For over a century, tourists have frequented the seaside village of Old Bar. The building on the corner of David and Clerke Streets was, and still is, central to the ‘vibe’ of the town, providing music, food and accommodation.1
In 1922 Edward Badger, who was caretaker of the Old Bar Pavilion, purchased the single story dwelling and opened a boarding house.2 In 1928 amid financial difficulties, it was transferred into the name of Edward’s wife Mary Lucy and became known as “Mrs Badger’s Boarding House”.3
The summer of 1930 saw the building open as a dance hall.4 The large downstairs verandah was converted into an open-air dance floor with a small stage and piano tucked in the corner.5 Bands travelled from around the state to play at the Saturday night dances held over Christmas.6 A second story was built to accommodate 16 guest rooms while a camp ground housed the overspill of guests with basic amenities, tents for hire and a tennis court at the rear.7 Following Saturday night dances, Mary would provide around 100 lunches for Surf Club members and guests the next day.8
WWII disrupted life and the Badgers’ five sons all enlisted to fight. Edward himself joined the Home Defence Force and worked at the Concord Military Hospital in Sydney. During this time the guest house was closed for four years.9 Mary carried on the establishment after Edward died in 1955 but eventually sold it to Cyrus Hayes in 1960.10
Hayes renamed it “Sea Breeze Guest House” and developed a grocery store and garage.11 The property was renovated again when the Mitchells bought it in 1973 and named it “Pacific Sounds”.12 Today the “Boogie Woogie Beach House” (as it is now called) continues the tradition of great music, food and accommodation being named Number One “Best Music Hotel on the Planet to Completely Rock Your World”.13
Author: Janine Roberts
Sponsored by the Old Bar Manning Point Business & Community Association through a Royal Australian Historical Society NSW Cultural Grant.
1 In 2020, the building is called the Boogie Woogie Beach House with accommodation upstairs and the Flow Bar downstairs.
2 NSW Land Registry Services Vol-Fol: 2423-228; Northern Champion, 5 March 1919, 2.
3 NSW State Archives: NRS 13658, INX-59-2291; NSWSA: NRS 15318, [10/53092].
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 26 November 1930, 5.
5 NSWSA: NRS 15318, [10/53092].
6 MRT and ANCDNSW, 22 January 1936, 4; NC, 9 December 1931, 2.
7 The Sun, 5 March 1931, 26; Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 26 April 1938, 1.
8 MRT and ANCDNSW, 26 November 1930, 5.
9 MRT and ANCDNSW, 6 December 1941, 6; 8 August 1942, 2; 31 March 1945, 2.
10 NSW LRS Vol-Fol: 2423-228; NSW BDM, Death Index Edward Badger No. 14121/1955.
11 NSWSA: NRS 15318, [10/53092].
12 NSW LRS Vol-Fol: 2423-228; Notes collated by Peter Dahdah.