Hallidays Point Tavern
At the Tavern, we are focused on delivering the best customer experience by combining great food, exquisite wines and beer, and matched with excellent customer service.
Hallidays Point Tavern is located at the heart of Hallidays Point in New South Wales which is a popular destination for its spectacular coastal towns and rainforests.
For more than 30 years, the Tavern has been a favourite spot for locals and tourists to enjoy a delightful meal, to relax over a few schooners of beer or have fun with friends and families. Talk to us about hosting your function today.
A place to play
Once considered unusable grazing land by the Australian Agricultural Company, the coastal land of the Manning was handed back to the Crown who classified it as part of the Gloucester Gold Fields. The English Scottish and Australian Bank Limited purchased 368 acres of this ‘unusable’ land at Black Head. The acreage encompassed the site where the Hallidays Point Tavern now stands. The land was sold to John (Jack) Hoy who used the land as a dairy farm. He built two homes, one on the hill near Coromont Drive at Red Head and the other, which still stands today, on Black Head Road. Jack Hoy sold the land to a retiring Thomas (Tom) Lynch c1960. Tom quickly sold off twenty-two acres, where Beachfront Over 50’s Community is located, and on the remaining land ran beef cattle. From the mid to late 1960s Tom, now fully retired, handed the land to his eldest son Brian, and Brian’s wife Carol. They established a piggery and a very successful pea farm. When Brian decided to move to Papua New Guinea in 1969, Tom put the land up for sale. It was Tom’s youngest son Roger who purchased the land. Roger had plans to subdivide the land into ten acre lots but his plans were rejected by the Manning Council. The Council had requested residential lots be included. Roger eventually sold the land which was further divided into multiple sized smaller acreages. A twenty-five-acre parcel of this division remained dormant for a few years until 1975.
Three weeks after arriving in Australia from Italy in 1966, Mr Erveno (Elvis) Castelletto, a builder by trade, purchased land in Forster and by 1972 moved there permanently. It wasn’t long before Elvis decided that his son Girolamo (Jim) needed more room to run around, a place to play. The decision to buy the twenty-five acres at Black Head was made the very day Elvis was shown the land, and in 1977 he became the official owner. He built a garage that was meant to house a caravan, but his wife Luciana (Lucy) suggested partitions for two bedrooms. It became the family home, welcoming their daughter Alida soon after they moved in. The home is now the Hallidays Point Senior Citizens’ Centre. Early 1980, the building trade had slowed considerably and Elvis needed to find work. Remembering a discussion about the lack of accommodation at Black Head he decided to build a motel and restaurant to sell. Jim Edmond, a truck driver from Forster, told Elvis of some cheap bricks in Newcastle and a deal was made to deliver them to Black Head. By the end of January 1982, the Elga Motel and Restaurant was built. The name Elga is derived from the first initial of the family member’s first names, Elvis, Lucy, Girolamo (Jim) and Alida. The restaurant was a separate building to the motel and, initially, was single storey. Later a second storey was built as a residence for future owners or managers. The restaurant was licensed to sell alcohol to diners only. Elvis’s plans to sell the motel and restaurant together proved difficult, so the decision was made to sell the restaurant and strata title the motel.
Around 1993, Ray and May Newell purchased the restaurant from Elvis. The restaurant became a bar, leaving a small portion as a dining room. One of the girls (name unknown at time of writing), who worked in the kitchen, suggested the name ‘The Proud Aussie Tavern’ and this was quickly agreed to by Ray. He had the first extensions built to expand the bar area in 1996. In that same year hired Bill and Anna Wilson to manage The Proud Aussie Tavern. Bill and Anna were given permission to run the Tavern, as it was known by locals, as if it were their own. Bill applied to TAB New South Wales (NSW) and, after much research requested by TAB authorities, a place for the locals to have a punt was up and running by the end of 2000. Bill and Anna ran the Tavern for six years. In 2002, Ray and May sold the Tavern to the partnership of Wayne Judd and Ben Kelsall. Ben had family members willing to manage the Tavern, Bill and Anna Wilson’s services were no longer required. Because of their advocacy towards the community and its facilities, Bill and Anna had endeared themselves to the locals. It was a sad day for many when they left.
The Proud Aussie Tavern became ‘The Aussie Tavern’ and the new partnership quickly derived plans to renovate and expand. After a couple of years Ben split his share and sold a quarter to Ian Reece and the other quarter to Sam Bennett. Sam became the new manager. This partnership worked together for a few years and the continuum carried on until Ian and Ben decided it was time to return to their respective home towns. Sam moved on and Ben regained the shares previously sold to Ian and Sam. In due course sold his freehold share to Paul Donoghue. Paul had owned pubs before and saw the Tavern as a good opportunity that had good infrastructure. On August 2, 2010 Paul and his wife Sylvia, in addition to being part owners, became the managers of the Tavern. Under this new partnership of Wayne Judd and Paul Donoghue the Tavern had a third name change, although the initial name put forward did not bode well with Paul. The Point had no connection to land, place or community so it became the Hallidays Point Tavern. The renovation plans came into fruition and the tavern’s bar area and dining room expanded again, internally and externally, entering into modernity. As the local area grew in popularity for visitors and residents alike, the Tavern’s popularity also grew. Paul and Sylvia developed and managed the flourishing Tavern for seven years. Making the decision to retire from active work, but still being part of the Tavern, Paul, in collaboration with Wayne, leased the Tavern to Guy and Kerri-lee Safran in 2017.
Hallidays Point Tavern started as The Elga Restaurant that incorporated a small dining room no larger than an average-sized family room, and a half dozen wooden shelves resting on a mirrored background, surrounded by deep-red coloured tiles for a bar. The Bar has now easily tripled in size that includes over twelve assorted beer taps, just floating beyond a natural wooden bar adorned with embossed, lightly covered tiles, highlighted by black shelving standing behind and the dining room can seat well over one hundred cliental.
By Tracey Wilson
Resources: Bill Wilson, interview by Tracey Wilson, recording, Tuncurry, 22 April 2021, in author’s possession.Brian Lynch, interview by Tracey Wilson, recording, Black Head, 5 April 2021, in author’s possession.
Elvis Castelletto, interview by Tracey Wilson, recording, Taree, 20 April 2021, in author’s possession.
Maps and Land Registry, Department of Lands Registry NSW, https://hlrv.nswlrs.com.au
Roger Lynch, interview by Tracey Wilson, recording, Forster, 21 April 2021, in author’s possession.
The Elga – Now Opened, Advertisement, Manning River Times, 5 March 1982, p.33