….and I believe the old tree in the front garden is still there. Happy days.
George Shaw

— George Shaw · 29 October 2021, 10:11 · #

G’day Gayle , you have certainly rolled back the years and brought back some happy memories of Kramar .
I was one of the happy crowd that stayed at Kramar , my first address in Australia. I was the “ good looking “ young Irish guy that arrived in 1961 . I remember you as that little girl who knew everyone. Like many I went out on Saturday nights to the RSL in the city with Keith and Lola . My brother George arrived in 1964 and stayed awhile at Kramar. We have often thought a very good book could be written about Kramar and the many people who stayed there. You may remember my wife Joan , the blonde Scots girl we met in Kramar , like many couples .
Great to read your write up ,I have sent it on to my brother.
Best wishes , Joe

— Joe shaw · 29 October 2021, 10:28 · #

G’ day Gayle , I well remember the Saturday nights at the RSL in the city with Keith and Lola . There were some very interesting characters came and went at Kramar , It was always a friendly place and no one was ever left out . There were Poms , Irish , Scots a few Kiwis and a number of Aussies called Kramar home . I remember a patrol officer who served in New Guinea always stayed at Kramar when on leave. Keith was a great man when some young fellas could not find work , Keith helped in their quest. Apart from you and Wayne , Gayle your Mum seemed to be everyone’s Mum and always had a sympathetic ear . Great you have posted this Kramar story .
Take care , Joe ( I was the Irish Guy) .

— Joe shaw · 29 October 2021, 11:11 · #