They came from the villages of Lebanon To the Inverell District – Julie Regan of the Inverell District Family History Group Inc.
The first Lebanese families who came to Inverell arrived in the early 1920s; some were from the village of Kfsarghab, North Lebanon. Jacob Haddad was one of these people. He was well known in the Inverell district first as a hawker and then as owning a general store in Inverell. Later, with his sons, he founded the well-known general store, J Haddad and Sons at Moree, west of Inverell.
Jacob’s parents, John and Clara Haddad, stayed in Lebanon. However, John came to Australia in 1928. Jacob was once described in the following way: with no more than a big heart and little money he immediately on his arrival in Inverell started as a fruiterer by delivering from door to door. His only means of transport was generally known as “Shanks’s pony” and a wheelbarrow.
Strangely, during the depression he opened his drapery store and mercery business in the township of Tingha, south of Inverell. By 1946 he had extended this business north of Inverell at the small township of Ashford. At the time, his family were old enough to assist in the running of the businesses.
While in Inverell, he and his wife lived at 101 Bundarra Road, Inverell; it was a home open to everyone and one of great hospitality. A sadness in Jacob’s life was the death of his wife, Cecilia, after an accident in 1948. Jacob and Cecilia had four sons: Joseph, Jabour, John and Arthur and two daughters, Mary and Rosa. Cecilia, the daughter of Mr and Mrs John Michael, was born in America. After a short time in Lebanon and following her marriage, Cecilia came to Australia. Cecilia was buried in the Roman Catholic portion of the Inverell cemetery in October 1948. Jacob is buried next to his wife; he died 1 July 1973.
The Cooreys were another Lebanese family. Sadly, Louisa and her husband, Elias Coorey, had only been in Inverell for twelve years when she passed away at the early age of 40 years in 1936. Louisa was known as a charitable person and in that short time had earned a host of friends and admirers. They had seven children: one boy, Joseph, and six girls, Mary (who died in 1925 aged 8 months), Susan, Sheila, Doris, Kathleen and Connie (who was just four months old when her mother died). Elias Coorey died in 1948; he and Louisa are buried in the Roman Catholic portion of the Inverell cemetery.
On a much happier note, is a description of the wedding of Michael Moses, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Moses of Granville, to Nora George, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs George of Inverell, in February 1948 in the Inverell Times. It was a Nuptial Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Otho Street, Inverell. Nora was given away by her father. Nora wore a gown of white Parisian lace over satin-faced taffeta, fashioned with a high neckline. Orange blossoms held in placed her tulle veil, which was kindly loaned by her cousin, Mrs Elias of Stanthorpe, Queensland. The bridesmaids were Joyce George and Margaret and Rosa Moses. Joe Moses attended his brother as best man: Messrs J Haddad and Anthony George were groomsmen. They had a five-tiered cake. Their honeymoon was spent in Melbourne. The couple made their home in Sydney. As the bride left the church, a ‘good luck’ gesture was made by the bridegroom’s mother as she scattered silver coins at the bride’s feet in lieu of confetti.
Like the Haddads and Cooreys, when Nora’s parents came to Inverell, they began working as hawkers. Mrs George could be seen pushing a vegetable laden pram from door to door in town in the 1930s, 40s and into the 50s. Meanwhile, her husband would have been in the market garden in Macintyre Street tending those valuable fresh vegetables. The George family were probably the first in Inverell to have a cold storage area for these vegetables. That building can still be seen in Macintyre Street, Inverell. Later, a lot of this produce was sold at the Brisbane Markets.
The Coorey family were very adventurous; they moved into the dry cleaning business after working tirelessly in the mercery and drapery stores for years. The LaHoods also had a very successful drapery store in the main street of Inverell. When Carl LaHood died in Inverell in 1941, the family had his body embalmed so that it could be sent home to Lebanon. But this was during World War Two, and his embalmed body was not sent to Lebanon until the end of the war.
There are still Lebanese families here in Inverell, including the Hannas, Michaels, Boulous and Borgas.
References: Article written by Julie Regan using information from the Inverell Times obtainable from the Research centre Inverell District Family History Group. The reference to Shank’s Pony – meaning on foot.