Great Australian Pubs
Any article about great Australian pubs is going to come under fire for leaving out some great watering holes that have served a cold beer on a hot day to generations of locals and visitors alike.
So with apologies to those omitted, here is an introduction to an admittedly short list of well known, popular, quirky, a little bit different.... great Aussie pubs.
Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel at Beechworth in country Victoria was the favourite watering hole of Ned Kelly, Australia's most notorious villain. Ned's patronage was at the peak the 19th century Victorian gold rush when Beechworth had more than 60 pubs lining the main street.
Still in Victoria is the famous Young & Jackson opposite Flinders Street Station in Melbourne and home to Chloe, Australia's best known nude who now decorates one of the internal bars away from the prying eyes of the passing public.
The Australian Heritage Hotel at The Rocks is one of the most iconic hotels in Sydney, first opening for business in 1824, and now listed on the State Heritage Register. The original building was demolished in 1900 as part of a plague containment exercise. It was subsequently rebuilt in Cumberland Street in 1913 on the site where it still stands today. The building is a prime example of Edwardian architecture that exudes quality and taste and still exhibits many of its period features.
Then there are the New South Wales country town pubs. The Peel Inn at Nundle, just outside Tamworth that passed to the Schofield family as a wager in a card game approximately 150 years ago. After many years of various owners, the pub was bought back by third generation Schofield grandsons in the 1950s who still own the property today.
Further afield in NSW is the original Pub With No Beer, immortalised in the Slim Dusty song of the same name, (originally the Cosmopolitan Hotel) at Taylors Arm near Macksville. The Silverton Hotel outside Broken Hill in the far west of New South Wales is the site for the filming of feature films (Mad Max, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and scores of TV commercials.
The historic Billi Pub at Billi Nudgel in northern NSW was the domain of Mar Ring, who ran the place for 53 years, making her Australia's longest serving publican. The pub is steeped in local history and makes no pretense of being other than what it is... a good old country pub with tall stories and a friendly atmosphere, much the way it would have been in the early days.
One of Brisbane's, and probably Queensland's, best known watering holes is The Breakfast Creek Hotel, built in 1889 in the the French Renaissance style. The "Brekky Creek" is one of Australia's most iconic hotels, a popular destination for local, interstate and international visitors who enjoy premium quality steaks and beer off the Wood.
Just a short drive up the Western Highway lies the charming period town of Ipswich. Stroll the main street and you will find a number of examples of the older Victorian style pubs dating from the early 1900's that were, and still are, typical of most Australian pubs in the country areas.
Travelling to the Queensland outback? The Birdsville Hotel is a must. This much photographed structure is the focal point of the annual Birdsville Races when the regular population of 12 is inflated somewhat by he influx of approximately 6000 visitors.
Another iconic outback hotel is the Daly Waters Historic Pub that’s 600kms south of Darwin. The pub is the major attraction in a town with a population of 9! The eye catching interior decoration includes, but is not limited to, a multitude of ladies bras strung over the bar… with the obvious intent of bringing decorum and refinement to the surroundings.
Goat Island Lodge is located on the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory. The bar is named Casey’s after the "tame" crocodile that wanders in most nights for a free feed of specially prepared potatoes!
If you are headed to Western Australia, check out The Terrace Hotel in Perth that encompasses the heritage listed St George’s House. Built in 1892, this is a splendid example of terrace style buildings that flanked St George’s Terrace at the latter part of the 19th century and serves as a reminder of a past way of life in early Perth. Now, as the site of The Terrace Hotel, it reminds patrons of its heritage and brings new life to this historic site.
Head south from Perth, around 300 kms to be precise, and you'll find yourself in Yallingup. Stop off at the Caves House Hotel where a ghost named Molly is said to roam the place waiting for her lover to return from the sea and meet her in their favourite Room 6. If you head north from Perth you will find the New Norcia Hotel set in the village of New Norica built by Spanish Benedictine missionaries. This National Trust listed village comes complete with black-robed monks out and about on the streets.
The German Arms Hotel is a South Australian icon. Located in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, it is one of the first hotels to open in SA, dating from 1839, and it has operated without interruption as a hotel until this day. This hotel encapsulates South Australia’s German heritage like no other. The hotel was completely renovated in 1990, recycling old timbers salvaged from a wool store in Port Adelaide.
South Australia's historic Overland Corner Hotel is situated 21 klms from Barmera off the Goyder Highway and just 700 metres from the Murray River. This historic hotel was built in 1859 and serves as both pub and living museum. The local history abounds with tales of bushrangers, cattle drovers (overlanders), ghosts and beer!
For something different there’s the North Star Hotel at Melrose in South Australia where the accommodation consists of two trucks that have been converted into “guest suites” with queen beds.
And down in Tasmania, the Sydney-Hobart yachties gather at race-end at The Customs House Hotel. At Battery Point, The Shipwright’s Arms is reputed to have Max, a resident ghost. Travel a little way inland to the Richmond Arms in Australia’s best-preserved Georgian Village.
And so the list goes on and on.... lots of great pubs throughout the length and breadth of the country.