Vera Dempsey had probably been heavily involved in the running of the Terminus all along, and after her husband’s death she took over the license. Her own mother had been the licensee at the Kauri Hotel on Pyrmont Bridge Road and she had company in Margaret Singleton, who ran the Royal Pacific across the street for a decade until 1938.
When she couldn’t find staff several of her sisters helped out .Jennice Kersh, who grew up in the Ways Terrace flats, retains a strong memory of Mrs. Dempsey in the later decades, towards the end of her tenure at the Terminus as a strong and fair woman, the type of woman who is often caricatured as the typical matriarchal publican who kept the men under control.
She had big boobs. Dressed smartly, conservative with white blouses and suits. She had a touch of red in her hair – not brassy, just a touch. She had presence. If she ever barred you it was thought of as a great ‘shame.’ She was a great feminist without knowing it.