The Story Of The Raglan
The Lord Raglan Inn was built in 1854 by James Hain, his wife Mary, sons William, Samuel and Joseph and daughters Jane and Anne. They arrived in Sydney on the sailing ship “Petrel” in November 1849 and eventually arrived on the Monaro in 1852 at Rock Flat, as shepherds for the large Monaro landholder William Bradley. The second son George, a stonemason, arrived with his wife Emma and three daughters, Mary Jane, Eliza and Martha (who was born at sea on the ship Rodney rounding the cape of Good Hope, in 1854, as the Raglan was being built). Mary Hain died here in 1858.
The Lord Raglan was first licensed as an Inn in April 1855 and was named after James Fitzroy Somerset, Lord Raglan, a military gentleman who commanded the British Army in the Crimean War in 1854.
The building is of stone and pit sawn timber with some of the verandah rafters part sawn and part adzed and was the first building in Cooma to be roofed with iron. The style of the roofing selected was known as “standing ridge galvanised iron panels.” The building was re-roofed in 1976 with panels identical to the originals.
The night before the grand opening in July 1855, tragedy struck the family. The three sons, who were all adults by this time, were sleeping in a small room which had been freshly plastered. To dry the wet plaster a fire was left burning in a bucket in the room and sadly the third son, William, was overcome by the smoke and died. He is buried at the Old Christ Church Cemetery on Myalla Road; his mother Mary is in the same grave site.
In 1860 the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney opened a branch at the northern end of the Raglan, making it the first bank in Cooma. James Hain would have been one of the bank’s first customers when he sold them several pickle bottles full of gold. The bank was well located to serve the gold miners who were flocking to seek their fortunes at Kiandra Goldfields at this time, and Lambie Street was then the main street of Cooma.
The building was lived in by members of the Hain Family (descendants of Joseph and Ann Hain) until the early 1950’s. Joseph Hain (youngest son of James and Mary) died here in 1895 and his wife Ann in 1927.
In the early 1950s, the building fell into disrepair. It was then purchased by a group of locals headed by Lindsay Hain, great grandson of the original owner, and exactly 20 years later it was sold to the Cooma Monaro Shire Council to ensure its preservation.
In 1968 a group of 3 Snowy Women, Betty Gibson, Pauline Hunter and Jenny Makinson approached Lindsay Hain to use the Lord Raglan Inn as an Art Gallery to showcase local art as well as established artists' work. Lindsay Hain was only too happy to see life brought back into the old building. Without the vision of these 3 ladies the Gallery would not exist today.
In June 1994 the Council agreed to allow the building to be operated on a non-profit basis as a Community Gallery and Cultural Centre and a Board of Management was established was established which met for the first time on the 31st of August that year. The volunteer board is assisted by the “Friends of the Raglan” group and other volunteers who staff the Gallery from 10:30am to 3:30pm every Wednesday to Sunday.
The heritage garden is of special interest having being restored and maintained by volunteers. Of particular note are the Bay Tree and the Irish Strawberry Tree both of which are over 100 years old. The Wisteria is also a beautiful feature, especially in Spring, if it escapes a Monaro frost.
This history of the Raglan was compiled by Wendy Hain,
Great Great Grand-daughter of James Hain in January 2009
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”