KraMar was a very well respected private hotel during the 1950s and 60s. They 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. There were also 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 parents, Lola and Keith Draper, were the Managers at KraMar for over 12 years.
My mother, Lola, 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, you would hear some amazing, life changing, many happy and some sad stories!
Hello Gayle….Great to read your memories. I stayed at Kramar from September 1964 until December 1964. and have many happy memories of living there. What a great introduction to Australia it was and what a great location. For me, coming from Belfast in Northern Ireland it was like moving to Paradise…with a ferry trip to work every day…and back. I remember you and your mum and dad well, and your brother Wayne, and many others there. Your mum was an incredibly hard worker, and although seeming a bit tough sometimes she had a heart of gold and gave us all a great start. Your dad offered a helping hand to many as well. It’s 57 years since I lived there but I’;ll never forget the place. Some names…Mel, Wilfred, Peter Cordero, Bill, Coral, Big Joe, the Rogers Family…..many more. It’s just great to read the above, and to know the place its not forgotten. Best regards
George Shaw….whose brother was Joe Shaw, whose wife was Joan.
Hi Gayle. Great to read your post. I grew up in No.19, 4 doors away from KraMar, and live there now. I walked past KraMar hundreds of times but never knew much about it. I spent a lot of time at No.15 which was more of a boarding house then, run by Mabs (everyone called her Aunt) Wilson. When her husband Laurie Wilson died quite early in the piece, Aunt took in boarders to make ends meet. I have many great memories from there from playing with Pedro the dog on the front lawn to playing cards, mainly canasta , solo and 500. When the full length billiard table arrived we had many great games. It was like heaven. Like KraMar the boarders came from everywhere, from country areas, interstate and overseas and Aunt created a homely environment for everyone. So many people loved living there. It was always a passing parade of people coming and leaving, starting out on a new life. Your parents sold KraMar to the Hambly s who ran it for a while. It’s now a single residence. Regards, Lindsay Chegwidden