Cabbage Tree Inn, Fairy Meadow

NORTH ILLAWARRA COUNCIL. Tuesday , August 6 1883. Moved by Alderman Ryan – That the Clerk be instructed to write to the Postmaster-General requesting that the name of the post office be changed from “Cabbage Tree” to Fairy Meadow”. The name of the whole locality in which the post office was situated was Fairy Meadow, where as the…

Rise & fall of Billiard saloons

By MICK ROBERTS © RELIGIOUSLY every Saturday a steady stream of men crossed backwards and forwards from the bar of the Bulli Family Hotel to the billiard saloon opposite. They were not playing billiards, or even having a haircut or buying tobacco, the men were making their way to a tin shed at the back of…

The pub that Bode built: The North Gong Pub

By MICK ROBERTS. ALTHOUGH the North Wollongong Hotel has changed considerably in appearance since German immigrant, Theodore Bode opened his little wayside inn on the site in 1878, its principal purpose of providing hospitality remains unchanged. The North Gong – as it’s affectionately known – originally opened as the Royal Victoria Hotel, and was a…

Clifton pub bought by Shellharbour Workers Club

CLIFTON’S landmark historic hotel, The Imperial was auctioned by owner WIN Corporation in 2015. The pub ceased trading in November 2003 due to a lack of passing trade when Lawrence Hargrave Drive was closed after a landslide. Sea Cliff Bridge opened two years later, but it came too late for the pub, which has remained…

The Beaches Hotel, Thirroul

By MICK ROBERTS © IT’S difficult to imagine how The Beaches at Thirroul would have looked during the 1970s and 80s. Colleen and Barry Gilbert transformed the pub, then known locally as The Rex, into one of Illawarra’s most successful houses of entertainment and hospitality in 1999. Originally opened as the Thirroul Rex Hotel by…

Corrimal pub’s celebrated barmaid

By MICK ROBERTS ©. ABOUT the same time as the Corrimal Hotel opened for business, quite a lot of excitement was being created by “a small coterie of feminine busybodies” to abolish the barmaid, according to the Australian Brewers Journal of 1902. Barmaids have been an institution in Australian pubs since the early days of colonisation…

Riley’s Thirroul wine saloon

By MICK ROBERTS © AFTER last drinks were called at Thirroul’s Ryans Hotel, in the days of the “Six O’clock Swill”, swards of men would trudge down the road to Riley’s wine saloon. The wine bar, on the corner of The Esplanade and Lawrence Hargrave Drive, hit its peak in popularity during the 1920s and…

The Father of Bulli: Henry S. Fry

By MICK ROBERTS © OFTEN referred to as the “Father of Bulli”, Henry Strange Fry can be credited with laying the foundations of a farming community that grew into a city. The largely unsung pioneer, who tirelessly battled to improve the quality of life for those who called the northern Illawarra home, was born in…

The Bullocky: Politics in the pub

By MICK ROBERTS © BREAKING that unwritten rule of never discussing politics and religion at the pub can have dire consequence.  Some people learn the hard way: like Bulli bullocky James Robinson. Robinson was a new arrival to the parochial little coal-mining village of Bulli and was causing quite a stir with his outspoken political…

Bulli’s beef and beer barons

By MICK ROBERTS © FOR over a century beef and beer were synonymous with the Floyd family name in Illawarra’s north. Four generations of Floyds were successful butchers and hoteliers leaving a legacy of a business empire that grew out of the 1860s. The dynasty began with John Floyd in 1867 and ended with great…