Mysteries beyond the city limits…(at Bateman’s Bay)

By Batemans Bay Bed and Breakfast • April 1st, 2012

In the Weekend Australian (of March 31- April 1) Greg Sheridan writes in the column FORUM:


“ I suspect that in the course of a generation we have gone from a pub culture to a café culture.  But there is a strange lacuna in our national creative arts. And that is the question of small country towns.  Are our small towns just suburbs that are a bit isolated from each other ? Is there anything at all distinctive in growing up and living in a small town in Australia ?……


I have very little direct experience of Australian small country towns and so they remain a disturbing mystery to me.  I blame this partly on our failure, certainly compared with Britain or Ireland, at bed and breakfast style accommodation.  Again, rather like the American’s, our small town casual accommodation is dominated by motels often perfectly fine in their way, but much less sociable, inviting and revealing than a B & B.


A few years ago my wife and I stayed at a perfect B&B in the Cotswolds, chosen, as opposed to a self catering cottage, because we wanted to socialise with people over breakfast..  The B&B owners were remnants of that splendid British politeness and literate, understated friendliness…..


Every morning began with a friendly and (useful) chat. We met the other guests, including a magnificent and ancient colonel, who had attended Oxford as a World War II veteran and his almost equally ancient wife, who was doing the driving in their twilight tour of Britain.


Recently we drove from Sydney to Melbourne, for the first time along the coast road., and stayed overnight at the far south coast town of Eden…. ( but it could have been  Bateman’s Bay ! )….  The town was pretty as a peach. The motel – perfectly clean, spacious, the T.V. working and so forth – nonetheless offered a soulless experience compared with the Cotswolds B & B. Our fellow motel guests may have been infinitely interesting, but there was no natural way of getting to know them, or our motel hosts.


As we drove through the south coast towns – (like Bateman’s Bay)  I marvelled at their physical beauty. I had never before been further south of Huskisson on the south coast and it strikes me as one of the most naturally breathtaking drives in Australia, if not the planet.


But each of the towns remained a complete mystery.  I could see their cafes and antique shops, their little bits of local industry….but is living in Kiama any different from living in Bateman’s Bay? Is either any different from living in a coastal suburb of Sydney or Melbourne ?


This is for me a secret at the heart of our nation. I have no idea of the answer. And our literature doesn’t help much either.




To uncover some of the mysteries of our beautiful south coast towns – like Bateman’s Bay – and get some answers, you couldn’t do much better than to book a weekend at  No.1 Leigh Street, – with Andrea and Ross as your hosts.  Where  both  British (and Aussie style) politeness and literate, understated friendliness are  ‘on tap,’



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