Bulli tourism, 1906 style…

THE district of Bulli is a liberal contributor to the charming scenery of ‘Beautiful Illawarra.’ For its sublime grandeur the “Look-out” has become world-famous. A well-kept road zig-zags up the steep mountain side through a jungle of semi-tropical shrubbery, here and there varied by tall gums. Half-way up the undergrowth, is denser, and occasionally forms archways…

The Bulli Copper Derby

By Syd Fairs* DURING the mid 1960s when middies of beer were nine cents and schooners a few cents more, customers generally left their copper change on the bars of local pubs where licensees usually donated this money to charity. Bulli Family Hotel [Heritage Hotel] licensee Jim McGee, long before the introduction of dollars and…

Diggers’ Car Run to Cataract Dam

  IF you take a trip to Cataract Dam, there are three essentials to the complete enjoyment of the trip; one is a permit from the Water Board, the other an inch rule and a ready reckoner. Through the goodly management of Mr. W. Cochrane, O.B.E., and the fine response to his appeal, something like…

Bulli’s Beer Boycott

By MICK ROBERTS © THE barmaids must have looked on in sheer horror as thousands of thirsty beer drinkers began filling the public bar of their Bulli hotel on Christmas Eve 1940. With just 40 minutes before closing time, hardly a slop tray had been emptied at the Bulli Family Hotel that day, in fact for…

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 Boxing Publican

The Arrow April 29 1927 – Bulli Family Hotel – “Gordon Coghill, once well in the running for heavyweight championship honors, is now mine host of the Bulli Hotel. This should mean much to the sports of that industrious part, for Gordon, as his war record proves, is a dinkum Aussie.”  

‘Need glasses? See an optician’… Pubs lost on average 60 glasses a week in the 1940s!

During the 1940s, publicans were experiencing unprecedented theft of beer glasses from their pubs. One newspaper reported more than 7,00,000 glasses disappeared from Sydney’s 600 metropolitan hotels in 1944, “In an amazing wave of petty thieving”.  Hotels lost an average of 60 glasses a week! The licensee of a Melbourne hotel said in 1945 petty thefts, mostly of 7oz.…

The Deegans at the Bulli Family Hotel during the war years

By MICK ROBERTS © AS a 14 year-old girl Pat Pennefather loved to slide down Bulli pub’s red cedar banister rails. Almost 60 years later during a visit to the Bulli Heritage Hotel in 2003 the 72-year-old just couldn’t resist jumping onto to the old stair-well railing to re-live some of those happy childhood memories.…

Deegans’ Bulli shop

By MICK ROBERTS © AFTER managing a coal miners’ pub during World War II, Phyllis Deegan would have thought running a small mixed business a piece of cake. The 37 year-old mother of two teenagers probably looked with relief at mixing milkshakes instead of pulling beers. Pubs, especially the rough and tumble of a miners’…

Croft’s pub

By MICK ROBERTS © THE boom years of the 1880s brought their fair share of entrepreneurs jostling to make their fortune in the Illawarra. One such businessman left a lasting legacy to the township of Bulli that has endured as a monument to his money-making skills and the wealth that blossomed with the opening of…

The ghost of Bulli pub

By MICK ROBERTS © MISSING trays of glassware and boxes of spirits, mysteriously turning-up later, cutlery re-arranged in the dining room, locked doors found wide open, eerie taps on the shoulder, and weird sounds through the middle of the night are nothing unusual at the Bulli Heritage Hotel. For years customers, staff and licensees have…