Warrawong publican’s body exhumed

open hearth hotel warrawong c1960

Hot Dog Seller – By Geoff Reedy. Boy selling hot dogs outside the Open Hearth Hotel, Warrawong C1960

THE transfer of the license of the Post Office Hotel Quambone, about 30 miles from Coonamble, to Comrol House at the corner of King and Cowper Streets at Warrawong was granted in June 1949.
The first publican was Reginald Douglas Tolley who had served meals at the premises for the previous eight years.Tolley was given the approval to change the name of the hotel from the Post Office to the Open Hearth Hotel, as well as approval to supply and sell liquor in two additional bar rooms.
open hearth hotel warrawong 1952

The original Open Hearth Hotel at the corner of King and Cowper Streets Warrawong in 1952. The hotel later moved to the north.

Tolley was born in Adelaide. In his early days he was an orchardist and later became a vigneron in South Australia.

open hearth hotel warrawong palm bar 1952

Drinking in the Palm Bar of the Open Hearth Hotel, Warrawong in 1952.

Tolly was educated at St. Peter’s College, Adelaide and at the Roseworth Agricultural College, South Australia. He relinquished his agricultural interests when he took up residence in New South Wales. He had various hotel interests in New South Wales at different times, and was a returned soldier, a Mason, a keen follower of horse racing and a fisherman.

Tolley died while publican of the Open Hearth Hotel, under suspicious circumstances in 1952. He was survived by his wife Alma, son Douglas and two daughters, Shirley (Mrs. Doilmari) and Margaret (Mrs. Runge).
The funeral left St. Stephen’s Church of England, Port Kembla, for the Wollongong Church of England Cemetery where he was laid to rest – well, at least that’s was his family and friends thought.
The Barrier Miner reported on March 18 1952:

Body Exhumed

Wollongong. — The body of Reginald Douglas Tolley, licensee of the Open Hearth Hotel, Warrawong, near Port Kembla, was exhumed.
Tolley died on Tuesday and was buried on Wednesday.
The contents of the dead man’s stomach were sent to the Government Analyst for a report.
Police say that, although Tolley had been seriously ill there was reason to suspect that he did not die from natural causes.
The Illawarra Daily Mercury reported on Saturday 22 March 1952 that the analyst of Tolley’s body found no poison.
SYDNEY, Fri. — An analytical test of the stomach contents of Warrawong publican Reginald Tolley failed to reveal any traces of poison, police saiid today.
Tolley was licensee of the Open Hearth Hotel, Warrawong.
C.I.B. detectives ordered the exhumation of Tolley’s body from Wollongong cemetery last Sunday.
Tolley died on March 11 and was buried the next day.
Police were told tablets had been prescribed for Tolley, who had not been well for some time before his death.
Police inquiries will now be discontinued.


Categories: Illawarra Hotels, Publicans

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