PHOTOS

Wonderful memories for countless people at Doltone House over 50 years

Dolly and Tony Stubbs realised their own dream and helped create wonderful memories for countless others when they built a wedding reception centre at Sylvania Waters 50 years ago.

Called Doltone House - derived from joining their first names - the venue was perfectly timed for the first wave of baby boomers tying the knot.

The "ultra-modern, home-style reception lounge", as it was described in ads, was also promoted for birthday parties, other social events, business conferences and conventions.

This month, a host of dignitaries, headed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Gladys Berejiklian, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone in 1969.

People, who celebrated weddings and other social events at Doltone House, are also being asked to contribute with their memories.

For Paul Signorelli, who with his father Biaggio bought Doltone House from the Stubbs family in 1994, it's a great occasion.

"There are not many local family businesses - in our case, two families - who survive for 50 years, particularly in the hospitality industry," he said.

"It's a tribute to he hard work, dedication and passion of both families. What Tony and Dolly did 50 years ago was amazing and we are proud to continue and build on that."

Dolly Stubbs, who is 90 and living at Yowie Bay, said, "You couldn't have asked for nicer people to carry on the business. The respect they show me is incredible."

During the 20 years before they built Doltone House, Dolly and Tony owned several other businesses in the shire, including Gymea's first cake shop, Doltone Cakes, which they opened in 1955.

"Our dream was to open a wedding reception centre," Mrs Stubbs said.

"We had a lot of knock-backs, being told 'you can't build here or there', before the Sylvania Waters site came up.

"We sold our other businesses and properties, bought three blocks and built Doltone House. We borrowed $250,000 and it didn't end there.

"There were two function rooms upstairs with separate staircases. The Sylvan Room took 150 people and the Celebrity Room 250.

"We lived upstairs in a three-bedroom unit, which the Signorellis later demolished to expand the Sylvan Room.

"When the building was finished, we had an open day and served scones with jam and cream, and donated the proceeds to charity.

"It was a beautiful business - the weddings, school formals and other special events.

"Tony and I loved working together and our three children grew up in the business and were very much involved.

"I have got a lovely book filled with letters from people who wrote to say what a wonderful reception they had with us."

Today, Doltone House Sylvania caters for over 3000 people a week, with wedding receptions and other personal events comprising 60 per cent of the business.

The Signorelli family has opened a further four Doltone House venues, with another two large venues planned.

Mr Signorelli said the group's success, including numerous industry awards, resulted from continuing commitment and hard work.

"What goes on behind the scenes is all-important," he said. "People see the marble, but they don't see the quarry, where the work is done."

HARD WORK IN FAMILY'S DNA

Biaggio Signorelli worked in the fruit and vegetables before seeing there was more of a future for his family in hospitality. Picture: supplied

Biaggio Signorelli worked in the fruit and vegetables before seeing there was more of a future for his family in hospitality. Picture: supplied

Dolly Stubbs remembers Biaggio Signorelli as "a lovely, lovely man".

Mr Signorelli, who with his son Paul bought Doltone House in 1994, was 19 and from a small Sicilian town when he arrived in Sydney in 1954 with only a suitcase.

His first job was unloading fruit and vegetables at the Darling Harbour docks. He worked hard and eventually saved enough to buy his own greengrocer business in 1962.

During the 1970s, Mr Signorelli delivered fruit to the Blakehurst home of Jim Fleming, from the supermarket family.

Mr Fleming became a mentor and encouraged Mr Signorelli to start a business.

Mr Signorelli went on to open many businesses, one being a local Italian food hall named Mother Nature's Fruit World at Blakehurst in 1988.

In 2006 Biaggio Signorelli purchased Mr Fleming's large home.

Despite the success of his businesses, Mr Signorelli believed the future lay in hospitality, which led him and his son Paul to Doltone House in 1994.

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