The Sydney Morning Herald – Wednesday 31 December 1930
Our Northern Borders – The Twin Towns on the Tweed – (By Kathleen Reed)
Every visitor to Tweed Heads and Coolangatta climbs the Razorback, that long, flat topped height which lies in New South Wales behind the peninsula, first to see the view, which is, indeed, wonderful, and gives a fine impression of the Twin Towns, and secondly, to sample the coffee made from freshly-ground beans, and the delicious scones and honey, which are obtainable at a little kiosk, hidden among trees and ferns not far from the stony, razor-like ridge of the summit.
Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 2079
Seldom does one find so charming a refreshment place, and as it is only with difficulty that a car can be brought up here it is unspoilt by a crowd. It is kept by a Swiss and his wife, a New Zealander, who in her white cap and apron might well be taken for a native of her husband’s country.
The main room, where Monsieur makes the coffee behind some ferns, is cave-like in its coolness and green and brown tones.
Then there is a verandah, from which one looks over the landward edge of the ridge towards the blue ranges.
Source – Nation Library of Australia
Things haven’t changed much..
This photo was taken around 1934 it’s an interesting angle because if I’m not mistaken on the left in the background is the tower of St Augustine’s Church. Imagine climbing ‘The Razorback’ and having a freshly brewed coffee and delicious scones with honey, probably locally produced. I can tell you now you’ll have to go to Tweed or Coolangatta if you want a coffee.
When I did my urban walk following Dixon Street and then onto Razorback Road, I was following a well trodden path, visitors have been hiking along the same route for over eighty years, Razorback Road would have been a dirt track and I suspect that it would have been a hard rocky climb.
This photo opposite is dated Tuesday 13 December 1949, http://trove.nla.gov.au it’s been enhanced roughly from an online newspaper it will be replaced if a better copy or photograph becomes available. In the photo you can see the party of hikers descending the mountain trail.
Razorback road was difficult to drive up in the early years being a dirt road. There was a spectacular accident in 1935. When you consider that the to women involved in the accident probably had just enjoyed a freshly brewed coffee or tea, along with scones at the kiosk on ‘The Razorback’. The newspaper account goes on to say….
At Terrific Speed
Car’s Treble Somersault
Brisbane Woman Killed
COOLANGATTA, November 23 1935
Mrs Vera McDermott (38), wife of Mr N. J. McDermott, chemist, of Brunswick Street, New Farm, suffered fatal injuries when a motor car in which she and her mother, Mrs Mary McInerney, were descending the steep road from Razorback, Tweed Heads, this afternoon, got out of control and somersaulted three times, Mrs McDermott died shortly after admission to a Tweed Heads hospital, and her mother is in a critical condition.
Mr and Mrs McDermott had been spending a holiday at Burleigh, and while the former was playing bowls at Tweed Heads green the two women decided to go to Razorback Hill for afternoon tea.
The road is extremely steep, and it is thought that Mrs McDermott, who was driving, attempted to change into low gear to slow down the car and ease the strain on the brakes, but failed to get into low gear, and the car, out of gear, gathered speed.
The clashing of the gears as Mrs McDermott tried unsuccessfully to get the car into gear was heard a good distance away.
For about 300 to 400 yards the car careered down the steep road, and then Mrs McDermott apparently applied the brakes hard in an attempt to check its speed so that she would be able to negotiate the bend.
However, the car, which at that time was estimated to be travelling at about (60 miles an hour, skidded wildly and turned sideways across the road. It rolled over, and then, coming to rest on its wheels, raced up an embankment and somersaulted twice more before ending its dash In the middle of the road.
When the car skidded Mrs McDermott was thrown about 20 ft in the air, and, striking the roadway, was rendered unconscious. Her mother was also thrown out, and suffered n broken arm, in addition to internal and head injuries.
Assistance was quickly forthcoming, and the two women were hurried by ambulance to a private hospital at Tweed Heads.
So great was the speed at which the car was travelling that the bonnet and a bumper bar were torn off and were found short 30 yards away in a banana plantation. The car was a total wreck. http://trove.nla.gov.au Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton Qld)Monday 25 November 1935)