During the early years of tourism young people in station wagons loaded with surf boards arrived in Forster. They slept in their cars or on the beaches, mingled with other young people at the Colony Fun Parlour or local picture houses and generally brought a holiday feel to the area. Families preferred to stay at guesthouses such as Tudor House, Log Cabin Lodge or Warriewood Guesthouse, to name a few, or at the accommodation offered by the Bellevue or Lakes and Ocean Hotels.1
Accommodation was mostly owned by local identities who maintained the facilities themselves, relying on visitors for an income. Cabins were basic but the atmosphere friendly and for those who preferred camping, the Council Camping area was right next to Main Beach.
Before the Forster Tuncurry Bridge was opened in 19592 people could cross from both sides of the lake on the Alma G II, a passenger ferry which required payment but was great fun.3 The vehicular ferry was free for use by cars, buses and trucks, as well as passengers. A launch towed the vehicular ferry negotiating sandbars, as it was not guided by wire ropes like ordinary ferries. The sandbars were continually built up and scoured away by the tide creating sand ‘islands’ in new areas of the crossing.
The bridge united the towns but it took a bit longer to unite the people, both communities very passionate about their particular towns. But as the years pass old trends disappear and now Forster Tuncurry, or Tuncurry Forster, however you wish to express it, is a vibrant, modern twin town with luxury accommodation where tourists flock in their thousands to enjoy the restaurants, scenery, sea and sand.
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 SMH, 26 June 1948, 20.