The Captains log…
Captain Nemo's Subs hit town!
"I reckon we could make a million in five years” was the prediction of three Local ladies based on the popularity of filled rolls in the United States called by many names heroes, grinder, hogies, baguettes, Italian sandwiches and submarines to name a few. This May 1978 edition of “tourist” notes the first year in business for this true Rockhampton icon and the picture below of the first crew the original proprietors (left to right) June Appleton, Suzanne Baitley and Anita Fitzgerald.
Three women create a dream.
By their own admission these women were novices in the business world but they had great fun choosing the name, ‘Captain Nemo’s Submarine Sandwich Base. From the novel by Jules Verne “ Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.” In fact our Nautulis sub is the name of Captain Nemo’s submarine. The proprietors however did have very firm ideas on the type of take away food outlet they were offering the people of Rocky as evidenced by the original mission statement below.
After three decades Captain Nemo’s continues to deliver on those basic principles of freshness quality and efficient personalized service. The hospitality of the crew at the sub is well know and regarded as the subs themselves even the mayonnaise.
The ladies commenced trial batches of their proposed fillings at ‘submarine sandwich’ parties for friends and family to test the acceptability from these humorous gatherings a short list of five subs was developed with all taste ‘experts’ chipping in with potential sub names. Opening the first shop on 20/03/1978 at Carnaby Arcade, East St (next to the CEB for those who can’t remember) the offerings were:
The torpedo speeds up!
This list of subs grew over the years as customers chose or requested alternate fillings. This gave rise to the Captain’s competitions for our customers to choose the names. Two that spring to mind are Boneparte’s Bounty and Tandy Torpedo.
The founding crew lost a wo(man) at sea in the first year of trading when Sue had to depart due to family commitments. June and Anita navigated the seas of trade together for another 12 years during which time they “had some wonderful times and experiences with our customers.” One notable feat was catering for the Capricorn Electricity Board (CEB now Ergon Energy to our younger customers) annual picnic on Great Keppel Island no small feat in the 30’ x 8’ shop with 1150 rolls to be ready by 10 00 hours sharp. Needless to say the families and crew were press-ganged into service, packing and labeling while June and Anita turned out subs at a tremendous rate of knots.
June and Anita continued their efforts running the shop on ‘mothers hours’ even closing during the school holidays. Shop closures were advertised in the local paper with some humour, sometimes implying exotic destinations and unusual activities (for two middle – aged women anyway!) on re-opening the sub was inundated with sub deprived customers.
At the very least the crew always tried to stand out from the crowd and have some fun. Have a look at some of these ads run in The Bully.
A new location.
In 1984 the Cap’t decided to move base so he downed telescope and steamed to 30 William St. (then quickly to 28 William St Next door).
In the same year the Captain opened a second port of call with a seabase on Musgrave St, North Rockhampton.
And yes, the penchant for newspaper advertisements with the spice of the South Seas reflected the healthy happy attitude of the crew.
June purchased Anita’s share of the sub in 1990 when Anita logged off and moved to Brisbane. June continued to navigate the sub through the seas. Little did she realize that the Captain faced troubled waters ahead.
In the mid 1990’s there was a mutiny aboard the sub. One of the crew members pilfered the captains secret logs and opened another seabase in Mackay ( of all places!).
The captains logs were protected by the laws of the sea (i.e. trademark and logo legislation) however the captain need the aid of the naval JAG team to prosecute these pirates. After successfully sinking this rogue sub the Captain continues to this day to chart the familiar waters around Rockhampton.
In 2005, Nemo’s underwent renovations to give “the home of the best Subs in Australia” a newer, fresher feel.
In 2011 Northside Nemo’s moved to a bright new shop with much better parking and a fresh modern approach to the making and ordering of our fresh local subs. This shop is located at 202 Musgrave Street – right next door to ProComputers.
Finally in early 2013, Nemo’s at 28 William Street underwent a major renovation to bring both shops in line with each other.
"Best Sub Story"
…….a customer ordered a Sunshine Sub on white with salt and pepper. When she picked her order up, she brought with her an esky filled with ice. The Sub was packed in the ice and air freighted to Mt Isa, as a birthday present for a very lucky lady who was having
Cost of Sub $6.50
Cost of Air Freight $150
Total Cost: PRICELESS!
Now that’s a satisfied customer!
- Our longest crew member is Cindy who still comes in Friday on the northside. Cindy joined the sub in 1984.
- Captain Nemo’s began to service the seas of Rockhampton 10 years prior to the arrival of Subway on Australian shores.
- The northside sea base now trades on Saturdays.
- All of our produce is from local suppliers.
- Learn the secret to the Captatin's own special mayonnaise below.