The iconic big blue building at the intersection of North and Berry streets and Bridge Road in the Nowra CBD is no more.
The home of Dave Hill Marine since the early 1980s, known for its vivid light blue colour, has undergone a dramatic facelift.
Work started on the makeover on Tuesday morning with the team from Russell Hogan Painting at Greenwell Point putting on the grey undercoat.
What followed was a new look, dark grey, almost black and a white top, complete with red accent trimming.
"A change is as good as a holiday," said Darren Hill, whose family has operated their marine business from the location since 1980.
"When my parents (Janet and David) first moved the business to this location it was painted mission brown and cream.
A change is as good as a holiday.Darren Hill
"Not long after they moved here they repainted it the blue and it's been that colour ever since."
As a heritage listed building Mr Hill said they had to get approval through Shoalhaven City Council to change its colour.
"It was quite quick actually," he said.
"Lots of people were wondering what we were going to do...we just kept telling them 'watch this space'.
"I guess we'll have to stop telling people who ask where to find us 'just look for the big blue building on the corner' now.
Read more: Now is the time to support local businesses
When my parents (Janet and David) first moved the business to this location it was painted mission brown and cream. They changed the building's colour to bright blue and it has been that way ever since.Darren Hill
"It's amazing how many people actually think the building is sandstone and not tin.
"People come in all the time and say 'why would you paint sandstone?'
"If they actually tapped it they'd find out pretty quick it's tin."
Mr Hogan said he and his team, which includes husband and wife team Zoli and Katlyn Bailey, fielded plenty of questions about "what the finished colour would be".
Even as they were putting the undercoat on over the pressed tin exterior people wanted to know what was happening.
"It's not a hard job, but a challenge painting over the tin," he said.
The South Coast Register posted a photo of the undercoat colour on its Facebook page posing the question what colour should the building be painted and received a wide variety of suggestions.
We do think "hot pink" was never going to be a suitable option.
I guess we'll have to stop telling people who ask where to find us 'just look for the big blue building on the corner' now.Darren Hill
Come Thursday morning and the new dark exterior colour started to reveal itself and Mr Hogan said the response was good.
"A number of people passing mentioned they liked the new look," he said.
"Some loved it, some didn't, but it's hard to please everyone."
And the work is not finished there, there is some other exciting news which will be announced soon.
A fascinating history
The building at 1 Berry Street, Nowra has a fascinating history as outlined by Alan Clark and Robyn Florance in their book The Changing Face of the Nowra CBD.
The building now known as Dave Hill Marine was built on land owned by Wilfred Ison who had purchased a property in September 1909.
Motor Engineers and Garage Proprietors McDonald and Selby operated the premises from November 1920.
They advertised oxy-acetylene welding, all classes of motor repairs and vulcanising and held a large stock of tyres, greases, oils etc.
Arthur W Barnes leased the property at the Bridge Road corner (corner Berry and North streets) in November 1923.
Extensive additions were carried out in 1927, nearly doubling the accommodation that previously existed.
The garage was extended giving a frontage of 70 feet to Berry Street and 140 feet to North Street, with no less than 10,000 square feet of floor space (all concrete).
The garage boasted a well-lit and ventilated showroom, as well as offices and store-rooms and three fuel bowsers were available for clients. At the time the staff consisted of five motor mechanics and two apprentices, together with clerical staff and salesmen.
For a short time in 1932 the garage became a temporary Ambulance Station. The southern corner of the garage facing Berry Street was petitioned off and double doors installed to make it a separate area. The Maltese cross painted over the doorway was clearly visible for many years.
The property was leased in 1932 to Edward Walter Varvel who had been in Barnes' employ for two years.
In 1934 Nowra Council approved another fuel bowser to be put up at the garage facing North Street.
Arthur John Hiscox became the proprietor in June 1935 and it became Fraser's Garage Ltd in December 1937.
Other businesses which have occupied the site throughout the years have been Lawrence Motors (in 1952 Jimmy Lawrence and Jack Ison went to Melbourne and drove the first two Holden cars to Nowra), Wes Madge - mower sales and service and an agent for NRMA; Auto Village (Honda and Alfa Romeo), an antique shop and a slot car speed track business.
It was all used by the Ison family as a general store shed for their timber and hardware business.
In 1980 Dave Hill relocated to the premises when the bypass went through the town on East Street.
Dave Hill Marine had begun in 1975 with the business being located at 12 East Street, Nowra.
In the beginning Dave and Janet Hill worked in the business on their own, with help from their children Noel, Greg, Darren and Elvy as needed.
The building houses a very successful marine sales and service business
Dave and Janet Hill purchased a property from the Ison family in 1995.
Read more: Local History
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