The Premier’s Lookout

By MICK ROBERTS © THE entrepreneurial Cyril Astley Maer was a determined character. If he had achieved his dream, reached his goal, more than 20 imposing Federation style Bungalow homes would have peered over the escarpment edge at Bulli Tops, beside the Panorama Hotel. His residential subdivision plan though was never realised. Captain Maer, as…

Bellambi’s other hotel

By MICK ROBERTS © WHILE many who call Bellambi home know of their historic watering hole by the railway station, some may be surprised to learn of their first pub, down by the sea. Today’s Bellambi Hotel – opened in February 1889 by South Bulli Colliery manager William Wilson – has remained a popular pub…

Career Publican: Ellen Stokes

By MICK ROBERTS © BESIDES running a popular and profitable bar, the pinnacle for a career publican must be hosting the likes of royalty – and the closest to Australian royalty is a governor general. Ellen Stokes hosted at least two Governors General during a long and distinguished career as a hotelier, which began with…

The Centennial’s heroic publican

By MICK ROBERTS © SAID to be a modest man, publican James Alexander Martin managed to keep from an official government inquest how he saved the life of a drowning man when he gave evidence in 1914. Jim Martin was the first publican of Helensburgh’s re-built Centennial Hotel in 1915. The original old single storey…

The flash Irish publican & cabman

By MICK ROBERTS © DESCRIBED as a “flash looking little cab driver”, Irishman Jimmy Barton and his wife Elizabeth established what is today considered Kiama’s oldest operating business. Trading as the Kiama Hotel on the corner of Teralong and Shoalhaven Streets, the Bartons licensed ‘The Fermanagh’ on April 6 1853 making it the seaside village’s third…

Lysaght and the reformed drunkard

By MICK ROBERTS © WELL over six feet tall and solidly built, Andrew Lysaght was an imposing and influential Illawarra pioneer. A magistrate, who resigned after a NSW Parliamentary inquiry found he called the Wollongong Police Sergeant an “old woman”, he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind – especially to the establishment. Lysaght was granted 60…

The wild men of 22 Mile Camp

By MICK ROBERTS © AMERICA’S Wild West could be considered tame compared to the wilderness separating Sydney from Illawarra’s far northern coal mining villages during the mid to late 1880s. Notorious shantytowns sprang up in the bushland to service the men who built the Illawarra Railway and they were no place for the faint hearted. The navvies…

The Baby Farmers

By MICK ROBERTS © THE 19th century had many notorious publicans out to make their fortune, by any means possible. However, none were so callous than the one time hosts of Wollongong’s Royal Alfred Hotel, who after hanging-up their publican apron became multiple murderers. This is the story of John and Sarah Makin – The Baby…

In Women Drivers’ Contest

WHILE many of the contestants in the women drivers contest on Sunday dined at the Panorama Hotel, Bulli Pass, the cheery trio preferred a picnic hamper in their car. They are Miss Peggy Dawes, Tom Peters and Miss Nea Arnott. The most suitably-dressed man in the contest was Mr. Jack Sherwood who was an official. His snappy plus…

Wollongong cop & the last bushranger

By MICK ROBERTS © IT’S not widely known that a Wollongong born cop was involved in the capture of the notorious Australian bushranger Captain Moonlite. A real unsung hero, Constable Alexander Barry has largely been forgotten by the people of the Illawarra for his part in the capture of New South Wales’ last professional bushranger.…