Lambie Street was the original main street of Cooma before an eastward shift to Vale Street and later Sharp Street, the current main thoroughfare of this small New South Wales country town.
Lambie Street was named after John Lambie the Commissioner for Crown Lands on the Monaro from 1837 to 1852. Having now visited the street and realising that nearly every building on it was built by, or for, members of the Hain or Mawson family one has got to wonder why it wasn’t called Hain or Mawson Street. A case of pulling rank, of course.
A large number of the street’s original buildings remain (some showing their years more than others) making a stroll down the street, a distance of around 600 metres, a very worthwhile affair. In doing so please do remember, however, that apart from The Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre and the Royal Hotel, at the end of the street, all other buildings in the street are private properties and not open to visitors – admire them from the footpath.
Starting at the top of the street, where it intersects with Vulcan Street, the first building that attracted me was No 7, a pretty brick cottage. This was built by John Hain and is marked with a JH. It was the home of George Gould, a Dublin physician who offered free medical services to townsfolk.
A few steps further along the street is No 9, now the the Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre.
This small gallery (open Wed – Sun 9.30am to 4.30pm), also included as my main picture above, is well worth a visit. Entry is by gold coin donation – for non-Australians that means a $1 or $2 coin, both of which are gold in colour. The gallery features the work of local Snowy Mountains and Monaro artists – and has regular and changing exhibitions of paintings, ceramics, prints, photographs, sculptures, jewellery, craft, poetry and books. While some of the work belongs to the Gallery a large portion of the work is for sale at not altogether unreasonable prices.
The building started life as the Lord Raglan Inn, a licensed hotel named after Lord Raglan of Crimean War fame. It was built by the Hain family in 1854 making it the oldest remaining building in Lambie Street. The hotel saw tragedy the night before it opened. In an effort to dry the paint in a newly painted room in time for the opening William Hain, who was sleeping in the room that night, lit a fire in a bucket. He was overcome by deadly fumes and died.
After the hotel closed in 1860 the building had various uses, including Cooma’s first bank (set up to service the 1860 gold rush), a hospital, a private house and flats prior to it being declared a Heritage building and subsequently becoming the Raglan Gallery in 1968.
Number 19 is another fine brick building built in 1885 for the Hain family though later the home of Mr Ryrie, Honorary Magistrate assisting John Lambie.
Number 30 is two storey brick building by Joseph Hain while 32 was built in 1884 by James Mawson using locally kilned bricks. Mawson also built no 39-41,47-49 and 51-53 while 55 was built by James Hain in 1855 for a certain Dr Merryweather who ran his medical practice from here for a number of years.
At the end of Lambie Street, on the intersection with Sharp Street, is the Georgian style, heritage listed Royal Hotel, yet another Hain construction, built by James Hain in 1858.
Often affectionately referred to as “Bundy’s”, after Mable Bundy who owned and operated the hotel for several decades, the major thing that distinguishes this hotel from many others of the time is its beautiful Victorian wrought iron lattice balcony, the only one to remain in Cooma after a general purge of balconies in New South Wales in the 1950s.
Long gone though are the hotel’s first and second class dining rooms.
Internally the hotel has everything one would expect to find in a cosy Australian country pub – including dark wood panelling and open fires. A grand place to grab a drink and reflect on your walk down Lambie Street, prior to moving on, if indeed you do.
My next Cooma review– HERE
Return to the beginning of my Cooma reviews – HERE