October 16 - 22, 2011: Issue 28
Leon Houreux 1831 – 27th of April, 1907
A man of energy and determination, with a penchant for fine wine and food, Leon Houreux also had a taste for creating. His murals or paintings, which covered the walls of the Rock Lily at Mona Vale, were a source of delight and bemusement to guests.
Originally describing himself as a farmer of Narrabeen, some sources state living in a hut at Warriewood and employed as a timber-cutter, Leon was also rumoured to be one of those who had an illegal still in the farming community Pittwater was during his tenure here.
Arriving, with wife Marie, from France and leaving daughter Justine Leontine at home. Leon Houreux had a look around first to decide where he would settle, travelling to South Australia in 1882.
Records of Marie disappear before he settled into his hotelier life.
There is reason to believe he may have been associated with Gustave Adolphe Lix, who came out to Australia from France for the International Exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne, then stayed on, is shown in possession of 640 acres where one of the origins of Mullet Creek flows towards Irrawong's 'water pond'.
He may have been associated with the building of or cutting down trees for The Ingleside Powder Mill.
The family that saw a shift towards saving what was being spoiled through ignorance and unawareness of the 'half life' of some chemicals once commonly used in our waterways and poured into the good earth, has a surname of Heydon and it is in a cancelled Land Map of 1905 that we see the 640 acres of Warriewood Gustave Lix land has now been ascribed to J K Heydon. Born in or close to 1836, Monsieur Lix would have been around 50 years of age when his name was affixed to land in Warriewood in 1886, the same year Leon Houreaux, another French gentleman 'farmer' and timber cutter in Warriewood prior to then, applied for a publicans licence
In 1887 he had applied for a Naturalisation certificate, required by non-British subjects who wished to own land, and purchased property at what became known, for a while, as the area of ‘Rock Lily’. Here he built an outstanding premises consisting of ‘THE HOTEL contains 10 Bedrooms, Large Bar, 3 Dining rooms, 4 Sitting-rooms, kitchen, 2 storerooms, large verandah, capable of sitting 120 guests, commodious stabling accommodation, also Cottage of 4 rooms, etc. THE GROUNDS surrounding the Hotel comprise an area of 4ac. lrd. 20per:. and are laid out in orchard and vegetable garden, flower garden, vine- yard etc. The whole most artistically arranged, including several aviaries. Immediately opposite the Hotel are RECREATION GROUNDS of 1 ACRE in a tent, fitted up for Pleasure and Pastime.'
He also possessed a large stable of horses and coaches, 'EXTENSIVE COACHING STABLES, occupied by Messrs. Cooper and Co., Coach Proprietors. They comprise stable (24 stalls), coach Houses, workshops, blacksmith' forge, shelter sheds, feed rooms, etc. THE LAND about on to the hotel site, and has 324 feet frontage to VINEYARD-STREET, with a depth of 160 feet.'(1.)
In 1904 Leon was attempting to sell his establishment and retire. He would have been 73 years of age by then and was in the process of building another home, of sandstone this time, perhaps his retirement place, at Newport; 'NEWPORT. A WATERSIDE PROPERTY, comprising Lots 4 to 7, Section E, Newport Township, having 264 feet frontage to BEACONSFIELD-STREET, with a depth of over 200 feet, extending to the WATERS of PITTWATER, together with the weatherboard COTTAGE and UNFINISHED STONE RESIDENCE thereon.'(2.)
His daughter Leontine had arrived and on May 28th, 1906, in Sydney, married by Rev. Dunstan, married Auguste Briquet, who is recorded as being a Mona Vale electrician.
What can be sourced of records of Leon's dealings indicates a colourful character not above ensuring his premises continued despite his own characteristics. Having established a coach transport from Manly, where he also had stables, to his premises at the Rock Lily, his abandon and speed may have caused his licence as coach transporter to be almost cancelled in 1892. After entertaining a group of gentlemen in March of that year, one of the ‘Honourable’ guests then furnishing him with a letter read at a May meeting of the Metropolitan Transit Commissioners. These gents clearly didn’t cancel his licence as 120 of them, and their friends, had a picnic on Tuesday the 18th of October of the same year. 'Foot races' and other entertainments filled their morning on the recreation ground opposite the premises. After this picnic they were treated to dinner and dancing inside the Hotel itself.
Reputed to be a lover of the grape, and growing his own vintages that rivalled the imports from France he also served, a large man of 20 stone, this dynamo also had a love of history and painting. The photos here, from 1912 and taken by Lionel, brother of Norman Lindsay, folk who visited, show his daughter Leontine and husband Auguste inside the Rock Lily with some of the murals still intact.
Leon’s died on April 27th, 1907, a day after the Narrabeen Hotel burnt to the ground. This premises had been taken over by his managress of over 20 years, whom some mistok as 'Madame Houreux', Charlotte Boutin. Leon, after such a long association, obviously had some investment, monetary, emotional or personal, in this establishment and its total loss the day before his death would indicate the stress or distress his former manager was now in greatly affected him.
In 1910 Charlotte, who liked placing ‘In Memoriam’ notices in the Sydney Morning Herald, stated ‘with regret, your friend, C.Boutin, while marking his passing. You never know what goes on behind closed doors or within other’s hearts but it seems that decades of laughter and bonhomie were suddenly cut from the air of 1907 Pittwater. Leon was 76 when he passed, a good age and had lived an obviously full with the good things, including hard work, life.
From 1. Advertising. (1904, January 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved September 21, 2011, from
2. Advertising. (1907, September 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW :
1842 - 1954), p. 25. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from
In File Below
Charlotte Boutin History
Leon Houreux research.pdf
Size : 133.232 Kb
Type : pdf
Images; Top; Photo of Leon Houreux from Sydney Morning Herald (TROVE), Second and Third; Pic No: a2005210 and a2005211, Leontine and Auguste Briquet. Last: ‘Rock Lily Toughs and their Tarts’ Pic No: a2005209, all from Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay, courtesy of the State Library of NSW.
Pittwater Restaurants You Could Stay At The Rock Lily Hotel – Mona Vale
Rock Lily Hotel [Narrabeen] from State Library of NSW Album: Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay. Image No.: a2005211h - Auguste and Justine Leontine Briquet are on front entranceway
Pittwater Restaurants You Could Stay At – The Rock Lily Hotel – Mona Vale
As we head into the last weeks of Summer, and towards the golden days of Autumn, a run of four Pittwater Restaurants you could also stay in, and enjoy the place around you, may inspire a few days of fun away from household chores where good food and great memories may be created.
A menagerie, walls of murals, fine French fare and even a Recreation Ground, a few references to possible risqué adventures being available, and even the influence of French and Belgium peoples on the then 110 year old ‘colony’ of Sydney Town and New South Wales itself form part of the establishment of this roadhouse on the way to the estuary. Adventures, and even misadventures on the coach lines that brought people here.
The first establishment that springs to mind, and is still open and trading, is the Rock Lily in Mona Vale.
On the March 23rd, 1878 The Illustrated Sydney News dedicated an Issue as ‘Edition Extraordinaire Pour L’Exposition Universelle’ in which, alongside English, were articles printed in French – filled with information on New South Wales, and wonderful illustrations:
Illustrated Sydney News. SYDNEY, MARCH 23, 1878.
ON the reception of an invitation from the President of the Paris Exposition by the Government of New South Wales, a Royal Commission, composed of leading practical men, was constituted to take under its charge the whole subject, and to devise such means as were best adapted to secure adequate representation of the colony at Paris. With great self-sacrifice and public spirit, the Commission have sat for many months, and have been able to secure for exhibition a large number of articles illustrating the resources, the progress, and the capabilities of the colony in every branch of useful products. A glance at the catalogue of the exhibits in the New South Wales Department will not fail to astonish those who have thought of New South Wales as but a wild or half-civilised community.
An endeavour has been made, also, to take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded for disseminating reliable information on the colony over the European Continent, and in the present issue of the Illustrated Sydney Nexus will be found as full details as could be conveyed in the brief space at on command. Sufficient, however, will have been said in the text to enable distant readers to form an accurate idea of the condition of the colony; and our illustrations will materially aid in impressing readers with the magnitude of its progress.
In the tabular view of the relative importance of the Southern group colonies, an attempt has been made to convey in a striking manner the greater material advancement of New South Wales under the simple system of Free Trade as compared with those ports where a system of Protection prevails. This is illustrated not only by the shipping returns, but by nearly every item in the table.
The view would have been more complete had we been able to content the items throughout the whole runs of production, but the necessary figures were not to hand. The produce of wool, maize, sugar, coal, iron, wine, kerosene shale, copper, and tin by this colony is, as will be seen in another part, of tremendous importance, but, large -as are the figures given, they do not nearly represent the total yield for the colony. In the case of our wool produce, it is a matter commonly known that a vast quantity of this article produced in the Southern and Western districts finds its way to Victorian and South Australian ports, and goes to swell the returns for those colonies; and the same remark may be made of copper and wine, the whole of the produce of the Murray District vineyards going to Melbourne. In the articles- coal, maize, and sugar, we have a growing commerce with the more southerly colonies unable to produce these articles. In sheep, New South Wales possesses nearly fourteen millions in excess of any of her neighbours. In. cattle, she exceeds Victoria by more than two millions, and in horses, by nearly two hundred thousand.
Attention is directed to the article under the heading Revenue and Finance, which it is thought will excite the interest of European students of financial affairs, as showing the very high position the Colony occupies relatively to older communities.
Gold, which was at one time thought to constitute the chief attraction of the colony, though still important, is shown to have yielded place to such useful products as Maize, Sugar, and Coal-articles giving rise to much legitimate trade with other parts of the world. The decline in the produce of gold is largely due to the fact that more profitable employment offers in other directions, though eA^en now not atithe of the capabilities of the country are developed.
Manufactures are steadily increasing. Leather, Tweed Cloth, Paper, Wine, Beer, Mineral Waters, Iron and Iron-work, Tobacco, Agricultural Implements, Rope and Cordage, Chemicals, Railway Materials, Hats, Earthen and Glassware are growing rapidly, and many of these industries are securing the market for the local producer ; and this, too, without any artificial aid in the shape of protection. The colony maybe, fairly congratulated on its material progress in every direction. There are large inland towns rivalling the seaport in all that points to the country's advancement. The number of townships enjoying the advantage of regular postal communication amounts now to more than nine hundred, and there is a reticulation of nearly ten thousand miles of telegraph wires. In the matter, too, of Railways, the lines finished, projected, and in course of formation measure about 1,600 miles.
All these advantages, with a territory of 180,000,000 acres not yet alienated, point to a grand future, and at no distant date.
QUAND le Gouvernement de la Nou-velle Galles du Sud regut l'invitationdu Président de l'Exposition de Paris, il se forma un Comité Royal d'hommespratiques et influents, pour s'occuperde cette affaire et prendre les mesuresles mieux adaptées pour assurer unerepresentation adéquate de la colonie.Ce comité a travaillé pendant plusieursmois non sans courage et dévouement,et a fini par obtenir des articles devant…. THE Illustrated Sydney News. (1878, March 23). Illustrated Sydney News and New South Wales Agriculturalist and Grazier(NSW : 1872 - 1881), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63334798 European Mail Day’ – Illustration from special Edition Extraordinaire Pour L’Exposition Universelle’ of Sydney Illustrated News
The 24 pages that make this Issue, with their articles all repeated in French, may have contributed to the influx of people from France. It certainly may have been one of the factors that attracted one Leon Houreaux, a Parisian, who arrived first in Melbourne and after a quick side trip to the now famous for its wines state of South Australia, came to Sydney:
DEPARTURES FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Per Wendouree—Mr. Charles Maud, Mr. Leon Houreux, Mrs. Marie Houreux, and Mr. Sanderson. SHIPPING. (1882, September 9). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 30. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160161544
Leon is listed as aged 38 and Marie as aged 34 in the Public Record - Shipping Lists, Unassisted, of Victoria. Their name is spelt Hourex in this instance.
City of Adelaide, A S N Co 's s.s. , 1,000 tons, David Walker, for Sydney Passengers-saloon. Mr and Mrs Houreux, Mr and Mrs Hodgkins, Mr and Mrs G Godfrey, Mr and Mrs D Cashmore, Mesdames G Anderson .... Masters Lomax, Godfrey, and 30 In the Steerage W Siddeley and Co , agents. SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. HOBSON'S BAY. (1882, September 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11554410
ANGLO_ FRANCO HAIR DRESSING SALOON. Special attention to ladies and children. Hot baths, 1s. HOUREUX. 96 King-street.Advertising. (1883, May 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28373582
In Yabbying In Warriewood’s Creeks we ran some items relating to who owned the land in this valley of Pittwater in its early development years – here another ‘exhibition’ attracted Gustave Adolphe Lix, who came out to Australia in 1879 from France for the International Exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne, then stayed on, is shown in possession of 640 acres where one of the origins of Mullet Creek flows towards Irrawong's 'water pond'.
Among the passengers by the mail steamer Siam, which brought the Japanese Commissioner, were M. Gustave Lix and M. Bourdil, the former of whom is the commercial agent for the French exhibitors, and the latter a gentleman to whom has been entrusted the duty of fitting up the French Court and arranging the French exhibits. M. Lix was secretary to the French Commissions at the exhibitions of London, Vienna, and Philadelphia. The Exhibition. (1879, July 26). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 147. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161870268
Lix 's land in Warriewood may have been where Leon Houreaux first came to Pittwater. Some sources state by March 1886 a bearded, 20-stone Frenchman named Leon Houreaux, occupied a hut in the Warriewood area and worked as a woodcutter (1.) . While he was doing this work he was also making plans to build a house of eight rooms:
NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR A PUBLICAN'S CONDITIONAL LICENSE. I, LEON HOUREUX, of Narrabeen, Farmer, do hereby give notice that I desire to obtain, and will at the next Licensing Court to be held at Sydney on the 10th day of July next, apply for a certificate authorising the issue of a publican's conditional licence for a house to be erected at Narrabeen, and to contain eight rooms, exclusive of those required for the use of the family, set in conformity with the provisions of section SO of the Licensing Act of 1882. Dated the 18th day of June, 1885, Signature of applicant-LEON HOUREUX. Address-Farmer, Narrabeen. Advertising. (1885, June 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28362579
A little conjecture, perhaps, on the building of the Rock Lily Hotel:
The Massacres of Mona Vale - By L. V. KEPERT
These three battle-scene murals were photographed last week at the old Rock Lily Hotel, Mona Vale. They were painted about 60 years ago by Leon Houreux, the original owner of the establishment, and each of them occupies a whole wall.
A YOUTHFUL couple stood recently under a tangled- wilderness of grapevines and surveyed their new purchase. At one stroke they had bought a home, a houseful of Sydney's ghosts, a possible buried treasure, and a unique art gallery. They had also bought some crumbling ruins and a heap of white ants.
The historic old Rock Lily Hotel at Mona Vale has found a new owner. Local residents, who have passed its weary-looking exterior now for years without more than a casual glance, have discovered a new interest in its desolation. So have visitors who have peered through Its gaping windows at the quaint murals that decorate the plastered interior wherever there is still plaster. So has the grey-haired generation of Sydney's gay dogs of the nineties, to whom the Rock Lily used to mean week-ends of high-spirited fun.
IT must be nearly 60 years now since Leon Houreux strode down from his hut in the scrub at Warriewood to setup the hotel beside the track north from Narrabeen. Leon was in his early thirties, still speaking English with a heavy accent brought from his native France, but full of vigour and ambition. He had proved... a hard-working timber-getter in the area, but he had proved it in other ways as well. Part of the money for his hotel may have come from timber, but most of it must have been earned by his illicit still, which he worked in the isolation of the scrub covered creek.
Rock Lily 1893 picture: A Christmas Holiday Trip. (1893, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63104125
Rock Lily circa 1895 - 1905 - Christmas postcard
The Rock Lily was certainly in full swing by 1887. Probably it had been building it a year or two before that first crudely of timber and then of good solid bricks carted from two miles up the road where T. Austin's kiln operated for the Sydney building trade. The completed hotel was a snug little building-tiny by modern standards-low-roofed, pleasantly shaded, set against the dark forest covered hills to the west. The home distillery went into it to help make it snug-, too- so tradition says now. Why else should the host have planted wine grapes at the rear, and be seen constantly sphering berries' from the wild lantana? The Massacres of Mona Vale. (1945, February 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17944197
Mr Houreaux succeeded in building this premises and in obtaining a licence as a publican. The Rock Lily Hotel was open prior to February 1886 and perhaps soon after July 1885, as it was being used as a landmark in this advertisement and the gentleman won his licence:
Leon Heureux, a farmer, applied for a licence for a house to be erected at Narrabeen. The police objected, on the grounds that it is not required, the Newport Hotel being only three miles distant, and that there was no population to support a second house. The application was granted. Licensing Court. (1885, July 17). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111020028
Picture of Leon Houreux from: The Black Giant at Cremorne. (1893, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 3. Retrieved from nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63672406
NARRABEEN, BEYOND MANLY.TO SHALL CAPITALISTS, SPECULATORS and others. COLLINGWOOD ESTATE, in Blocks ranging from 3 ACRES to 6 ACRES, fronting Lane Cove-road, at the junction of the Pittwater road, at the Rock Lily Hotel, between Narrabeen Lagoon and Pitt-water, reached by a good road from Manly. AUCTION SALE,FRIDAY, February 12, at the Rooms, at 11 o clock. The TERMS will be very liberal, small deposit, balance by instalments. Lithos. now ready. These blocks have good soil, and are in every way adapted for cultivating Tines and fruit trees. A capital chance to secure a large area in a suburb, fast coming to the front, and only a few hours' run from the city. - RICHARDSON and WRENCH. Advertising. (1886, February 6th and February 10). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111190579
The 'Rock Lily' name came from the masses of these flowers in the area, and the area around thew hotel was known by this name for a while. These flowers were so profuse that, at what now we call Narrabeen Lagoon and further south, one gentleman advertised to protect his work:
CAUTION.-Any Person found TRESPASSING on Mount Ramsay, Narrabeen, removing rock lilies, staghorn ferns, ice, without permission, will be PROSECUTED as the law directs. H. FERGUSON, Caretaker, Narrabeen Picnic Grounds, August 11,1885. Advertising. (1885, August 20). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13595780
Joseph Black was running coaches to Newport during this time:
AGISTMENT.-HORSES taken in for our run at Narrabeen Lake. BLACK and CO., Livery Stables, Manly. Advertising. (1885, May 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13589761
SELECT PICNIC PARTIES.-Best Day's Outing. Steamer to Manly, thence per Black and Co.'s 'bus to Narrabeen Lake ; fishing, boating, bathing. Black and Co.'s Livery Stables. Pier Hotel. Vehicles of all descriptions on hire. Advertising. (1885, August 18). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13595560
A Menagerie and Recreation Grounds - further attractions
Reports from the day on Leon's establishment speak of one of the attractions being a collection of local and foreign animals. Aviaries, plural, are listed, and these too were part of reports about Charlotte Boutin's Narrabeen Hotel once that was established, as is a 'native bear', or koala, once everywhere in Pittwater, and even a cheeky monkey:
But we two halted at Rock Lily. Here is an inn kept by Messieur Louis Houreux, who, having an artistic instinct strongly developed, has covered the walls of the rooms with replicas of several familiar pictures in our art gallery, besides many distinctly original designs that excite the wonder and amusement of visitors. Here, too, we had lunch, although tourists may bring their hamper with them and partake of its contents in an alfresco fashion on tables provided by the host in his recreation grounds, where are swings and rope quoits, etc.This trip is a favorite one for cyclists of whom we met a good number, but none in ' bloomer ' costume.
I happened to know one of the cyclists, a well-known Sydney solicitor. It was his first long ride. With a painful smile he significantly asked me how he was to get home again ! I cynically sympathised with him, and he rewarded me by making me the back-ground for a ' snap-shot ' of his party.
In the garden attached to the hostelry was a monkey, whose antics led to a discussion of Darwinism. But we rejected the alleged Simian relationship. Striking a match to light a cigar after dinner, the animal mischievously tried to snatch it out of my fingers. The inevitable punster was close by. ' Don't singe the singe,' croaked he. (Singe being the French word for monkey.) This brilliant essay at wit almost paralysed the unhappy quadruped, which looked quite reproachfully at the audacious biped. But I had a treat in store for the Englishman, who was loud in his praises of the trip. We strolled to the ocean beach, about a mile away, and there, rolling in at our very feet, was the mighty Pacific roll on, thou dark and deep blue ocean, roll One felt moved by quite a Byronic admiration. And the lovely sea-scape, the cool breeze, the graceful plunge of the breakers imparted— particularly after a substantial lunch— can exhilaration which made one forget he had been Wearied in business, hackney'd at that oar, and the 'cob-webs 'that had lodged on one's brain were soon chased away.
Right 'IN the garden at Rock Lily', from State Library of NSW Album: Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay
Amid these surroundings I found myself reciting to the rocks and waves that beautiful sonnet of Wordsworth's :—The world is too much with us ; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon, The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not. --Great God! I'd rather be - A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.—whilst my companion bathed his feet and aplauded my sentiment !
I need say nothing of the return journey, except that we found Manly simply inundated with holiday-makers, and the boat crowded on its way back to Circular Quay. Echoes. (1896, January 13). Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904), p. 3. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63934222
Photos: From State Library of NSW Album: Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay. Images No.: a2005208h and a2005199h - below (which has a title of 'Tarts & their boyfriends at the Old Rock Lily Hotel')
After having partaken of light refreshments, a good assortment of which will be found here, we once more resume our journey, and after about three quarters of an hour's lovely drive through some of the prettiest scenery in the country we pull up in front of a most comfortable and picturesque hotel at Rock Lily, owned by Mr. Leon Houreux. Madame Houreux is a most hospitable proprietress, and the rooms are most tastefully decorated in oil colors by Mr. Leon Houreux-stirring scenes on sea and land-the pictures well worth gazing at, not only from an artistic point of view, but as curiosities in such a pretty wayside inn. The gardens are laid out in good style. The tame and harmless native bear, the noisy laughing jackass, and the prying magpie are to be found here, making up a tiny and interesting menagerie. Mr.Leon Houreux evidently understands the way of catering for the public, as you can obtain the most recherché Parisian dinners here at a reasonable figure. After having partaken of a choice lunch, with a bottle of real 'French claret, of which he is an undoubted judge, you once more resume-your seat on the coach, and proceed to Newport, to arrive there in time for tea. A Christmas Holiday Trip. (1893, November 25). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1881 - 1894), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63104125
The Recreation Grounds attracted many a celebratory picnic group from all over Sydney - it was the place to go. A few samples of these, some of which may indicated Leon keeping everyone happy who affected his business:
The Sydney Transit Commissioners, accompanied by a number of friends, numbering in all about 120 people had a very enjoyable picnic to the Rock Lily Hotel Picnic Ground yesterday. The party left Sydney, at…At Manly they were met by six coaches from Houreux's establishment, in which they drove down to the destination. During the forenoon foot races and various sport, were indulged in by the younger portion of the party. After dinner, served at the hotel, dancing was participated in inside the hotel. The Sydney Morning Herald. (1892, October 19 Wednesday). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13883032
MANLY PRESBYTERIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL PICNIC. The annual picnic in connection with Manly Presbyterian Sunday school was held on Wednesday, at Mona Vale, Pittwater The party were coveyed to the ground in four drags supplied by M Houreux of Rock Lily Cricket baseball and other games were engaged in until dinner time and in the afternoon races were run by the different classes for prizes supplied by the teachers and friends lho arraucemenU woro undor the management of Mr A G Kebblewhite, president, who was assisted by Mrs Milne and Mrs Kebblewhite and Miss Morley, Davidson, ..., and Lawson, teachers MANLY PRESBYTERIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL PICNIC. (1895, November 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14024193
On Friday, 12th March, Mr. C. A. Laurence, of Birralee, Strath field, gave a very delightful picnic in honour of his eldest son's coming of age. The spot chosen was Rock Lily Hotel, Narrabeen, and about 40 young people availed themselves of Mr. Laurence's hospitality, and thoroughly enjoyed the drive out in four-in-hand coaches, and the other forms of amusement provided. The luncheon was served in the verandah of the hotel, which was prettily decorated with flags and greenery, whilst the table itself was brightened up with Manly's choicest wild flowers.
During the repast the guests were greatly interested in a very novel idea, and one specially designed for the occasion. A cake was brought in, placed opposite the ' hero of the day,' out of which on his cutting it, flew a pigeon, which fact seemed truly to denote the actual symbol of his freshly acquired independence. Amongst the guests present were, besides Mr. Laurence's family, Mr. and the Misses Houston, Miss Fishburn, Miss Chalmers, Miss Whitney, Miss Turton, Miss Franekel, and Miss Irwin, Mr. T. Buchanan, Mr. Murry, Mr. Seaward, Messrs. P. and H. Jones, Mr. Franekel, Mr. Lachlan, Mr. Lee, Mr. Pritchard-Bassett, Mr. S. Cook, Mr. C. Turner, and Mr. Triggs. SOCIAL. (1897, March 20). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 597. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163792370
R.M.S. CHINA'S PICNIC.
The various of officials belonging to the P. and O. Royal Mail Ship China held a picnic at the Rock Lily Hotel Grounds, Narrabeen,which, had been specially decorated for the occasion, on Thursday. There were upwards of 100 ladies and gentlemen present, who were conveyed from Manly in Massey and Company's line of coaches, all of which had been speciaily decorated with the P. and O. Company's flags. An excellent dinner was served at 1 o'clock, at which a number of toasts were proposed, among them being ‘Success to the P. and O. Company.' Tea was served at 6 o'clock, and then followed a specially arranged concert. The party returned to town about10 o'clock after spending a most enjoyable day. R.M.S. CHINA'S PICNIC. (1897, October 23). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108877488
The grounds opposite Rock Lily Hotel - 1907 - courtesy Mona Vale Library Historical Images
The Manly Wentworth Football Club on Saturday celebrated the close of their season by an outing to Rock Lily. Two coaches fully laden left Manly shortly after 3. After a good day's enjoyment the picnickers adjourned to Houreux' Hotel at Rock Lily for dinner. Alderman J. B. Meyer presided, and Dr. Henry occupied the vice chair. Harmony was indulged in, and speeches delivered. Manly was reached at 10.30.FOOTBALL. (1899, October 9). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113697870
A place to go for other French people – the Cornu’s, who lived here towards the end of Mr Houreaux's tenure, a French Picnic for visiting French sailors early on in the days of the Rock Lily Hotel, as well as ‘celebrities’, visited, dined, or had misadventures at this Mona Vale establishment.
Picnic to French Officers. A very enjoyable excursion came off on Friday last, when the commandant and officers of the Scorff, the French warship now in the harbor, were entertained at a picnic to Pittwater, at the invitation of Mr. Biard d'Aunet, Consul-General for France. The party, which comprised M. de Cauliac, commandant of the Scorff, M. de Guilleben, M. C. Shard (Comptoir d'Escompte), M. Rand; M. Paul, Consul for Russia, Messrs. Bureau, Boivin, Boyal, Annbrande, and the officers of the Scorff. The party was driven from Manly in one of M. Leon Houreux's fine four-in-hand drags, and was entertained at the Rock Lily Hotel by the Consul-General and Madame Biard d'Aunet, a recherché dinner being served. After dinner the party paid a visit to Bayview, and a return to Manly was effected by shortly after 5 o'clock. The day was passed most enjoyably, and the naval visitors expressed delight at the scenery and surroundings, as well as gratitude for the kindly courtesy of their compatriot. Picnic to French Officers. (1894, March 20). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114070961
A recherché dinner?; superlative most recherché Sought out with care; choice. Hence: of rare quality, elegance, or attractiveness; peculiar and refined in kind. So probably very nice, despite the above reference to possible natives being used as a meat source.
In 1892 a French newspaper began in Sydney, showing the numbers of people here from Old France, and this too became a place to advertise the wonders of the Rock Lily to compatriots. Some samples: Advertising. (1892, July 23). Le Courrier Australien (Sydney, NSW : 1892 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167807760
NEW FRENCH WARSHIP. The French man-of-war Scorff arrived at Melbourne on Monday night, and dropped anchor off Port Melbourne. The Scorff is a composite frigate, barque-rigged, with an auxiliary steam power, and she carries eight guns. She left the port of L'Orient(France) on July 14, and Cape Town on September14. During the voyage from Cape Town three icebergs were seen in lat 45deg south and long l..., but the ship was never in dangerous proximity to them;. A good opportunity was given of observing then, and it was seen that the highest rose to an altitude of 90ft above the surface of the water. While the Scorf was running down the casting, heavy weather prevailing at the time, one of the seaman fell from aloft and was lost, although a boat was promptly lowered, and every effort made to save him. The frigate is in charge of Commandant de Chraulire and Leiut. Deseus is second in command, the other officers being M£. Boque, Guyot de Salius, Bayot, and Aubry (paymaster). The surgeon is Dr. Dubois. The sub-officers are Cm . Armonlster, Claret, IBourguignon, de Guillebon, Foirord, and Bureau. The Scorff has 190 men on board all told, 41 of these being soldiers bound for Noumea. She will remain in Hobson's Bay for a few days, and will then proceed to Sydney, on route to Noumea, where the consort, the Durace, in waiting for her. NEW FRENCH WARSHIP. (1892, November 3). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) , p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135905638
Miss Billie Barlow; who is on the eve of departure for London, is now taking a well earned holiday, and is rusticating at Mr. L. Houreux's Rock Lily Hotel, Pittwater. The fair and vivacious Billie expresses herself as charmed with the spot. Footlight Flashes. (1892, June 29). Referee (Sydney, NSW : 1886 - 1939), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article121780678
MISS BILLIE BARLOW. Miss Billie Barlow, the favourite burlesque actress and comedienne, who has recently completed a sea-son at the Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, as principal boy in Mr Harry Rickards's production of "Puss in Boots," will make her farewell appearance in Australia, under the same management, at the Tivoli Theatre this evening. Miss Billie Barlow sails for Europe shortly, so that her send-off at the Tivoli this evening is sure to be an occasion of enthusiasm. MISS BILLIE BARLOW. (1901, March 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14371660
Right Picture from: MISS BILLIE BARLOW,. (1900, October 18). Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 - 1939), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145935265
FLOWERS IN COURT. Australian wild flowers were much in evidence yesterday at the Water Court. In the hall leading into the court lay a great bundle of native roses and flannel flowers, from which people passing, in and out freely helped themselves. The roses belonged to Nicholas Filomio, the flannel flowers were claimed by Raffaele Italiano. Raffaele's story was that he had gathered the flowers, in company with the accused's brother, at Rock Lily and Barrenjoey. On Wednesday night they stayed- at Rock Lily Hotel, leaving the: flowers on the verandah. Raffaele's lot consisted of flannel flowers, while his companion paid attention chiefly to native roses. Filomio also put up at the hotel, but left in the night. In the morning. Raffaele found that his flowers had gone. He next saw them on the wharf at Manly in Filomio's bundle. Filomio was ordered to pay a fine of £4, or in default to go to gaol for one month.
FLOWERS IN COURT. (1904, October 8). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113310748
Cottages available: Advertising. (1903, February 21). Le Courrier Australien(Sydney, NSW : 1892 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article164083422
Food - Glorious Food
Traditional French cuisine, in this case called “recherché dinners" were not the only fare served at the Rocklily - Charlotte Boutin, called the manageress of this establishment, is to whom much of the 'chef'-ing is attributed:
Above: 'Worker at Rock Lily' from: State Library of NSW Album: Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay
We drove on through the cutting which cleaves through Sheep Station Hill, past numerous glasshouses; in which the cult of the tomato is a thriving industry, to the Rock Lily Hotel. The Rock Lily Hotel is an old and ancient hostelry, and was noted for its French chef, whose skill and originality in devising new dishes caused him to win an easy supremacy over the unimaginative colonial cooks of the day. ROADS OF TO-DAY—TALES OF YESTERDAY. (1937, August 25). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 43. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160498911
on past the quaint rambling -Rock-Lily' Hotel — beloved of cyclists — famous for its salads and coffee; A Sydney Lady's Letter. (1905, July 4).Illawarra Mercury(Wollongong, NSW : 1856 - 1950), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article132241822
WARRINGAH SHIRE BAND. The official opening of a new stand for the Warringah Shire Band took place on Saturday afternoon. The rotunda is situated in the park at Mona Vale, where the Ceremony was held, in the presence of a representative gathering. The first annual banquet in honor of the band was held at the Rock Lily Hotel at night, and was a great success.WARRINGAH SHIRE BAND. (1910, November 15). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117965496
A few problems with the success of the Rock Lily, and the availability of alcohol at the establishment, along with some of the social conditions of the year 1889, brought this letter into the Sydney Morning Herald where the Rock Lily was named:
THE UNEMPLOYED QUESTION. TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
Sir,—Very frequently during the past year or two have correspondents to your columns had something to say on the above subject, and at various times have you dealt with the subject very ably in your leading articles. As the question of the " unemployed " is still unsettled and as the State is still burdened with providing food and, I was about to say, clothing, for such as seek the" relief works," a few words at this time may be opportune. The attitude which Sir Henry Parkes expresses as the right one for the State to take is emphatically the right one, from a State policy point of view, and with your permission I want to show that from a practical labour point of view it is also correct. During the past year or two I have had many opportunities of watching and making notes ofthe actual camp life of the unemployed engaged on the relief works at or near Narrabeen Lake, in the Manly Cove parish. I have lived a great part of the time within 20 minutes' walk of the ' main camp," have been many times through it, and had many conversations with the men. I lived near the Narrabeen Inn, and travelled very often between Manly and the camp. I have also carefully examined the manner in which the work has been carried out, and am thoroughly acquainted with most of the visible things transpiring, and I am sorry to say my knowledge thus practically acquired has led me to pronounce the utmost disapprobation of any continuance of this pernicious institution. As it may be interesting to some of your readers to know some of the facts and details which have thus influenced me, with your permission I will briefly note a few.
As is generally known, alternate Fridays were paydays, when each man drew according to the average earnings of his gang, some less, some more. Immediately upon the receipt of their money, from 75 per cent. of the men upwards made a general stampede from the camp—some towards Manly, some to Narrabeen, and some to the Rock Lily Hotel, near Pittwater, some few finding their way to Sydney. After that, from dark on the same evening up till early on Monday morning, scores of men in all stages of intoxication, from the funny to the beastly drunk stage, were to be met with from Manly nine miles outward, and it was positively dangerous to travel the road after nightfall. Many and many times have I narrowly escaped running over drunken bodies and drunken parties of men between Manly and Narrabeen, at night, and both their and my escapes can only be traced to my horse, which was spirited and skittish, jumping promptly from danger. These men were not staggering along the road, but lying across the very wheel-tracks, too drunk to get up or crawl off the road.
Right: 'Rock Lily Toughs and their tarts' State Library of NSW Album: Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay
At Narrabeen I came more closely into contact with the habits of these men, for prior to my location in the neighbourhood numbers of them had been in the habit of sleeping off and bringing on their booziness from day to day and night to night under the shelter of the shady trees which surrounded the residence, and it was with great determination and continued effort that I taught them that they were trespassers—and trespassers of an insufferable class. As a further proof and evidence of my verdict, the path between the main camp and the Narrabeen-road led for a considerable distance through my lands, and the track for the whole distance was strewn with empty bottles— bottles white and bottles red, bottles green and bottles black, bottles big and bottles little, and these bottles had been drained of their contents in meandering back to the main camp. Here let me mention one little happy faculty all heavy imbibers appear to possess—that is, the ability to tie four pint bottles in a bundle handkerchief in such a manner as they will bear considerable knocking about. In a fashion peculiar to them they gathered the tops of the four bottles into the four loose folds of the handkerchief, and the knots acted as buffers. It was, seldom, however, that the camp saw this compactness, as thirst on the way generally necessitated disturbing their order.
The men who carried bottles were generally of the more provident class. They feared to stay at the" pub." to knock down their last few shillings, lest they should be too late at the camp for " Rations, O," which were served out at stated hours upon given days ; hence they carried their store of grog, and thus conserved their fortnightly spree, and were home in time for supper. Apart from the beastliness of the sight of a number of drunken men lying promiscuously about, it was simply comical to note the manner in which each appeared to hug his black companion, even in sleep, the said black companion being a pint bottle containing the sleep-producing element. There is just one other mention I should like to make on the moral aspect of this subject, and that is that, while these men spent their fortnightly earnings, with a religious punctuality, at the grog shops, they just as religiously neglected to clothe their bodies decently ;generally they were half bootless, and otherwise ragged and untidy. So much for the moral and social aspect of the question. And now a word or two about the material State benefit they have accomplished. As a man trained and experienced in the labour question, I maintain that unless the benefit of the work carried out be speedily availed of it will be almost, if not entirely, lost to the State. Some of the land they have scrubbed, and other of it they are supposed to have cleared, or, in other words, rooted out rump and stump. From my knowledge of this class of scrub-bearing country, and from my observation of the manner in which the work was done, I positively assert that in less than three years a crop of suckers(already fast appearing) will re-clothe the thousands of acres gone over with a density of bush and brush tenfold that just consumed. The men worked by piece, and the greater area they covered the larger the money they drew ; hence quantity was more than quality, and to get over the ground was the main desideratum. Of practical workmen there were a few—say a fifth of the crowd—but these were handicapped by being linked in gangs with the off-scum of society-men, who knew not a mattock from a spade nor a shovel from a broad axe.
There are many other details of fact concerning the Narrabeen Camp I could give you ; but I trust the two principal ones abovementioned may influence some-body's mind—perhaps our practical barrister, Hon. Bruce Smith—and induce him to insist on an extinction of this obnoxious system—a system fraught with injury alike to the individuals for whose benefit it is intended, to the State which inaugurated it, and to the honest industrious colonists whose labours have to bear its burden. I am, &c., CYRUS E. FULLER.
P.S.—I ought to say that the roads formed through-out the district under consideration are splendidly and substantially made—such, indeed, as would be a credit to any town or city in Australia. They are likely to remain good inasmuch as there is no likelihood of their being used for the next half-century.—C. E. F. THE UNEMPLOYED QUESTION. (1889, March 21). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13718186
Coaches – A New Line – and a Few Misadventures
The amount of people wanting to travel to the Rock Lily, coupled with an apparent competition with Mr. Black of 'who's kind of the road', who presented a petition in his own favour, signed by those who may have experienced Leon's rambunctiousness driving style, inspired Leon to do it for himself and run his own coaches. Extensive stables attached to the property, later leased to others (occupied by Messrs. Cooper and Co., Coach Proprietors in 1907 advertisement), were his next big venture. Some of these 'news' items give details which show the Rock Lily building was growing, as a structure as much as a business:
On Saturday afternoon, at the Rock Lily Hotel, Narrabeen, Mr. Leon Houreaux gave a dinner to, celebrate the opening of his new line of coaches between Manly and Pittwater. The trip is a very pleasant one, and the vehicles are exceedingly comfortable. This line should prove a boon to residents in the locality of Pittwater. The Sydney Morning Herald. (1890, March 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13763337
The Manly-Narrabeen Coaches. Mr. Leon Heureux, host of that favorite hotel, the Rock Lily, Narrabeen, invited a party of gentlemen on Saturday to partake of. a banquet prepared by him for the purpose of celebrating his new line of coaches. The Sydney visitors were conveyed to Manly by boat, where the new coaches— three in number — awaited to take them to their destination. The drive down was speedy and delightful, and the weather being brisk and full of sunshine it added considerably to the pleasure derived. Mr. J. F. Burns occupied the chair, and prominent among the visitors were theHon. L. F. Heydon, Mr. Hassall, M.L.A., Messrs. Forsyth, Woods, Neville, Montagu, Thompson, Coker, and Smith. After the good things provided had been fully dealt with, the chairman gave the health of the host (coupled with the name of the hostess),whom he eulogised for honesty, perseverance, and this, his latest plucky venture — the running of a new line of coaches from Manly to Narrabeen. Mr. Houreux, in reply, thanked the company for their presence, and said that the new line of coaches would be ran cheaper than those running heretofore. He had the interests of the public in this matter to study, and he would leave no stone unturned to make the venture a success. Hearty cheers were given for Mr. and Mrs. Houreux as the party drove away from the cosy seaside hotel, and the city was reached without mishap a little before 8 p.m. The Manly-Narrabeen Coaches. (1890, March 17). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108795524
The celebrations lasted all of six weeks:
The licence for plying a bus between Manly and Narrabeen, &c, held by Leon Houreux, licensee of the Rock Lily Hotel, Narrabeen, wascancelled in consequence of not completing his journey to Bay View on the night of the 13th instant. It was stated that he dropped a passenger four miles from his destination on a dark, wet night. Transit Commission. (1890, May 2). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128776812
A letter was read from Mr L T Heydon, requesting the Commissioners to reconsider their decision to cancel the license of Leon Houreaux. It was decided to personally examine that individual. METROPOLITAN TRANSIT COMMISSION. (1890, May 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13778428
The Manly Council wrote approving of the applications of Messrs. Leon Houreux and Joseph Black for vehicular licences to ply in and about that locality. The request of Mons. Leon Houreux to transfer his passengers at Rock Lily, from a four-horse to a two-horse vehicle, was held over for official report. Metropolitan Transit Commission. (1890, June 5). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128777295
and a new licence was granted to M, Leon Houreux for a tourists' coach to ply between Manly and Bock Lily, Narrabeen. Transit Commission. (1890, October 16). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113750204
Mr. Joseph Black, asking leave to ply a waggonette between 'Manly and Bay view, and was supported by a petition from a number of residents. As the line applied for is already occupied by Leon Houreux, the application was refused. Transit Commission. (1891, September 17). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111978919
Leon helping his friends or fellow Catholics, the Roche's:
PRIZE POULTRY. PRIZE POULTRY. Comprising Langshans, Langshan Bocks, Plymouth Bocks, Beck Brahmas, Ailesbury Ducks, &c, &c. All these Birds are from Imported Stock and Prizewinners, and are bred by. Mr. Roche, of Pittwater. H TOWNSEKD BOBET has received instructions to sell by auction, on SATURDAY. 14th May, at 3 p.m.,at Houreux's Stables, Corso, Manly. Terms Cash.Advertising. (1892, May 7). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112941117
There is also among these coaching notices one of several indications that Leon Houreaux was generous with what he had as much as in his nature and spirit:
THE MANLY FERRIES.
A stranger landing casually in Manly during the past week would probably have imagined that the village was celebrating its centenary, or Independence Day, or some other fete. Bugles, horns, and other weird instruments were being blown (in tune or out of tune mattered little so long as sufficient noise was created), and four-horse coaches ?well filled with passengers were rushing to and fro between the principal streets and the steamer wharf alongside the gentlemen’s baths. If the stranger had made enquiries he Would have learned that nothing dangerous was the matter, and that it was only the Cooperative Steam Ferry Company keeping its end up and testifying to all and sundry that it was still very much alive and intent on doing its best, for the comfort and welfare of its supporters.
Our readers are probably aware that for the month of. July the two companies have changed wharves, the P.J. Co. going to the main wharf and the Co-operative to the P.J. wharf. To overcome any inconvenience the extra distance might have caused, the Co-operative Co. put on five coaches to convey passengers travelling by their boats toand from the township, ocean beach and wharf free of charge. These coaches, employing altogether 16 horses, are under the supervision of M. Leon Houreux, of Manly and Rock Lily, and they have done the work in a satisfactory manner. THE MANLY FERRIES. (1895, July 7). Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130409952
3. Dee Why Hill. From: THE MANLY-PITTWATER CYCLE PATHS. (1901, August 24). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 479. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165234777
Tourists' Coach. — A tourists' coach, built after the style of the French open omnibus, was added to Mr. Leon Houreux's Manly-Narrabeen line of coaches on Saturday. At, the invitation of Mr. Houreux, about 40 gentlemen left Manly by coach for Rock Lily, and partook of luncheon in honor of the occasion. The Hon. L. F. Heydon, M.L.C., occupied the chair, and Mr. Hassall, M.L.A., fulfilled the duties of vice-chairman. The healths of Mr. and Mrs. Houreux were drunk with heartiness, and the best wishes were expressed for their future welfare. NORTH SHORE R. C. REGATTA. (1890, October 20). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113747576
VISIT ROCK LILY. Visitors to Sydney, or strangers passing through, should not fail to run out to the famous Rock Lily Hotel, Narrabeen. The hotel is noted for its gallery of curious paintings, its gardens and pleasure grounds, and its excellent French cuisine. Small parties can have private dining-rooms, whilst large parties are accommodated in the banqueting-room, which holds 200. The hotel is close to the beach, where good fishing and bathing may be obtained, and shooting can be had in the country round. The drive from Manly to Rock Lily (10 miles) is one of the most charming in New South Wales. Private vehicles may be hired at the Rock Lily stables at Manly, or visitors may go by the coach, which leaves Manly pier at 10 o'clock a.m., 11.15 a.m., and 4.15 p.m. —fare, one shilling only. Mr. Leon Houreux has been proprietor of the Rock Lily Hotel for twenty years. For any information ring up Tel. 134, Manly. VISIT ROCK LILY. (1902, January 5).Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126433465
Manly Corso circa 1899-1900 showing an earlier Rock Lily Coach at base of postcard - Postcard Courtesy National Museum of Australia
CORNU-June 19. 1918, at Lidcombe. Auguste Amedee, the beloved husband of Rachel Cornu of 193 Bourke-street, Darlinghurst, and dearly loved father of Frederick and Marie, aged 68 years, late Paris. Family Notices. (1918, June 21). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15790120
It takes a few grapes to make a bottle of wine – reports on the gardens attached to the Rock Lily signify vine arbours, and acreage given over to a winery. Other reports state these were an orchard. Along with some made in Mona Vale Wines other vintages from France are spoken of as being consumed at official banquets, particularly excellent French Clarets; it seemed worthwhile to track down Leon's importer of French wines. Another report (under Extras) lists 'L and C Houreaux', so Charlotte Boutin must have attended this funeral with Leon:
FUNERAL OF M. EMILE DOUBLET. The funeral of M. Emile Doublet, merchant and importer, of Jamieson-street, Sydney, who died at his late residence, 15 Macquarie-street, on Tuesday, from pneumonia, supervening on an attack of influenza, took place yesterday, the remains being interred in the R.C. section of the Waverley Cemetery, in the presence of a considerable number of the deceased's Australian and French friends and members of the French Benevolent Society. A requiem mass for the repose of the soul of the deceased was celebrated at St. Patrick's Church at 7 a.m., several of the French priests assisting at the ceremony. The cortege left Macquarie-street at about 11 o'clock, and among those present were Messrs. E. Ducasse (deceased's chief clerk), M. Segur, E. Carmillon, M. Brial, J. Brial, H. F. Aurousseaux, E. Boiviu, senior, G. Boivin, J. D. Bell, A.- Banyard, L. Houreux, W. G. Deuchar(Messrs. Dangar, Gedye, and Company), F. Rigetti, T. C. Funck, M. Durieux, Pu. Prenat, E. Boivin, junior, J. J. Lee, G. Delescluse, C. Hogard, C. D'Arcy, 'W. Fesq, Paul Puech, A. Giuraud, E. Carette, G. Playoust, J. Playoust, M. de Riviere, P. d'Orgeral (manager of the Comptoir d'Escompte of Paris, Sydney),E. Langier, the Very Rev. P. Aubrey (Superior of the Marist Fathers), the Rev. Fathers Piquet, S.M., and Hayden (St. Patrick's College, Manly), Dr. Laure, Dr. M'Donagh, Dr.C. D'Englesqueville, Dr. Rougier, Captain Davidson, and Captain C. Auret (master of the M.M. Company's steamer Pacifique).Floral tributes were forwarded by His bestfriend, H.F.G.,' Comptoir d'Escompre of Paris, Sydney branch; Mme. Rougier, Messageries Maritimes Company, members and committee of the Societe de Bienfaisanca; Messrs. Dangar, Gedye, and Company; T. H. Collier, M. C. Chard, E. Boivin, senior, A. Baujard, Mr. and Mrs. L. Houreux, Mrs. Hardie, E. Gaillet, Mr. and Mrs. Borel, Aristide Desrousseaux, J. Meier, Pierre Nutte, — Descluse, L. Duvillier, C. Montague, _and others. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Coffill and Company. FUNERAL OF M. EMILE DOUBLET. (1899, November 10).Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113693902
Success and Wealth
Th extent of Leon's holdings can be seen in what is listed for sale after he died. Some indication that this rapid accumulation of assest put a strain on him finacially and attributed to bad health is also visible through these reports:
Mona Vale Estate Pittwater, £65, 15s, 16d £65 land-Mr L Houreux, lot 60. sec 1, PROPERTY SALES. (1889, January 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13710117
IN CHAMBERS. (Before Mr. Justice Pring.) A REAL PROPERTY MATTER. RE Mona Vale Land Company, Limited
(L. Houreux, caveutor). 5. Mr Sheppard, instructed by Messrs Lumsdaine and Loibius, appeared for the Mona Vale Land Company, Limited, and moved for an order directing the caveat of Leon Houroux to be removed from the file, Mr Shand, instructed by Mr L P Roydon, appeared for the caveator to oppose the application. It appeared that the Mona Vale Land Company, Limited, had applied to bring certain lands at Pittwater, parish of Narrabeen, under the Provisions of the Real Property Act, and Houreux had lodged a caveat to restrain the Registrar General from proceeding with the application, on the ground that he was the owner of the land adjoining or near to the land the subject of the application, and that the application was granted it would result in the closing of roads now existing and seriously reduce the value of the lands purchased by him from the Mona Vale Land Company. It was now sought to have the caveat removed on the ground that the caveator had no interest in the land which was the subject of the application. His Honor said that the matter was not one of law, but ot fact as to whether the roads referred to by caveator were reasonably near his property, and if closed would reduce the value of his land.Application dismissed with costs IN CHAMBERS. (1902, August 21). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14509272
A simple wooden structure, in what is now Golf Avenue, the church that Leon seemed to have funded in part or whole, indicates despite all the tales of Rock Lily being a sometimes bawdy place, where burlesque queens were quite at home, he followed what many do when they have success and money - build a small church.
A larger structure, opened in 1933, has since been demolished. As has the Anglican church (St John's the Baptist) that was built on Mona Vale headland, which was opened in 1871 and moved in 1888 to its present home on the road out to Bayview. Of the church that Mr Houreaux initiated:
NEW CHURCH AT PITTWATER. A new brick church just completed at Pitt water will be a great advantage to the district, which promises to extend very rapidly, as the land is being taken up and new buildings are in course of erection. The church will be formally opened in the course of next month and dedicated to the Sacred Heart by the Very Rev. Monsignor Verdon, of St. Patrick's Seminary, Manly. It is chiefly to exertions of Monsieur Leon Houreux, of the Rock Lily Hotel, that the Catholics of the district are indebted for the privilege of having a church where they can assist at Mass and fulfil their religious duties. As there is still a heavy debt on the building it is hoped that further contributions will be forthcoming to help the promoters of this good work. The day fixed for the opening will be duly announced. NEW CHURCH AT PITTWATER. (1889, May 4). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 16. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115378440
In the eighties, Pittwater was a place viewed at by the city folks at a long way past Manly somewhere in the bush. It is refreshing therefore to know that a new church was opened there in May by Monsignor Verdon, the first President of St. Patrick's College, Manly. The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart. This was the twelfth church which was opened In the Archdiocese of Sydney during the twelve months.Previously Mass had been celebrated in Mrs. Collins' house at Bayview. The older generation will remember the name of Mr. Houroux, who was in charge of the Rock Lily Hotel at Bayview. The Journal mentions: 'To Mr. Horoux, of the Rock Lily Hotel, is due praise for his great energy in promoting the undertaking under many difficulties.' LOOKING BACKWARDS. (1933, September 14). Catholic Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1932 - 1942), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146109579
A Daughter Arrives
Victoria's Public Records Office - Shipping Lists, records among unassisted (paid for themselves) passengers:
HOUREUX L MISS 21 (age) AUG 1900 VILLE DE LA CIOTAT
Justine Leontine, sometimes named as Leontine Justine, was born in Paris. Her gravestone in Mona Vale Cemetry lists her date of birth as April 19th, 1873 meaning she was either 9 when her father came to Australia and 27 when she arrived in August of 1900.
Born in 1860, Auguste Briquet, described as an 'electrician of Mona Vale' , won the lady's heart and they were married, around the time Leon appears to be getting quite ill - MARRIAGES BRIQUET-HOUREUX-May 28, 1906, at Sydney, by the Rev E Tremayne Dunstan, Auguste Briquet, to Leontine Houreux, daughter of Leon Houreux, of Rock Lily Hotel Pittwater. Family Notices. (1906, May 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14775685
Leon wishes to Retire
His great gusto and apparent passion for life seems to have been tempered by illness, perhaps due to an enormous appetite, and battles in court to protect his investments as illustrated above. By 1904 he was advertising the whole business, complete with furnishings - ostensibly to retire, but perhaps to return home to France. Many ambiguous references are made about his relationship with Charlotte Boutin throughout the years of the Rock Lily's heydays. By 1901 Charlotte had purchased the license for the Narrabeen Hotel although she continued to be on hand at Mona Vale until at least February 1907.
Narrabeen Lakes Estate, 1906 / Arthur Rickard & Co. Ltd Auctioneers. 1906. MAP Folder 114, LFSP 1695 (Copy 1). Part 2. (sales brochure) Image No.: 22704748, courtesy National Library of Australia.
Marie, listed as Leon's wife when he came to Australia, is heard about no more soon after his arrival. When Leon passes away, soon after her departure to Narrabeen permanently, and soon his daughter's arrival, a twinge of a lament appears years later - expresses regret - for what?
HOUREUX-In memory of Leon Houreux, late Rock-lily, died April 26, 1907. Regret from his old friend, C. Boutin. Family Notices. (1910, April 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved September 21, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15136801
An advertisement announcing Leon's plan also gives an insight into the extent the business had been built up by this stage:
THE ROCK LILY HOTEL, NARRABEEN VIA MANLY - BY ORDER OF THE OWNER AND PROPRIETOR - MONS LEON HOUREUX, WHO IS RETIRING FROM BUSINESS. THIS POPULAR AND WELL - KNOWN HOTEL, together with the furniture and Effects for sale in one line as a going concern. A FREE HOUSE NO LEASE NO BONUS.
THE ROCK LILY HOTEL FRONTS THE PITTWATER ROAD and is situate in a most delightful position within pleasant driving distance of Manly. Mons Houreux has made the place popular and exceedingly attractive especially during the summer season and it is now a well known and much frequented resort doing a profitable and increasing business.
THE HOTEL contains 10 Bedrooms, Large Bar, 3 Dining rooms, 4 sitting- rooms kitchen 2 storerooms, large verandah capable of sitting 120 guests, commodious stabling accommodation also a Cottage of 4 rooms etc.
THE GROUNDS surrounding the Hotel comprise an area of 4ac l rd. 25per and are laid out in orchard and vegetable garden flower garden vine-yard etc The whole most artistically arranged including several aviaries. Immediately opposite the Hotel are
RECREATION GROUNDS of 1 ACRE In extent fitted up for pleasure and Pastime
HARDIE and GORAIAN have received instructions to sell by public auction at their Rooms 133 Pitt street at 11.30 a m on WEDNESDAY JANUARY 20th 1904, The above well known Hotel Property. INVENTORY of Furniture etc on view at the Rooms of the Auctioners from whom cards to inspect the hotel can be obtained. NARRABEEN is a POPULAR WATERSIDE RESORT only a short d stance from Manly by vehiele and partly by tram The VIEWS of the OCEAN and country. Round are splendid and the facilities for BOATING, FISHING and SEA BATHING are very delightful. Advertising. (1904, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14590362
The Rock Lily did not sell. Leon passed away, apparently in debt as Leontine had to apply to have his debts wiped after his passing. He was buried in the Roman Catholic section of Manly cemetery: 5520/1907 HOUREUX LEON Father: THEODORE Mother: ARMLEEMAI MANLY
DEATH OF M. LEON HOUREUX. The death is announced of M. Leon Houreux, at the Rock Lily Hotel, a few miles from Manly, at the age of 63. He had been ill for some time. M. Houreux was an identity of the district, he perhaps was best known in connection with the coaches that ... ran from Marilv to Newport and district and carried the mail. M. Houreux was always conspicuous by His dress when on the box seat of a coach, and in charge of his well Known team of horses. Sydneyites who have visited the Rock Lily Hotel and have seen the paintings on the walls and passageways of the hostelry will agree that he had claims to an originality in his picture's of city men and scenes. DEATH OF M.LEON HOUREUX. (1907, April 27). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article115228077
Art – Glorious Art - The Muralist
Famous Australian artists, the Lindsays, brothers Norman and the photographer here, possibly his brother Norman, to whom these images are credited – visited the Rock Lily when it was under the auspices of Leon’s daughter Justine Leontine and her husband Auguste and here we get to see the murals Leon painted behind them – indicating they attracted other artists or that the place itself was worth visiting – green fields, nearby restorative salt airs and sea waters - and also the age old conundrum of 'everyone's a critic' which so many creative people experience, although others expressed a distinct liking for his murals.
The late M. Leon Heureux, of the Rock Lily Hotel, near Manly, prided himself upon his pictures, with which he adorned the walls of his hotel. He scorned frames, and worked his ideas on the walls. The designs were grotesque, and reminded the visitor of a schoolboy's efforts to draw a square cow or the primitive attempts of Japanese art. Yet poor Heureux was quite proud of them. The pronunciation of his name was often a difficulty to the visitor, but M. Heureux impressed it on the memory by crying out 'Hip, hip, hurro.' The hurro he reckoned would about do. PERSONAL. (1907, May 2). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 22. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111278123
From State Library of NSW Album: Portraits of Norman and Lionel Lindsay, family and friends, ca. 1900-1912 / photographed chiefly by Lionel Lindsay. Image No.: a2005209h and below: a2005210h
After Leon Left
As so often happens with establishments of this kind, it is the character and passion as much as energy of the person behind it, the originator, and their nature and openness which causes a place to succeed. Great food is required, but a great host is even more vital – not many of us return to, or rave about places we receive snooty or bad service in.
Leontine Justine, in photographs showing her, looks to have a retiring demeanour. Her husband, an electrician by trade,and whom the licence was transferred to, may not have had the same verbosity and zest for life that burned so brightly in Leon Houreaux. Or perhaps the Briquets simply wanted to return to France, or retire to the other family property at Newport, once it was finished.
Either way, after just a few years of running the Rock Lily, and seemingly saddled with mounting debts, the Briquets began attempting to sell off assets in land and structure forms and others were allowed to run what was once the most popular roadhouse in Pittwater. The advertisements for these assets indicate the extent of all Leon had accumulated.
The licence was transferred from his daughter, who inherited his wealth, and debts, to her husband:
Rocklily Hotel, Rock Lily, Manly, from Leontine J. Briquet -adminstratix of Houreux Leon, to Auguste Briquet;HOTELS CHANGE HANDS. (1907, September 28). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112641966
PITTWATER, NEAR MANLY., RAPIDLY COMING TO THE FRONT AS A FAVOURITE HOLIDAY RESORT. 1. THE ROCKLILY HOTEL, A WELL-KNWON HOLIDAY HOUSE, standing In its own grounds, having frontage of 170 feet to the PITTWATER-ROAD, and 205 feet to VINEYARD STREET, also the Recreation Reserve opposite, having 112 feet frontage to the PITTWATER-ROAD, with an average depth of 276 feet, situated close to the junction of BAY VIEW and NEWPORT ROADS. The House Is built of brick, on brick foundation, with verandah In front, and wide verandah and grape trellis at side, and containing hall, bar, 2 dining rooms, 4 private dining rooms, sitting room, parlour, servants' dining room, 5 bedrooms, servants' bedrooms, store room, 2 lavatories, kitchen, wash- house, cellar in basement, detached bathroom.
IMMEDIATE POSSESSION. The LICENSE and GOODWILL go with the Property. THE TRAFFIC to and from Pittwater at WEEK ENDS and during the HOLIDAY SEASON is very CONSIDERABLE, and as the drive from Manly is comfortably- undertaken by MOTOR OMNIBUS or by UP TO DATE COACHES, MANY VISITORS are ATTRACTED to the DISTRICT. As a SEASIDE RESORT in the hands of an ENERGETIC MAN the ROCKLILY HOTEL might be made one of the FIRST SEASIDE HOUSES north of Sydney.
2. EXTENSIVE COACHING STABLES, occupied by Messrs. Cooper and Co., Coach Proprietors. They comprise stable (24 stalls), coach Houses, workshops, blacksmith' forge, shelter sheds, feed rooms, etc. . THE LAND about on to the hotel site, and has 324 feet frontage to VINEYARD-STREET, with a depth of 160 feet
3 NEWPORT. A WATERSIDE PROPERTY, comprising Lots 4 to 7, Section E, Newport Township, having 264 feet frontage toBEACONSFIELD-STREET, with a depth of over 200 feet, extending to the WATERS of PITTWATER, together with the weatherboardCOTTAGE and UNFINISHED STONE RESIDENCE thereon. By Order of the Executrix of the late LEON HOUREAUX.
RICHARDSON and WRENCH, Ltd., will sell by auction at the Rooms, Pitt-street, on FRIDAY, 27th SEPTEMBER, at II o'clock, The above attractive properties at PITTWATER. E. TREVOR JONES, 5 Bond-street, is Solicitor to the Estate. Full particulars In future issue. (3289 - BY ORDER OF THE EXECUTORS ESTATE LATE Advertising. (1907, September 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14879141
Guy Jennings in his book ‘A History of Newport’ reports this two storey stone house to the left in picture was never finished and became a playground for children. Fence opposite is that of Newport Public School. The unfinished house described above, soon after Mr Houreax's passing and offered for sale, and that in this photograph, seem very alike. Scrutiny of early Land Maps also points to this structure.
'Newport Road' - ca. 1900-1910, Image No.: a116490h, courtesy State Library of NSW.
Voluntary sequestration is a legal process by which you are declared insolvent by an order of the High Court and your debts are (in layman's terms) written off. The Estate,
VOLUNTARY SEQUESTRATIONS- The estate of Leon Houreux, late of Rocklily, Pittwater, near Manly, hotel-keeper, deceased- on the petition of Leontine Justine Briquet, of Rocklily, Pittwater. Mr. W. H. Palmer, official assignee. LAW REPORT. (1908, January 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14939646
Pittwater's lack of a resident population and changes in the Liquor Act spelled the end for the Rock Lily, a consequence that has been echoed over and over, even into present times where the wishes of those who live here are overridden by those who live elsewhere:
OLD RENDEZVOUS CLOSED.
Where Parkes and Dalley Dined. Frenchman's Famous Paintings.
After nearly thirty years cheerful existence, the old Rocklily Hotel on the Pitt-water-road, near Mona Vale, closed its doors a few days ago against the "sale of alcoholic liquors. The action' of the proprietor (Mr. Briquet) was not voluntary; it was brought about through a decision of the Licensing Court, which selected, the famous tourist rendezvous for slaughter, when the electors of Middle' Harbor voted Reduction three years ago. That reduction in Manly or the Pittwater district was never favored locally has been abundantly proved by the overwhelming majority recorded for Continuance at the recent elections. The thousands of voters in residential Mosman who in 1910 were included In the Middle Harbor electorate, are responsible for the closing of the old Rock-lily Hotel In the tourist territory of Pittwater, the absence of which will leave all the route from Narrabeen to Newport without a licensed house of accommodation. At the elections the other day over 90 per cent of the Pittwater people voted Continuance, and the fact that Mosman residents had the power to legislate for the liquor requirements of a holiday area like Pittwater, demonstrates effectively the many absurd and unfair defects of the Liquor Act.
When Leon Houreaux opened the doors of the hospitable old-fashioned French inn thirty years back, he brought with him from France a first-class knowledge of the cookery of his country, and a fine discrimination regarding the vintage of the grape. Soon the Rocklily Hotel acquired a high reputation amongst tourists for its excellent French dinners, and the superior quality of Its wines. But, besides the reputation reached on account of its attractive cuisine, and cosy comfortableness, the hotel was gradually becoming famous in another direction. Leon Houreaux, who in his days of childhood in France never had a lesson in painting, but who, according to his own words to his daughter, received many thrashings from his parents for disfiguring the neighboring rocks and. fences with colored pictures of man and beast, conceived the idea of decorating the walls of his hostelry with the efforts of his prentice paint brush. Before long, people used to come specially to see the quaint wall paintings, and as he assiduously added picture after picture, the Rocklily Art Gallery became a regular resort of tourists, and brought the painter-proprietor much custom, When Houreaux died several years ago, he had filled every foot of space on the walls, windows, and doors, with his odd oil paintings, representing all kinds of things from battlefields to funny French tit-bits.
Yesterday, as Madame Briquet, daughter of the late painter proprietor, was removing the family belongings from the old rooms, a "Sun" representative was courteously shown the whole life work of the imaginative old Frenchman. As you enter the hall, the first thing to greet you Is a life-size picture of ex-Licensing Inspector Lenthall, the lucky N.S.W. retired police officer who a few years ago came in for an immense fortune in the old country, and died on his English estate. The Rocklily Hotel was a favorite resort of the licensing inspector. Alongside Inspector Lenthall is a big picture of a Bacchanalian individual, evidently wishing the officer a merry Christmas.
In the first of the large rooms one wall is completely filled with a brilliantly-colored representation of the 'battle of "Rorke's Drift." Another wall depicts the death of Nelson at Trafalgar, while a third shows a stirring battle scene, "Vive L'Empereur." The fourth wall is delightfully ; Incongruous, devoted as it is to humorous French subjects. In another room the captive Napoleon on board the Bellerophon glares gloomily down at the deck, while on the opposite wall his great rival, Wellington, Is shown riding up to a battlefield camp; and, judging from the cook's operations, to dinner!
Vividly-hued pictures of French culrasseurs and English lancers in action adorn the remaining walls. There are large pictures in., other rooms of naval reviews, wrecks by the dozen, battles, old-time knights of the road, Australian bush scenes, and pastorals of his own loved native land, all gloriously mixed up with humorous little sketches of the French school. The faces of Generals Hutton and Baden Powell are the most modern additions to the gallery.
The imagination of the energetic old painter was thoroughly cosmopolitan; he dragged every country and every phase of life Into his productions, which though perhaps not works of art, are very interesting, and are remarkable for their bold coloring. Houreaux was undoubtedly a master of color!
The old landlord's faith in the future of Pittwater is shown in a picture on the verandah walls. Houreaux was, by-the-way, a valuable pioneer of the district, and ran the coaches from Manly for many years. The painting shows a steam tram passing the doors of the Rocklily Hotel, while a bustled nigger cyclist capsizes In front of the engine. It was painted 28 years ago, and It looks prophetic. The electric tram now comes to within a few miles of the spot, and will assuredly pass the doors of the old building within a very short period, according to Mr. Griffith's promise.
Old-time frequenters of the hostelry will be pleased to hear that the famous pictures will be preserved. Mr. Briquet, son-in-law of the dead painter, who owns the property, states that he and his wife will keep the place Intact at all costs.
"It has so many -memories for us," says Mr. Briquet. "Ah, It was a great rendezvous for four great men In the old days," Mr. Briquet went on in his quaint French accent; "Mr. Dalley always dined here on Sundays. He was a grand man. Sir Henry Parkes and the other great members of Parliament often visited us, and Sir George Reid— he was here hundreds of times. How did he like a good dinner! It was a pleasure to see him dine! All the artists and great men used to come and enjoy our dinners, and sit sipping their wine under the old grapevines. The great Phil May loved the place. He lived here for nearly a year. He was the great man, and made such fun. And your brilliant young artists the Lindsays stayed here, too. Everybody from all parts of the world used to come here for our dinners, and to see the paintings on the walls!"
One can easily Imagine Sir George Reid, after a delectable French dinner, seated under the spreading, vines, and lazily reaching up now and then for a bunch of luscious grapes. The grapes at present are nearly ripe, and hang In huge clusters, but there will be no hotel patrons to enjoy them. Thanks to the blundering of the Liquor Act, the career of the old hostelry, with its quaint picture gallery,' has been closed, and the road to Pittwater has lost one of its time-honored and cherished attractions.
ROCKLILY HOTEL. (1914, February 2).The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221559251
A little from a writer who claims to have actually met this couple, despite the numerous discrepancies in this work:
MODERN ROADHOUSE LINKED BYGONE AGE. SHADES OF THE PAST AND THE NAUGHTY NINETIES.
(BY W. E. M. ABBOTT)
.... With such graceful and musical names, one would feel that the Rock Lily would have continued 'its gay, glittering way, but such was not the case. The flame was already dimmed, and gradually it flickered and was extinguished. Perhaps Justine, and her husband, Monsieur Briquiet, had not the same flair for knowing what the pleasure questing public wanted; perhaps they had not the same gay, insouicance of their less conventional predecessors. Perhaps a new era was already dawning which was to see the passing of the florid, music hall, beer-drinking and spacious era of Edward the Peacemaker. For a little while the Briquets kept the hotel on, then leased it to other licensees until 1913, when it finally closed its doors on the public, and remained merely a home for this couple and for the ghosts of a fashionable past.
As a young boy, the writer, holidaying at Mona Vale, I never counted it complete without a visit to the Rock Lily, and the two Briquets, who gave permission to wander at will through the dusty corridors, where paintings pressed in on one, as though warning not to try and peer into the past and the life they guarded. ' Through stout doors, into high, empty reception rooms, with drawn shades that filtered light on to the perennial frames of Rorke's Drift, or fellsadjy on Napoleon standing on the deck of the Bellerphon, sailing into eternity. More mundane occupation was to visit the great grape trellis and eat one's fill of grapes, and even pick clothes-buckets full to take home for jam-making. Still, among the long grass stood a few neglected, weather-worn tables, waiting in vain for diners long since dead. Monsieur Briquet died some 20 years before his wife, who lived on in this strange hostelry of memories, surrounded by giant charging Grenadiers' and red booted garrison, defenders until her death in 1943.
Then it seemed as if Time stepped in to claim its own, and the dissolution which seemed to have secretly taken possession at the end of Leon Hereux and Madame Bouton's reign, boldly came to the fore, as white-ants, dry rot and the elements, plus the ever-present and also peculiar to Australia, all had their way with the old building. Perhaps after all it is right that the Past belongs to the Past, and that we have no right in our stream-lined modern age, with cocktail parties, and radio, chromium plate and synthetics, sophistication and speed, to peer into a more leisurely and gracious past, which we have discarded for our high-powered present.
Perhaps it is right that Leon has in his withdrawal from an age and a way of living we no longer understand, taken with him 'Madame,' his flourishing hostelry, the gay company that inhabited it, and, lastly, his paintings, leaving only the outline of the building of long ago, and the name, taken from the days when Rock Lilies flourished all about the terrain they were to make famous for two or three decades. MODERN ROADHOUSE LINKED BYGONE AGE. (1949, April 8). The Scone Advocate (NSW : 1887 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved fromhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162716433
The Briquets actually closed the doors when liquor licences in the area were reduced - records indicate Auguste owned property adjacent to and including the large Borck residence, where he also had a residence he owned "St Helena". Beginning in 1911, and even until 1929, lots from this land were sold - this would indicate they probably didn't need to work or had enough in assets left to live. A search if NSW Records for land ownership:
Primary Application - Justine Leontine Briquet on Bay View Road & Darley and Allen Streets & on Pacific Ocean near Pittwater Shire Warringah Parish Narrabeen Volume 2195 Folios 181 & 182 - 6 acres 1 rood. Date range: 19/10/1910 to 30/10/1911
Primary Application - Justine Leontine Briquet 4 acres 1 rood 21 1/2 perches on Pittwater & Gordon Roads & Vineyard Street near Pittwater in Shire Warringah Parish Narrabeen County Cumberland Volume 2762 Folio 161 Date range: 15/12/1913 to 05/06/1917
1. Manly's Palm Beach - Page 100 - Alan Sharpe - 1993 - Manly (N.S.W.)
Justine Leontine and Auguste Briquet - 1907. One of Leon's murals on the wall behind them.
By A J Guesdon, 2011. All Rights Reserved.