When local furniture-makers were part of the furniture

Carl Small and staff outside the factory in Lismore.
Carl Small and staff outside the factory in Lismore.

TODAY most furniture in our local shops has been made in factories many miles away, possibly even in other countries.

However, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was more normal for the furniture to be made locally. 

In Lismore Brown & Jolly, and later Carl Small Furnishings, were probably the most successful in this field. While Brown & Jolly also built houses Carl Small concentrated on furnishings.

Carl Small was born in Ulmarra in 1898 the son of Herbert Thomas and Barbara Elizabeth Small (nee Grebert, previously Marcolino). The Small family were pioneers in the Clarence River District as shipping and cedar agents and later as squatters.

Carl's father inherited one of his father's properties but later sold most of it so he could concentrate on his first love - the breeding of fine horses.

Carl was the eldest son but was not particularly interested in either the land or horses so, when the First World War began, he could not wait to enlist.

He was only 17 and knew that he would be known in Grafton so he cycled to Lismore and enlisted there, giving his age as 21. His army papers say he enlisted at Bathurst in 1916 but apparently he was sent there for initial training.

He experienced some of the worst fighting in France and was gassed and wounded. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for acting as a stretcher bearer.

As most of the stretcher bearers had been killed he had volunteered.

On his own initiative he organized others into stretcher parties and helped the wounded, many times going out into the firing line. His Medal was presented to him by King George V. Carl met the King again when he was a member of the King's Guard of Honour at the opening of Australia House in London in 1918.

Returning to Australia in 1919 he took some time to settle. He joined the Police Force and in 1928 he married Mary Lorna (Molly) Navin in Sydney.

On leaving the Police Force the young couple moved to Murwillumbah and then to Albury where he sold A.W.A. radios. In 1936 they came to Lismore where Carl decided to open a furniture store in Magellan Street. He also became the Sports Announcer at the newly established 2LM radio station.

He was very interested in the community, was a keen sportsman and joined various organizations including the Lismore Musical Festival Society. He was elected an Alderman of Lismore Council.

He became very interested in water conservation and irrigation and it was largely because of his efforts that the Richmond Valley Development Association was formed. This Association's activities led to the office of the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission being set up in Lismore.

In the late 1940s there were difficulties in obtaining supplies so Carl Small extended his business to include the building of fine furniture. The factory also supplied stores in Sydney and elsewhere throughout the State.

By this time his son and daughter had both joined the business. The daughter, Moira, had become a qualified interior designer. She therefore managed interior design and soft furnishings. Later she was to establish her own business in a separate building.

He loved boats and always owned one, though his wife, Molly, complained that they always lived in rented houses. He therefore built a beautiful home at Goonellabah and took her on a wonderful holiday to the Barrier Reef in a new Yacht.

He died in 1983 aged 84. His wife died in 1993. Both are buried in the Lismore Lawn Cemetery at Goonellabah.

Topics:  big scrub history

Girls were refused bail after house trash charges

GIRLS CHARGED: Lismore Police arrested three teenage girls regarding alleged property damage to a youth home in Keen St, Lismore, The trio were bail refused and will appear in court today.

Three young females bail refused in Lismore

Hazard burning had no contingency plans

HOT STUFF: It might look green out there but dry conditions combined with stronger winds make for hazardous condition for fuel reduction fires. The RFS is asking landowners to have contingency plans in place.

Burning off needs good planning

Fawcett Bridge to close for load testing

Fawcett Bridge will close for load testing.

Closure to test current load capacity on bridge

Local Partners

Tunnel work means traffic diversions for motorists

ESSENTIAL maintenance work will be happening inside the St Helena Tunnel causing changed traffic conditions from next Monday.

Bee Gees music is 'stayin' alive' 40 years later

HOT HITS: The Australian Bee Gees Show is coming to the Northern Rivers.

Show celebrates 40 years of Saturday Night Fever

Expo to help you discover your career

Do you know someone who would benefit from a Careers expo?

Richmond Valley youth are invited to careers expo on August 28.

Connect with North Coast artists on 2017 Mud Trail

On the path of the 2017 North Coast Mud Trail.

"To have completed a piece created by your own special.”

The two stars who intimidated Chris Hemsworth

HE plays a superhero on the big screen, but Chris Hemsworth has revealed that he was ‘weirdly shaken’ when he met two other big name actors.

Sam Newman: How a Playboy magazine changed everything

The new crew of The Footy Show.Source:Supplied

How a Playboy magazine changed everything.

Leah slams Matty: ‘I was incredibly disappointed’

Leah says she was ‘incredible disappointed’ with Matty J.

BACHELOR evictee's controversial chat with Kyle and Jackie O.

John Eales finds peace with the haka

Inia Maxwell and John Eales in a scene from the documentary John Eales Reveals: The Haka.

Rugby legend is on a quest to learn about a sacred Maori tradition/

The Bachelor recap: Secret pasts publicly exposed

Matty J is left speechless on The Bachelor.

TWO Bachelor contestants’ secret adult pasts have been exposed.

Mother-daughter duo passes Top of the Lake test

Alice Englert, Jane Campion and Nicole Kidman pose for a photograph at the Top of the Lake: China Girl Australian premiere in Sydney.

Alice Englert is a feisty addition to the cast of mum's crime drama.

What's on the big screen this week

Idris Elba in a scene from the movie The Dark Tower.

IDRIS Elba debuts as the Gunslinger in The Dark Tower.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Reports of Ibrahim family connections to farm and food hub

John Ibrahimat Bluesfest 2012.

REPORTS circulate colourful Sydney family have investments on the NR

Stunning, heritage-listed Coast home going under the hammer

STUNNING: Buderim House, a stunning heritage-listed Queenslander estate, is going to auction.

Coast home that played host to royalty is set for auction