Having worked on the railway for many years, Billy Wilson knew a lot of people in Goulburn, and gave his daughter Kathy and son-in-law Grahame Hogan two pieces of advice when they bought a corner store.
Billy, who worked alongside the Hogans for the first two years in their new venture, said no matter who came through the door they were to be greeted with a smile and don’t gossip, because you didn’t know who you were serving.
The Hogans ran the general store from 1995 until Australia Day 2008, when their daughter Ali and son-in-law Matt Condylios took over. Matt’s grandparents Steve and Rose ran the Chelsea Espresso decades earlier opposite the Odeon Theatre in Auburn Street.
One of the few corner stores to survive since the early 1930s, Hogan’s General Store had a succession of owners including Lloyd and Wendy Snowdon, the Thompsons (1952-’72) and the Thwaites.
Kathy served Bruce Burrell several times, but cannot recall much about him. A local man now deceased, Burrell was later jailed for the murders of Kerry Whelan and grandmother Dorothy Davis. Police suspected he had disposed of Mrs Whelan on his Bungonia property.
A knife-wielding thief tried to hold up Grahame and Kathy in the shop one early evening and steal cigarettes. Aged about 40, the intruder from out of town had been staying in Mundy Street with a friend, and came in with a kitchen knife.
Grahame won’t repeat what he had said, but Kathy said as the man quickly retreated her husband “planted a fire extinguisher in his back”. Police later arrested the would-be thief.
The Hogans lived in the house attached to the shop and were woken one early morning when a security guard called to say their front door had been forced open. “Someone broke in and took all the cigarettes while we were asleep,” Kathy said.
Helped behind the counter by their three children Ali, Sally and John, the Hogans sold groceries, fresh sandwiches which Kathy made, Bryants pies, newspapers and fresh fruit and vegetables from Toparis wholesalers. The shop was a busy social hub where South Goulburn School and neighbours from Australia, Auburn and Munday Streets met daily. Farmers coming to and from the saleyards were also regulars.
“The way we had the shop, it didn’t matter what you had or who you were, if you had nothing or a lot, everyone seemed at home there. Instead of having a few friends, you were friends with half the town,” Kathy said.
The current owners Matt and Ali have finally resolved parking issues out the front and thank Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Peter Walker and councillors Jason Shepherd and Steve Ruddell for their help. Until their intervention parking was unrestricted and is now limited to 15 minutes. “Once a neighbour parked there for a week with a trailer,” Ali said.
Ali was 15 when her parents arrived to a much different store that had shelves filled with groceries. Many of their customers have watched Ali grow up since 1995 and now see her children growing as well.
As the grocery business fell away to supermarkets the shop’s focus changed. “Mum and Dad started the takeaway with small electrical equipment for hamburgers and chips and we upgraded it with the gas equipment,” Ali said.
Now Hogan’s is best known for its bacon and egg rolls, hamburgers and chips, steak sandwiches and chicken schnitzels. “Between 9:30 am and 10:30 am, a lot of the tradesmen come for smoko,” Matt said. “They will have an earlier lunch, so to speak. They’ll fill up with that mid-morning break and then go the rest of the day,” he said.
“Our tradies are pretty loyal to us too, they will travel across town to eat here, they are good like that,” Ali said.
The couple cooked dagwood dogs last weekend at the fundraising fireworks at North Goulburn Primary School. “We’ve been doing that for 12 years now, it’s pretty easy to put it together,” Ali said. They donate their profits to the school where their four boys Tom, Josh, Lachy and Billy attend. “We also support the Luke McCue rugby day. Luke was a good friend of Josh’s,” Ali said. (Luke tragically died in a car crash).
Their shop’s front window is a community noticeboard where their customers advertise everything from fresh eggs, puppies and cars for sale, sewing services and upcoming events like the rodeo, speedway and swap meet.
The shop continues as the heart of the neighbourhood on the southern end of Auburn Street, Goulburn.
Original Article published by John Thistleton on About Regional.