Composed and shared by Ceduna Old Photos, Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger.
WCS. 30 Jan 1957. Ceduna. Mrs D Coote…invited a number of old friends to morning tea, the occasion being the 77th birthday of her mother in law, Mrs E Coote. It was a complete surprise to the guest of honour. A daughter Mrs R J Betts and a daughter in law, Mrs L Coote, were also in attendance. All present sang Happy Birthday when the cake made by Mrs Betts was cut. Mrs J Chandler in a brief speech wished Mrs Coote many more birthdays…There was some time of “do you remember”… Among the interesting side lights recalled was the fact that Mrs Coote, who before her marriage was Miss Clarke, was the first postmistress at Ceduna… after her marriage Mrs Coote and her late husband managed the Murat Bay Hotel for several years. The combined ages of the ladies present totaled about 1000 years… present were Mesdames E Bowell, M Collins, Borlase, G Thomas, J Backshall, J Chandler, E Nicholls, L Clements, H B Smith and Miss I Hasting…
In 1915, the Hotel was managed by Mr and Mrs Albert Coote and the name was changed from the Murat Bay Hotel to the Ceduna Hotel that year. Mrs Pat McKenzie remembered the Hotel in the days before it was owned by the community. It had no power and no piped water, the only supply came from an underground tank outside the back of the hotel, behind the Main Bar and carried to the kitchen in buckets. The big wood burning Metters stove had two large cast iron fountains sitting there day and night to provide hot water. The only bathroom at the time had a chip heater to heat the water for the bath. A stump heap was in the back yard and staff cut stumps for the stove.
WCS. 24 April 1957. Ceduna. Mrs Hannah Elizabeth Coote, who died in the Murat Bay Hospital in March, was one of upper West Coast’s most highly esteemed pioneer women. She was a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Harry Clarke, who farmed near Streaky Bay in the early days and spent practically all her life in the Streaky Bay and Murat Bay districts. She lived with the late Mr and Mrs Tom Mudge, sen, at the Flinders Hotel, Streaky Bay in the 1890s. It was early this century when she transferred to Murat Bay where she eventually took over the running of the local post office from the late W H Betts. The PMGs Department erected a galvanized iron room about 8 ft square on the property of the Marine Board, about 50 yards east of the present jetty, and declared it an official post office.
Original Post Office Building.
As its first postmistress, the late lady knew the temperature extremes of the building, 32 deg in winter and far above the century in summer. However she endured it with typical fortitude for several years until her marriage in 1906 to the late Albert Coote. She was succeeded as postmistress by Miss Freda Stewart of Adelaide. The Coote’s settled in Ceduna and for many years Mr Coote was connected with local farming and carrying.
He worked the cargoes in and out from the trading steamers and ketches and it has been stated frequently that the efficiency in which he accomplished this work has never since been equaled.
Staff at Ceduna Hotel.
Mr and Mrs Coote were also the host and hostess of the Ceduna Hotel, then owned by the Mudges, for a number of years. At that time, the tariff was a shilling a meal and a shilling a bed. There were no butchers or bakers and these important duties were carried out by Mr and Mrs Coote themselves whilst they ran the hotel. Mrs Coote was widely known for her excellent bread, also for her kindness and efficiency as hostess of the hotel.
When they eventually moved to their own home, Mr and Mrs Coote retained the hospitality for which they had become noted in the hotel. Theirs was always an open house to decent people. A quiet, kindly and unassuming couple, Mr and Mrs Coote enjoyed the affection and esteem of all who knew them. She is survived by two sons and four daughters. Mrs Coote’s remains were taken to Adelaide and laid to rest in the North Road Cemetery, Prospect, alongside those of her late husband.