John Henry Cusack was a well-known Sydney fish merchant and bookmaker. He seems to have been relatively well off, despite the Great Depression. We can speculate that he may have been an entrepreneur with foresight, a rich speculator, or just a simple fishing tragic!

Whatever, Cusack and his wife Sarah bought four blocks on The Crescent in the late 1930s.  Three were adjoining and he had four ‘auto cabins’ erected.  He built a ‘substantial’ holiday house on the fourth nearby.  The cabins were opened for public inspection in August 1938.  A flyer states that Christmas rental was 63/- (shillings) per week.

Captain Gordon Fraser who was appointed the on-site cabins manager in Cusack’s absences, must have been in poor health, because he left the district in February 1940, only to return as manager in July 1942.  In November he was admitted to a military hospital in Sydney for a serious operation.

After Cusack’s wife Sarah died in 1942, Cusack put the properties up for sale. The three blocks with the cabins were sold as a lot in December 1944 to E. A. Eames, from Sydney. Cusack’s house was sold two years later and he moved to Maclean. However, Cusack remained on the Angourie Reserve committee until 1948.

Eames eventually sold the cabins and store to local estate agent, Ken Apps.  Despite considerable advertising by Apps, the cabins didn’t seem to be as popular as expected. They were dismantled and moved to Yamba in September 1950. They still exist today as 9 -11 Ager Street, Yamba. Cusack’s former holiday house, is 21 The Crescent Angourie. The store was also moved in the early 1950s and can now exists as Belinda’s Spot at the bottom of High Street, Yamba.

Angourie once again reverted to an almost deserted state with only a few fishing shacks and the camping area.

In 1964, W R Weiley wrote about Angourie’s history “…In later years (mid 1930s), a Sydney syndicate (J H Cusack, his wife & his son) acquired a large area (5 allotments) and erected about a dozen (only four) holiday cottages (auto cabins) with garages.  These did not prove as popular as expected and were in turn dismantled and moved to Yamba.”


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Yamba Museum
River Street, Yamba
PO Box 100 Yamba NSW 2464
02 6646 1399

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