Mick Roberts
Sydney NSW Australia

Bio: A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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20 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Mick I have seen one of your pictures ofMolley’s Bulli Sawmill workers from 1920s do you have anu idea who the men are please .
    My grandfather worked and lived up that way in the timber industry


  2. Mick – loved the Copper Derby article. Bud Norton was my grandfather and I’ve heard plenty about the derby prior to reading your article.

    Is your Pub Book still available, and does it mention the Royal Hotel @Woonona?



    • Hi Jeremy. The book is still available, but does not include the Royal at Woonona. I’m working on republishing my first pub book, which includes the Woonona hotel. Would love to include a picture of Bud Norton. Do you have a photo of him?


  3. Hi Mick, your article ‘Tom’s Tall Tales From Box Seat’ concerns my great, great grandfather Thomas Kelly. Would you mind if I added it verbatim to my Ancestry.com account. Thanks in advance Debbie


  4. Hello Mick
    A quick question if I may please. I’ve seen and read some of your work, especially the local history writings.
    I’m in the process of colourising some photos of the Centennial Hotel in Helensburgh. To the best of your knowledge, what were the common colours used in the painting of these building around 1920-ish on-wards?
    Thanks. Any help would be appreciated.


    • Hi Ian.
      Would love to see some of your work when completed.
      India red was quite a common colour to paint buildings around this time.
      Another method was to paint the bottom half of the lower section of two storey buildings a dark colour (such as Indian Red) and the remainder of a lighter cream or pastal colour. The darker section (closer to the road) was to minimise dirt stains, as many of the roads were still unsealed at this time.
      I hope this helps a little.


  5. Hi Mick. Rose Ann Floyd is a relative of mine and I’m wondering if you can tell me anything about her life at Willow farm after her husband Jack Floyd died.
    PS I’ve just done a video on her Griffin/McMullen family called ‘The McMullens – A Mining Family’. It can be accessed on You Tube (and Google) via the above title. I acknowledge the help I got from your research in my treatment of the Floyds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You must be congratulated, Tim! I just watched the video you put together, and was impressed – especially on the part of about Jack and Rose Floyd, who ran the Railway Hotel at Bulli. Again, well done.


  6. hi mick, my dad drove the dry ice truck for streets in the early 60s from out of turrella depot.
    i would go along with him sometimes , i was 11 years old at the time, i can remember going down bulli so so slowly and at times i could of jumped out and ran along with the old white truck ( white is the make )
    boy i would love to see a picture of that truck again. So long ago, god bless my dad xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Mick, I am really interested in the old mines at Coledale and Austinmer and the land around Exselsior Drive where I believe some of the miners lived as squatters. Just wondering if you have any articles on this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kerrie Anne Christian responded to Meryl Simpson’s inquiry on the Old Bulli Shire Facebook Group. She writes: “A while back I purchased copy of the CD Index of land records made by Wendy and Terry Nunan – which has references to a Thomas William Warton’s land grant of 100 acres in the Bulli area by 1835. It had been previously acquired by George Tate, an early Illawarra publican who sold it to Cornelius O’Brien in 1835 (probably adding to his earlier 300 acre land grant). Then in 1849 George Organ acquired 56 acres adjoining Warton’s land grant in Bulli. Then I looked at the Government Gazettes in Trove which show that Tate had been granted the land promised to Wharton/Warton’s by October 1832. The land grant had originally been “promised” to Warton on January 14 1825 by then Governor Thomas Brisbane. Warton’s land grant of 1825 was also in the NSW Colonial Secretary’s Correspondence of the period of 1788 to 1825. There may even be a connection going back to 1822. Some information indicates that Thomas Warton arrived either as a convict on the Neptune in 1820 which brought convicts to the Colony. And that possibly he may have joined the 48th Regiment after he was in NSW, and he may have served in Tasmania then known as Van Diemans Land – and received land there as well. There is at least one other case of a former convict joining the military after arriving in the colony and then being granted land in the Illawarra in the early 19th Century ie Robert Anderson. So perhaps the Wharton Creek name connection may go back over 200 years?”


  8. HI Mick I am also doing research on a Brewery on the corner of KING and PITT St. Sydney which was owned by my ancestor Michael BYRNE (aka BURN) an Irish convict. I imagine it was on the opposite diagonal corner to the Liverpool Arms from everything I have gathered, so the information you had on the Liverpool Arms has helped me in my research. At one stage Michaels pub/tavern was called the RAINBOW, but I will have to confirm that! This was after his death in 1827, so I’m tracking the building/buildings now as to the different owners and hopefully maybe able to find a very old image/drawing of his brewery/pub before it would have been demolished. So much fun really and enjoyed reading about this history of the Liverpool Arms. Regards Dianna

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Mick can you possibly tell me if Payless super barn was ever located in Russell st Woonona before it became Jewels or maybe it was called something else ? It would have been around 1997.
    I lived all my childhood in Woonona it’s interesting looking at the old town .
    Hopefully you have some information I certainly would appreciate it
    Kind regards Debra


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