History with Brian James: Well-known storekeeper dies

Billy Hayes. Photo: contributed

Billy Hayes. Photo: contributed

'Billy' Hayes well-known storekeeper dies

The death on Sunday of one of Young's best known and respected storekeepers will leave a gap in the business personal of the town. Mr W (Billy) Hayes was born in Canton, China on November 11, 1875.

He arrived at Launceston, Tasmania on the Mamu on March 17, 1896, he was 20 years of age. Until 1908 he lived in Sydney, Hay and Narrandera. He was in a business partnership at Narrandera and at Temora he worked for Man Sing & Co. He then moved on to Young where he worked in on Lee's store.

By 1910 he was working for himself in a fruit, vegetable and grocery store on the eastern side of Main Street near the corner of Lightning Lane and Main Street. In those days businesses worked long hours and the Bullock wagon drivers would awaken him at 4am by cracking their whips on the upstairs window. When the business expanded he took over the premises occupied by WR Tate and the Young Race Club (now in Main Street where IGA has incorporated it into their store).

By this time he was selling furniture and crockery as well as the other lines.

He married Henrietta Young, who predeceased him on March 14,1939.

Mr Hayes leaves three sons and two daughters - Elma (Mrs Me Ling, Enfield), William, Enfield, Herbert, Laura, Stanley, Young, and Betty, Potts Point.

After building a large home in McLerie Street in 1925 he moved his business to the Federal Hotel building on the corner of Main and Short Street where they traded as W Hayes and Sons.

He had already purchased several houses when the depression occurred. Mr Hayes permitted his tenants to live rent free. He helped many 'swaggies' of this period with free items from his precious stock of groceries.

On Monday morning, November 5, 1946, the stores entire stock was destroyed in a fire, as was three-quarters of the building. Insurances did not cover a quarter of the value of the building.

The firm had enjoyed a good reputation for many years many expressions of regret from the community were received. Mr Hayes was questioned as to what he intended to do.

"We'll start again", he replied and not only rebuilt but added a large addition and retained interest in the business.

In 1956 his brother, Mr NY Hayes, from Canada paid a visit, they had not seen each other for 60 years. On October, 1959 he was naturalised as an Australian citizen, something he had been striving for many years. He became ill on Christmas night. He was admitted to the Sacred Heart Hospital where he passed away on Sunday morning.

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon from St John's Church of England. The Reverend Harris, of Bribbaree, conducted the service. The funeral was very largely attended. Pallbearers were sons Bill, Herb and Stan, and nephew Bert Quay.

  • (The Young Witness, Wednesday, January 1960).

A horse racing story by 'A Native'.

On 19-07-1862 a Diggers' race meeting was advertised to be held at Mr Donohoe's Weddin Mountain Inn on the three mile rush on Main Creek, and it was specifically advertised that James Goodluck, esquire was the judge. Prior to this Donohoe had kept the Weddin Mountains Inn at the Weddin Mountains but sold out to WC Turland and came up to this new rush, carrying the old name of his Inn with him.

The advertisement shows that it was a tin pot affair, with small prize money. James Goodluck was butcher on the field. The position of clerk of the course, amongst the diggers holes, was held very satisfactorily by JC Clark, the landlord of the Star Hotel in Lambing Flat.

One incident reported by the 'Courier' was a despicable trick played by a would be sporting butcher.

He was directed by the clerk of the course to refresh one of the horses with a bottle of ale, instead he drank the larger himself and gave the horse a bucket of water, for which the clerk of the course very properly horse-whipped him on the course. (Young Courier, Friday, June 29, 1934).

  • Historian Brian James contributes his column to the Young Witness each Tuesday on behalf the Young Historical Society.