Le Marlin Café (1982-1986) 4 Bunga Street Bermagui
To most people, the flying blue Marlin adorning the corner of an older group of shops in Bermagui goes unnoticed, but it’s remembered fondly by many as home of Le Marlin Café, eating place, meeting place and venue for some incredible acts for a few years in the mid-eighties. It opened in December 1982, the ‘brainchild’ of Bruce Angus who was ably supported by Georgie Adamson, the latter operating it until 1986 when she formed a new partnership with Helen Blacka and moved to Le Wharf.
It happened at a party on the Murrah. Bruce and Georgie were eager for ‘something to do’ in this small town, and Rob Tachechi was a young real estate agent with an empty space next to his office.
What could be better than a café next to his office? – a constant source of food and fun.
The premises had a good history, its former owners were the Drakos family – good cooks with a Greek influence – serving fish, chips and hamburgers. In those days it was known as the JET Marlin Café, named after Jimmy, Emmanuel and Theo.
Bruce and Georgie changed the name and built rustic tables out of green spotted gum. (the shrinkage of this timber later caused some problems to diners); gave it a quick paint job and tart up and the doors were open to the summer tourists in three weeks flat.
A local girl, Karen Dibden, a dynamo in the kitchen, recently in Bermagui after a season up north cooking on the pearling boats out of Broome was quickly snaffled to help set up the kitchen and turn Georgie into a cook. BJ (Brian Jones) came and helped that first summer too. He did everything. And others, like the tall, blond ‘Ukraine princess’, Marishka Rennie – who was Georgie’s work mate for eight years – became part of the ‘Le Marlin family’. With a caravan out the back for the kids to ‘crash in’ on late late nights, it was also a home to the kids, Nick and Jo. Plus the large back yard backing onto the Bermagui Creek, the café cat and burrawang-thatched shelters which became a gathering place for friends and workers.
And there were plenty of those….who came to enjoy the music around the pot belly stove. Resident artist Neil Graham immediately became popular which led to bigger bands of all persuasions performing at the Le Marlin Café. Jazz, rock, country and classical was all heard there to the delight of locals and the amazement of late night visitors arriving tired and hungry from the city when they were surprised to find this oasis in a quiet little fishing village – warmth, people, good food, laughter and music. People still talk about the great atmosphere of that café.
But it wasn’t only music – there was always something happening at the Le Marlin – painting classes, fitness classes (amazing how many blokes dropped in for coffee on fitness class days!). There were also local theatrical productions and the brilliant fashion parades – Bermagui Beauties showing off the amazing array of local fashions to rival any fashion house, and each had to be stage-managed, choreographed and rehearsed for weeks – and each had the kind of drama which accompanies all productions!
The food was plentiful and honest with the best catch off the boats and lots of local produce delivered out the back. The kitchen churned it out – all day, every day…cakes, burgers, sates, soups, garlic bread, calamari, and home made spring rolls are some dishes that come to mind. The Le Marlin would have to be the only place that had lentil burgers and garlic crayfish on the same menu!
From the moment it started it didn’t stop. And at the end of the night there was still the floor to mop and just one more hungry fisherman to feed.
Proprietor: Georgie Adamson
CD transfer: Dave Rowe
Tracks: Total Control – 3.10 Alana Russak, Bob Harris, 6 January 1984, Mechanic – 6.28
Neil Graham, Mark Smith, John Harris, 10 June 1983, Tinnea – 2.27 Garry Mallard 1984, Any Way You Want Me To Go – 2.30, Neil Graham, Allan Broadhurst, Bob Harris, 6 January 1984, My Skin – 2.37 Alana Russak, Bob Harris, 6 January 1984, Bless My Soul – 4.00 Neil Graham, John Harris, Mark Smith, Cobargo Bob, 18 June 1983, Willin’ – 4.18 John Harris, Mark Smith, Neil Graham, 10 June 1983, I Can’t Wait – 2.26 Bob Harris, 6 January 1984, It’s Now Or Never – 0.48 Lowell Tarling, Adrian Roy, 24 June 1983, Shearing In A Bar – 4.57
Neil Graham, 24 June 1983, Boys In Town – 2.49 Alana Russak, Bob Harris, 6 January 1984, An Aussie Institution – 5.34 Peter Markham 1984, You’ve Got To Move – 2.18 Neil Graham, Allan Broadhurst, Bob Harris, 6 January 1984, Love Minus Zero, No Limit – 2.00 Lowell Tarling 1984, Brave – 4.41 Martin Fowler, Harold Park Hotel, Sydney, 21 May 1995, Nowhere – 3.47 Martin Fowler, Harold Park Hotel, Sydney, 21 May 1995