Monica Augustine HAINES
Also known as: née Minahan, Mona, Mona Minahan
Died: 1996Special Achievements:
1932 - First barmaid in Central Australia.
1959-60 - First woman to own a Hotel in Alice Springs, 'The Riverside' (now Todd Tavern).
Opened first dress shop in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
The electoral roll for 1940 indicates tha less than 5% of the female population were in paid employment. The most popular work was domestic service in positions such as housemaid, cook, laundress, and waitress. There were also three shop assistants: ... Mona Minahan who at that time ran Centralian Traders (... located on Todd Street) ...
King, Gavin. "NAUGHTY BUT NICE - Mona: bar legend with a big heart." Centralian Advocate [Alice Springs] 13 August 2004:14.
Allchin, Sr M David. "Mona, the war and sisters who did remain." Centralian Advocate [Alice Springs] 15 October 1996:unknown.
Northeast, Val. "During the war, life went on..." Centralian Advocate [Alice Springs] 15 October 1996:unknown.
"Thanks for the memories Mona…" Centralian Advocate [Alice Springs] 27 September 1996:1.
"Her legend cemented from start" newspaper unknown date unknown: page unknown.
“£150,000 Riverside Hotel Granted License.” Centralian Advocate [Alice Springs] 25 March 1960:1.
“Mona relied upon piece of ‘four-be-two’ as backup.” Centralian Advocate [Alice Springs] 13 October 1989:10.
Hartshorn, Michael. “Spirit sure to live on: Stone.” newspaper unknown date unknown:page unknown.
Hartshorn, Michael. “NT’s first barmaid a legend.” newspaper unknown date unknown:page unknown.
Petrick, Jose. (2010, November). The History of Alice Springs through Landmarks & Street Names. St Marys, South Australia: Openbook Howden Design and Print. p. 109.
Joe Kilgariff, his wife Eileen and four sons, came to Alice Springs in 1927.
Eileen’s sister, Mona Minahan (Mrs Ron Haines) visited her, then worked at the Stuart Arms Hotel. Mona was hostess at the opening of the Barrow Creek and Tennant Creek Hotels.
She ran Joe’s store opposite the Stuart Arms, then had her own store. Later she opened the Centralian Traders then the Riverside Hotel in partnership with Joe Costello.
Mona was held in high esteem as she gave credit to many bush people and miners. Usually mica miners could only pay her after the annual mica sales. Some people did not honour their debts but Mona continued to give credit. Sadly Mona died on 19 September 1996.
Petrick, Jose. (2010, November). The History of Alice Springs through Landmarks & Street Names. St Marys, South Australia: Openbook Howden Design and Print. p. 131.
Minahan Road off Ross Highway. Mona Minahan, later Mrs Ron Haines, was a living legend from when she arrived in Alice Springs in 1932 and became the Territory’s first bar maid, until she died on 19 September 1996, six days before her 98th birthday.
Mona arrived on the train, having left SA in a hurry as she had a quarrel with her mother because she came home late. Mona's sister Eileen had married Joe Kilgariff. They were running the Stuart Arms Hotel and had given Mona an open invitation to visit them.
When the Ghan arrived in Alice Springs Mona was so horrified at the hot, dusty little township, she felt like returning to Adelaide straight away, but there was no train for two weeks. A saddled horse awaited her at the railway station and Mona, a born rider, decided to stay!
She became the bar maid at the Stuart Arms and though full of fun would have no nonsense from anyone. Mona's life was crammed with adventure. When the Barrow Creek Hotel was being built she went to Darwin to get the license but the Newcastle Creek was flooded, the truck went under water and Mona had to scramble out.
As she was unable to buy silk stockings and make up in the town she later opened her own store in Todd Street (Mall) called the Cash and Carry. She sold Lucy Secor dresses from Melbourne. Pat Holden ran the dress store. Mona said she catered for nearly every wedding in Alice Springs.
Keen on sport, Mona played golf, tennis and hockey.
With Joe Costello she later opened the Centralian Traders at the northern end of Todd Street, where she also sold groceries. She was noted for her kindness and generosity and would always let bush people, miners, station folk and town residents book up goods and they would pay her when they received their cheque, though some didn't.
Mona and Joe Costello had the Riverside Hotel built, later named the Todd Tavern, which was designed by the celebrated architect Benni Burnett. The license was granted in 1951 on the condition the hotel would be completed by 1954. However building was delayed. Burnett died in March 1955 and the builder Jim Richards tragically died a few months later when he fell off the scaffolding while building the John Flynn Memorial Church. However Joe Kilgariff returned to Alice Springs and, with his brother Steve, commenced reconstruction. The Riverside Hotel opened in March 1960. The hotel was recommended for Heritage listing with the Heritage Council in 2005.
In 1973 Mona and her husband Ron Haines moved to Adelaide but within two years returned to Alice Springs.
Mona was awarded the MBE in 1980 for her generosity to bush people and while her health lasted regularly attended the Queen's Birthday Dinner in Darwin.
Keenly interested in football Mona donated the Minahan Medal for the CAFL's Best and Fairest player. The year after her death would have been her 100th year and the CAFL's 50th.
Ron became sick and went to the Old Timers where he died in 1995.
Mona died in the Alice Springs Hospital on 19 September 1996. She will be remembered for her generosity, quick wit, dressing smartly and her love of dancing and having fun.