Mel Jurd’s wine bar was the hub.
The old pub had burnt to the ground in the late fifties. It is said; Mel himself inadvertently put petrol in the kerosene refrigerator tanks and of course, as anyone who knows about such things will attest, petrol fumes soon find burning wicks and the rest is history as was the pub.
No village like Wolombi could survive without a focus, so the community got together, cut trees, sawed timber and had the new place up and the bar open in six weeks.
When I bought my place there in 1973, the general store was still running but closed before I moved in a year later, making Mel’s the only door open in the village except for the PO and the cop shop.
Home alone after dark, I often visited Mel’s, more for the company than the beer.
The Roberts boys would call in most evenings for a glass or two of brown Muscat, but usually left in time to be home for tea so at the end of the night it was just me sitting there listening to Mel’s stories. On such nights with no strangers about, I would help him make up a jar of his famous ‘Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice’.
It came in only one size back then, the half gallon flagon with screw top lid.
The recipe varied according to what wines were left over from bottles that had been opened during the day, mainly for travelers passing through.
With the help of a funnel, all dregs were tipped into the flagon. If the level reached two thirds, that was enough wine, otherwise it was brought to that level by adding port then filled to the top with bulk brandy.
On went the label (Recommended by 101 year old Mabel Wobbly) and it was ready for sale.
I guess no germ was ever strong enough to live in that mix and no drinker seems to have survived long enough to complain or return to demand a refund!