An ode to the tragedy of the Jetty Road

Ocean Street from the Hill, early 1900s. In Coffs Collections. https://coffs.recollect.net.au/nodes/view/53231

It is not a new phenomenon for a shire council to receive complaints about the condition of local roads. But it is uncommon for the situation to inspire poetry.

In April 1918, an intrepid Minister for Local Government made a journey to several towns on the North Coast. His itinerary was carefully detailed in the newspaper of the day:

Partial itinerary for J D Fitzgerald’s visit to the North Coast¬† – MINISTER’S TOUR. (1918, March 22). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195809497

The unusual part of this itinerary was the mention of a particular street in a particular town: the Jetty Road in Coffs Harbour. It was heavily used as the main thoroughfare for all traffic to and from the Jetty.

COFF’S JETTY ROAD. (1917, November 21). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195825755

A few years before the Ministerial visit, there was some competition for road space and the concern about the condition of the road continued. So the opportunity to highlight the issue was eagerly grasped by the newspapers of the day, in both longform and poetry.

A bullock team at the Pier Hotel with Bob and Jack Wake, Alex Crombie and baby Vic Crombie sitting on the lead bullock, c. 1914 . Coffs Collections. https://coffs.recollect.net.au/nodes/view/45613
Transcript of the following article
FitzGerald’s Finale. (1918, April 20). Coffs Harbour Advocate (NSW : 1907 – 1942; 1946 – 1954), p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article187844225

Fitzgerald remained as Minister, and the state of the Jetty Road remained for some years.

COFF’S-JETTY ROAD. (1919, April 22). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p. 5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195162712
 Pier Hotel on Ocean Street, June 1924. In Coffs Collections. https://coffs.recollect.net.au/nodes/view/48065