Sydney Wentworth Smith was born 20th December 1880 in Wentworth, New South Wales. Sydney's parents Rev Robert Johnstone Smith and Cherrie Smithwick Pennefather had 6 children in which Sydney was the second youngest. Sydney married Mary Margaret Quirk in 1918 and had one son Ian Johnstone Smith. Sydney was later divorced and he remarried Ruby Adams of Noojee. Sydney owned several hotels in the area such as the Robin Hood Roadhouse at Drouin and Gippsland Hotel in Bunyip. Sydney passed away at the age of 59 years on the 16th December 1939 in Hepburn Springs and he is buried at the Warragul Cemetery.
The Noojee Hotel was first opened on the 7th September 1925 by owner Sydney Wentworth Smith predominately for the growing timber Industry, as a source of accommodation and consumption of Beer.
14 months after its establishment it survived the 1926 bush fires and when the 1939 Black Wednesday bush fires devastated the town, it took on the roll of local school and most other general businesses in town until they were re-established.
Jack Kelly was a local from Powelltown, I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jack, hosting his 80th birthday at The Noojee Hotel, it was a fun day full of old tales and exciting information about the Hotel from so many years ago – as he told me the dinosaur was made out of Bull Ferns harvested from Big Creek Rd, via The Ada Tree in the late 1950’s, along with a joint venture with Ronnie Costin’s and Clem Dunn. The teeth were made from the same material that made artificial limbs and Jack provided from a factory in Chelsea, Victoria.
The dinosaur in his glory stood around 12 foot high, and can still be viewed in the paddock at the side of the Hotel.