The Dog and Duck, Haymarket, Sydney: 1815-1891

George Street South today, showing the location of the Dog and Duck. The large high rise building to the left is where the inn once traded.

George Street South today, showing the location of the Dog and Duck. The multi-storey dark coloured building to the left of The Great Southern Hotel is where the inn once traded.

By MICK ROBERTS©

The partially obscured Dog & Duck (circled) shortly before demolition.

The partially obscured Dog & Duck (circled) shortly before demolition.

FOR over 80 years the Dog and Duck was a landmark pub on George Street Sydney.

A coach terminus for travellers between country NSW and Sydney, and popular with teamsters bringing stock and trade from the country, the Dog and Duck became well-known across the colony as a meeting place.

When the pub was demolished in 1896 it had been closed for five years, and divided into three shops. It was one of the last of the quaintly English named inns, with a distinctly Australian character, in a rapidly developing Sydney.

Like its English forebears, an illustrated ‘sign’ originally hung from the front of the inn, showing a sportsman with rifle in hand, a dog at his heels, and a duck flying overhead. Besides the Dog and Duck, there were other pubs nearby at the time with typically English names, such as the Red Lion, Cat and Fiddle, Bunch of Grapes, Duke of Wellington, Adam and Eve, Chelsea Pensioner and Pot of Beer. A Sydney Morning Herald journalist questioned McGuigan’s interpretation of the Dog and Duck ‘sign’ in a report on October 15 1927:

Another example of how these (public house) sign names were loosely derived, and in this particular instance, at any rate, more loosely illustrated, is “The Dog and Duck”. There was a licensed premises which hung out this sign in George-street (Haymarket), and one of the first licensees in this place one Simon McGuigan, sold liquor to the thirsty in 1820, using the same sign as “The Hit or Miss” (a sportsman with a gun, though in this instance firing at a flying duck, with a dog at heel). Quite evidently Mr McGuigan knew nothing of “Dog and Duck”, which is actually one of the oldest of English games, and it is known in history as “Chase Mallard”. Within 10 minutes’ walk of the Cricket Ground at Lords is the home of the Marylebone Dog and Duck Club, and there a few initiates still play the game to this very day. It is played round a lawn shaped like a capital D, and the object of the game is to bowl a small Indian rubber ball as far as possible round the top of the D. There are many hazards, for the ball must keep within the alley, and it is only the most experienced player that can send a ball right round the top of the D, into the return alley, past the duck, for which he may score 10 points. The Marylebone Dog and Duck Club may be the last ground in the kingdom on which this ancient game is played, but it is certain that, in Georgian days at any rate, many wayside inns had alleys behind the tavern, where the company might order a bowl of punch while they “bumpted” [sic] it as “Dog and Duck”.

Wool wagons, similar to this, were a common sight in front of the Dog and Duck.

Wool wagons, similar to this, were a common sight in front of the Dog and Duck.

The journalist may have been a little harsh by stating that McGuigan “knew nothing” of the origins of the name Dog and Duck. At the rear of his pub was a timber skittle saloon or bowling alley, measuring about 30 feet (over nine metres) in length, and attracted a colourful clientele. Maybe the sign changed after McGuigan’s death, and after the closing of the skittle saloon the origin of the name was lost. By the 1860s the skittle saloon had become an auctioneer’s house, and by the 1870s and 80s was being used as an illegal gambling den. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt there’s a connection between the name Dog and Duck, and the sport of skittles.

The Dog and Duck was established by Irishman Ambrose McGuigan, ‘a notorious ‘Defender’ (who) administered unlawful oaths’. He arrived in Sydney at the age of 30 in 1797 after he was sentenced to seven years in the colony for treason. By 1803 he had completed his sentence, and in December sailed for Bass Straight on the schooner Edwin where he spent a few months sealing. By 1814 McGuigan was back in Sydney making roofing shingles for a living. He married another ex-convict, Mary Cresswell, in 1813 whom he had been living with since 1803.

The Dog and Duck was licensed on April 1 1815 after McGuigan resigned from the police force on January 22 1814. McGuigan, who became a constable in 1810, was rewarded for capturing a runaway convict Jack Smith. Gibber Jack, as he was known, had been sent to Newcastle, with his papers marked ‘to be kept in irons’. Gibber escaped from the coalmines and headed for Sydney where McGuigan arrested him and was rewarded £25 on October 23 1813. The reward may have helped McGuigan build a single storey timber inn on land he owned at ‘Brickfield Hill’.

The inn was located on the west side of George Street between what is today Valentine Lane and Rawson Street, Haymarket, just south of today’s Great Southern Hotel. The land had about 66ft frontage to George Street, south of Hay Street with a depth of about 130ft.

dog duck map 1888

A 1888 map of Sydney, showing the location of the Dog and Duck.

The first mention McGuigan receiving a license for his inn on ‘Brickfield Hill’ appears in the Sydney Gazette in April 1815. The old cattle markets and the carriers’ camping ground were nearby and the pub became a favourite watering hole for the teamsters visiting Sydney on business. The Queanbeyan Age reported on October 7 1904:

The other day a well known pioneer of the Monaro district looked in at the ‘Stock and Station Journal’ office, and during a chat gave some very interesting reminiscences of his pioneering days… The wool was taken to Sydney by bullock team from Cooma to Sydney, and it was principally disposed of to Mr Cooper, of the Waterloo Store. The wool was worth then from 23d to 30d per pound. The teams used to camp near the two hotels known as the ‘Woolpack’ and the ‘Dog and Duck’. The bullocks were belled and hobbled and frequently they wandered off into the scrub towards Botany during the night. Next morning the team masters would collect the bullocks and drive up Brickfield Hill. George Street was then a bush road, and in places the yellow clay became very boggy at times… The route from Monaro was via Queanbeyan, Lake George, Hanging Rook, Picton, and Liverpool to Sydney, and the teams generally took about four months to do the return trip under fair weather conditions.

The Dog and Duck was also the terminus for the passenger coaches arriving from places such as Windsor, Parramatta and Liverpool. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on January 10 1903:

The mail coach from Sydney to Parramatta, drawn by four strong hordes, bowled along down Brickfield Hill right merrily to the accompanying notes of the bugle, warning all and sundry that it was bound for ‘Parramatta! Parramatta!’ Many of us can still remember the old ‘Dog and Duck’ nearly opposite Horderns and Hancock’s Tower opposite the Asylum; and now the Asylum is no more, and only the old Round House, and its venerable neighbour the Church of St. Lawrence, remain.

McGuigan died suddenly in October 1817 after contracting quinsy from abscessed tonsils. He died intestate and was buried at the old Sydney Burial Grounds where Central Station is today. During 1901 this cemetery and its inhabitants were relocated and McGuigan’s remains were moved to Botany.

After her husband’s death his widow Mary became host of the Dog and Duck, helped by her brother-in-law Simon McGuigan. Simon McGuigan died the same year he officially took over the license in 1820.

George Street Haymarket looking south towards Christ Church and the Dog and Duck (obscured) about the same time the pub was demolished in 1896.

George Street Haymarket looking south towards Christ Church and the Dog and Duck (obscured) about the same time the pub was demolished in 1896.

Running a busy pub was hard work for a woman with a young family and without the help of her brother-in-law she quickly remarried. When Mary remarried John Cullen on June 29 1818, she had six children to support. The youngest child was two years old and the eldest was 13.

Her new ex-convict husband, a native of County Galway, took over the license of the Dog and Duck in 1821. When Mary died on December 6 1823, Cullen married Frances Murphy, and they reportedly began to cheat the McGuigan family of their share of the estate; mainly the rents from property, including the Dog and Duck.

John Cullen was a colourful character to the say the least. He placed the Dog and Duck up for lease in 1825 before hosting the Old Freemason’s Arms in York-street, near the Barrack South Gate. He was convicted of selling liquor to convicts in December 1825 and fined a hefty “10 dollars and costs”. The following year he was convicted of a serious assault on his assigned Government servant, John Fox and fined £50. The Sydney Gazette reported on August 9 1826:

John Fox deposed, that on the evening of the 13th of July, his master and another person of the same name, who was drinking in his house, had a quarrel ; that the stranger was turned out, and witness, by desire of his mistress, he being drunk, conveyed him part of the way home ; on his return, witness heard screaming and a cry of murder, from an inner room, and on proceeding to the spot, found his master and mistress quarrelling; his master asked him what brought him there, and upon his replying that he would go away immediately, took up a the iron candle-stick, with which he struck him, and cut him severely on the head; witness then left the room and went into the kitchen, where he was immediately followed by his master, and again violently assaulted with a spade.

Cullen moved to Campbelltown in 1827 after buying Bradberry’s farm, where he opened another inn. Cullen fell on financial difficulties in the late 1820s, and was forced to sell some of the properties he had “inherited” from the widow of Ambrose McGuigan – including the Dog and Duck.

The end came for Cullen when he assaulted a bailiff for the Court of Requests after his properties were repossessed. He was charged and thrown into gaol where it appears he eventually lost his mind. The following advertisement was placed in the Sydney Monitor on Saturday 24 July 1830:

JOHN CULLEN. We feel it to be a duty of common humanity, to apprise the relatives and creditors, and their attorneys, with regard to this person, that in consequence of his imprisonment and misfortunes, and of his indulging in a certain infirmity while he is yet money at his command, that he is gone quite out of his mind. A suspicion exists among some that he is feigning. He cannot feign night and day. He roes, about in the night, and his deportment at all times indicates a total loss of judgment. He is harmless, and is sensible of kindness, but he is quite unable to speak of his concerns, and his situation is true pitiable. His relatives send him food once a-week, but he has not sense enough to take care of it. He devours his weekly portion and wastes it together, in a couple of days; and, but for the charity of his brother debtors, he would starve the rest of the week. It appears a cruelty to keep a lunatic in gaol for debt.

The pub was advertised for a “repairing lease” in February 1831 and Cullen died intestate on August 15 1831 in the Sydney Lunatic Asylum.

Tom Higgins, an Irish convict, bought the pub after Cullen’s death, building the business and eventually becoming a successful Sydney hotelier. He owned at least four Sydney pubs, besides the Dog and Duck, including the Daniel O’Connell, Robin Hood, Cherry Tree and Golden Tree. He built the Daniel O’Connell just to the south of the Dog and Duck in 1834; He, in turn, leased the Dog and Duck to his brother in-law, Joseph Collits.

Collits had a short stay at the Sydney pub, going on to run inns in the central west of NSW. Before leaving Sydney though, he had to contend with a few burglaries. The Sydney Herald reported on September 22 1834:

On Wednesday night last, as Constable Mossman was going his rounds on the Brickfield-hill, between the hours of twelve and one o’clock, he heard a noise at the door of the Dog and Duck public-house, as of some person having forced it open. On arriving at the house he found the door open, and alarmed the landlord Mr. Collet, who, proceeded to the parlour door, which had also been forced open; on obtaining a light, the prisoner was found concealed behind a sofa; he appeared to be in a state of intoxication, and was lodged in the watch house. – Committed for trial for the burglary.

In the late 1830s Higgins sold the pub to Peter Hanlsow, who is credited with rebuilding the inn into a two storey stone building. The Sydney Gazette reported on May 8 1838:

It is generally admitted, by the oldest residents in the metropolis, that there is a decided improvement in popular manners. The public tea-gardens, the minor assemblies in public-houses, and even Vauxhall, exhibit none of those scenes of gross licentiousness which abounded in their ancient prototypes, the Dog and Duck, Apollo’s Garden, and Ranelagh. The eye is not so frequently offended by the exhibition of obscene pictures; and we are confident, from our own observation, that the behaviour of unfortunate females in the street is more orderly and decorous than prevailed among the same class 20 years since.

By this report, it seems the Dog and Duck’s “ancient prototype” on George Street had been modernised by 1838. A two storey sandstone hotel had replaced the old single storey inn, and 40-year-old Hanslow had secured James Hogan as publican.

Hanslow was living at Hampton, England in 1817 when he was arrested and charged with stealing a quantity of wick yarn, a type of coarse cloth. He was sentenced to transportation for seven years and arrived in Sydney in 1819. He worked in a government shipyard until he gained his freedom in 1824 and with his wife, Mary they hosted the Horse and Jockey Hotel on George Street Sydney during the 1830s. In 1844, Hanslow took over the license of the Dog and Duck from Edward Fitzgibbons, where he remained as host for over a decade.

While at the Dog and Duck, Hanlsow had to testify at a Coroner’s inquest. The Empire reported on April 7 1857:

AWFULLY SUDDEN DEATH FROM INTEMPERANCE – A coroner’s inquest was held at Peter Hanslow’s, Dog and Duck Inn, George-street South, yesterday, on view of tho body of Daniel Harrald, there and then lying dead. The evidence of deceased’s late employer, Mr. Isaac Whiley, carrier, of Bathurst, set forth that deceased had, been in his employ for some time past as carrier ; he was habitually intemperate, and had been drinking very hard during his last trip down from Bathurst ; he arrived in Sydney on Wednesday last, and did little else than minister to his craving for intoxicating stimulants, until Sunday (5th); on Sunday he exhibited no signs of illness – made no complaints; at 9 p.m., on Sunday, he dined as usual with Mr. Hanslow and family, and in his own words ” eat a very hearty dinner; ” he made use of those words to a fellow carrier a few minutes after 3 p.m.; he   then went up the yard, as he said ” to light his pipe “. A few minutes afterwards Mr. Hanslow’s attention was arrested by the sight of a man laying on a heap of manure near the stables at the head of the head of the yard; he went in the direction indicated, and found deceased face downwards on the heap; he immediately lifted the body up and found deceased a corpse; the body was warm, but the vital spark had fled. A medical man was called in after the lapse of one minute, but he found the body bathed in the thick clammy sweat of death, and did not appeal to restoratives, which must have been powerless where vital action had ceased. The verdict of the coroner’s Jury runs thus :-” We find that the deceased Daniel Harrald was found dead on a heap of manure in Mr Hanslow’s back yard; and we also find that he died suddenly from an attack of serous apoplexy brought on by habits of intemperance”. Deceased was upwards of 50 years of age.

Hanslow sold a lease to his neighbour, 38-year-old William Bull in 1858. Bull was the son of a first fleeter, who ran his wheelwright business next door to the Dog and Duck. Known as Billy Bull, he continued to carry on the wheelwright business while at the Dog and Duck. He subleased the pub to Catherine Johnston in 1859 before hosting the pub for the last time in 1862. He died a wealthy man at the age of 80 in February 1900.

During most of the 1860s the Dog and Duck was run by widower Louisa Watkins. She had plenty of experience behind the bar, having previously hosted The Odd Woman at the corner of York and Druitt Streets and The Globe Tavern at the corner of Castlereagh and Markets Streets. During this time, the old skittle saloon, to the rear of the inn, ceased operation and was used as an auction room.

The next prominent publican to serve up ale at the Dog and Duck was David Daley who took over the license from John McInerney in 1875. Daley had been the host of the nearby Black Swan, a few doors to the north of the Dog and Duck on George Street. He is mentioned in the following Town and Country Journal report on the death of an innkeeping colleague on March 22 1879:

Coroner’s Court. DEATH FROM A FALL. The City Coroner, on Monday afternoon, held an inquest at the Dog and Duck public-house, on Brick field Hill, respecting the death of a publican named Edward Barrett, aged 53 years, who recently carried on business at Bathurst, and for the past month has been “on the spree” in Sydney. Last Friday he was arrested at the Redfern terminus for drunken ness and locked up in the Christ Church police station. One of the policemen hearing that Barrett was a friend of Mr Daley, proprietor of the Dog and Duck Hotel, called on Daley and induced him to hail Barrett out. Barrett went with Daley to the latter’s hotel, and early on Saturday morning Barrett got up, and it being dark, fell from the top of the stairs to the bottom. Dr. Clune was called in and recommended his removal to the Infirmary, where Dr Marsden discovered that Barrett had broken his neck. Barrett lingered until Sunday morning, when death put an end to his sufferings. The jury found a verdict of accidental death.

Edward Roberts was granted the license of the Dog and Duck in April 1886, just five months before the Colonial Government-appointed City of Sydney Improvement Board made a visit. By the early 1870s, Sydney’s urban population was more than 135,000 people, many of them crowded into unventilated housing with little or no drainage. Under the new Corporation Act of 1879, Sydney City Council gained control over insanitary and unsafe buildings but it had to share this power with the City of Sydney Improvement Board. During the 1880s, the City Health Officer and the Nuisance Inspector ordered the demolition of many slum areas – including the Dog and Duck. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on August 21 1886:

A meeting of the City of Sydney Improvement Board… The business before the board was the adjourned hearing of the appeal (No. 60) in respect of certain buildings situated in George-street, known as Nos. 725, 727, 720, and 731. Mr Heydon appeared for the trustees of the property, who are the owners. Several witnesses were examined, some of whom deposed that the tenoments were in a fairly good condition. One of the houses is known as the Dog and Duck Inn, at which nine persons in all reside. One witness said that the inn did a very large business on market days; certain repairs had been ordered to be executed on the premises, and those repairs were completed on the day the owner received the order for the demolition of the buildings. The property is leased to Mr Roberts, who is at the present time very ill; and the business is now carried on by his wife. Edward Oatley, who had been living at the Dog and Duck Inn for some time, said the house had not been half full during the time he had been residing on the premises, which was about four years. The place was divided into rooms during his stay. The witness did not know how many there were in the house before the partitions were put up; the average number of lodgers in the inn was four. Mr. Heydon submitted that the order of the Mayor should not be upheld by the board; he thought that the action of the Mayor was very harsh and arbitrary. Moreover, it was quite impossible for anyone to contend that the place was not fit for human habitation or occupation; the inn was clean, and the building was sound and in good condition. It really seemed to him that, with great respect to the Mayor, it was unreasonable and unjust to wish to have the property pulled down; the house was not over-crowded, and if it were, the mere fact of the house being over crowded did not give the Mayor the power to pull it down. If over-crowding gave the Mayor the power to order the demolition of premises, the Government had only to over-crowd the Post Office or the Colonial Secretary’s Office and the Mayor could have them pulled down. He considered such an order to be harsh and unjust, and he submitted that the Mayor had no jurisdiction in the matter. Mr. Heydon also requested the board to take into favourable consideration the peculiar position of the owners of the property and the tenant thereof; it seemed to him that the Mayor had made a mistake in this instance, inasmuch as the construction and condition of the buildings were fairly sound and good. After deliberating for about three-quarters of an hour it was resolved that the chairman and Mr Bailey should inspect the buildings and again report to the board as to the improvements or otherwise required.

Roberts, and the trustees of the estate of Joseph Hanlsow, owners of the building, were granted a reprieve when the inspector gave the Dog and Duck a stay of execution on condition certain repairs were undertaken. The old pub’s days though were numbered. The pub and adjoining properties had become eyesores and it wasn’t long before the health inspectors were again knocking on Roberts’ door again.

dog and duck map detail

A more detailed 1888 map of the Dog and Duck, showing the orange coloured skittle saloon to the rear of the inn. The saloon was also used a gambling den, according to media reports in 1889.

While Roberts continued serving up ale, the old skittle saloon to the back of the pub was being run by Samuel Stewart as an illegal gaming house during the mid 1880s. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on April 26 1889:

EXTENSIVE RAID ON A GAMBLING DEN: Late last night the police of No. 2 division made a successful raid upon a gambling den in George-street, at the rear of the Dog and Duck Hotel. The place in question has been under the notice of the police for some time past, and the result of the well-planned raid justified their suspicions. According to arrangement, after the orders had been read out at 10 o’clock a body of 25 police under Inspector Mackay and Detective Keating marched to the vicinity of the den, and took up a position on the side of the street opposite to the Dog and Duck Hotel. Detective Keating had a man who was intended to obtain admittance dressed in the usual style of people frequenting such haunts. He had a piece of wadding over his eye, a bandage round his head, and his face coloured so as to appear to be bloodstained. The disguised policeman obtained ready admittance, and as he was being taken in by the tout the body of police also entered, going through the hotel. On getting inside the place the man in disguise gave the pre-arranged signal, and the 25 constables filed into a wooden building, where they found a large number of well-known characters in the midst of games of chance, such as “thimblerigging,” “pitch-and-toss,” skittles, and the “three-card-trick”. No attempt was made by the astonished assembly to escape or resist. A man named Samuel Stewart was arrested and charged with being the keeper of a gambling den, and 31 men found with him were taken into custody on a charge of having been found in a place of that description. An examination of the place showed that it is a long wooden building measuring about 30ft. All the chinks in the sides are carefully covered with bagging in such a way that the light cannot be seen from the outside, and precautions have evidently been taken to ensure secrecy. The place is not connected with the hotel in any way. The police deserve credit for the smart capture. The accused, who are all voting men and Europeans, will be brought before the Central Police Court to-day.

Stewart appeared before the court on April 23 1889 charged with keeping a room as a common gaming house. The court heard that skittles had been played in the room, the game known as “heading ’em” or two-up had also been played, and that money had been received by Stewart. The magistrate dismissed the case after questioning whether “heading ’em” with pennies was an infringement of the Gaming Act, and whether the coins employed were instruments of gaming. The charges against the 30 persons found in the old skittle saloon by the police on the night of the raid were also withdrawn.

Sydney’s health inspectors finally put an end to the historic premises in 1890, when an order was made for demolition. The trustees of Joseph Haslow estate advertised a block of land with a 66 feet frontage to George Street and a depth of 130 feet, for sale in September 1890. The property included a three shops and the Dog and Duck Hotel.

The pub was on her last legs, and Roberts was fined £3 in November 1890 for Sunday trading, before he was finally refused a license on March 24 1891 as “the premises were stated to be in a dilapidated condition, and had been condemned”. The nearby Black Swan and Golden Gate pubs were also refused a license for the same reasons.

The old pub wasn’t immediately demolished and the new owner renovated the premises as three shops before the demolisher’s hammer came in 1896. News of the demises of the famous watering hole travelled quickly around the colony with country newspapers from as far away at Queanbeyan, Windsor and Grafton reporting on the pubs demolition. The Grafton newspaper, the Clarence and Richmond Examiner reported on October 13 1896:

IN THE DAYS THAT ARE GONE. – Away down George-street, Sydney, nearly opposite Christ Church, an old-fashioned, iron-roofed building is being demolished. On the city side, in bold black letters, are the words “Dog and Duck Hotel.” The building is of the old type, and is interesting from its very associations. Long before the shrill whistle of the locomotive was dreamed of the “Dog and Duck” had a name as a hostelry second to none in Sydney. This was in the days when the cast-iron constitutioned teamster made things lively, and when the open- handed digger clinked a friendly glass with all-comers. Far into the night the revelry, which tells of success in one or other of the fields of labor, was heard and the dawn was often rendered blue by the mirth of those who even then refused to forego the social glass. The solid walls which modern progress says must now give way to finer architectural features, have their secrets. They go down with them. The spacious cellar, which runs underneath the whole structure, has been the scene of many an exciting gamble; and the now neglected skittle-alley has witnessed contests the like of which will never come again. Sportsmen foregathered there with many a tale of prowess, and the matches arranged within its portals were worthy of the days when might was right, when money was wagered with the recklessness which all new and successful communities understand so well. All these things, interesting and exciting as they were in the early days, disappear now, and in place of this old landmark there will soon be four splendid modern business premises.

The Town and Country Journal reported on October 17 1896:

An Old Sydney Building:  One by one Sydney’s old buildings are being demolished, to make room for more up-to-date structures. The latest marked for destruction are the premises on Brickfield Hill, known for over half a century as the “Dog and Duck Hotel”. Erected early in the thirties, and in close proximity to the old cattle markets and the carriers’ camping ground, the “Dog and Duck” was, in the ante-railway days, the principal resort for farmers and teamsters visiting Sydney on business or pleasure. This fact, in the “old days,” naturally attracted to the “Dog and Duck”, not inconsiderable numbers of the sharping fraternity, who considered the countrymen easy’ prey. Some curious stories are, however, told concerning spoilers on whom the tables were turned. When the “Dog and Duck” was erected it was evidently intended to stand for many years, being most substantially built of stone, with enormous iron bark beams, squared solely by the axe. The walls are 2ft in thickness, and each of the two storeys of which the building consists is remarkable for its paucity of windows and the lowness of the rooms.

The last word on the pub though, goes to “Undeveloped Fogy”, in his article Forgotten Sydney, who penned this obituary for the Dog and Duck in the Sydney Morning Herald on October 24 1896:

Those sage reflections, for instance, are suggested by the removal of the Dog and Duck Hotel in George Street – on the rise from Brickfield hill, to be precise. The comparative lack of interest in that old landmark is evidence in itself, if any were needed, how completely the generation that took a personal interest in these things is disappearing. The “Dog and Duck” suggests by its very name as much as by its associations those old fashioned old country hostelries of which we had a few examples in this colony dating from the earlier days. But then the “Dog and Duck” was to old Sydney just what the associations with that old type of inn would imply. As long back as sixty six years ago, and for many a long year after, it was nothing more or less than the last or home stage of the Hanslow coaches that formed the medium of travellers’ communication between the metropolis and what was known of the interior-not of the colony alone, be it remarked, but of the continent. The older settled districts of Parramatta, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Windsor, and places even further afield – where the cyclist now whirls his lightsome way on a sunny afternoon – disgorged their by no means teeming population into Sydney by these coaches, literally through the doorways of the old “Dog and Duck”. Hairy bushman, teamsters of full-flavoured speech, and country residents of all callings made it their home in those days, long before and after the gold discovery, and in times when the predatory bush- ranger made the journey as adventurous as the old highwaymen made Hounslow Heath not so very many years before. An incident like this acts old wits jogging and old memories wandering. How many such places have not the few remaining old “inhabitants,” as the government proclamations still call them, seen shorn away during the past 10 years or there- abouts? Every new city improvement at one time meant the disappearance of one or more such landmarks. It is not so long since the mysterious Bluebeard Tower, a little further up the hill, went its way into the Ewigkeit with its cargo of half told stories and hazy suspicions… But the Tower is gone now, as the “Dog and Duck” is now going, and it was time, for soon there will be no more old-timers left to weave harrowing or gossipy yarns about either. When the teams and coaches came to the “Dog and Duck ” – and who knows what plans of early colonisation, of gold seeking adventure, of bushranging enterprise even were concocted and talked over in those old rooms? – when the horn first sounded at those doors George-street was a winding bullock-truck as you still see it depicted on old maps, whence the “brickfielders” [dusty winds] in all their pristine vigour swept over the city in dry weather, and when the rain fell, as it sometimes did rain in those days, though it seems to have forgotten the way now, the bullock teams were bogged in the fairway of what is now Sydney’ s main artery of traffic, and it took many bullocks and much objurgation to get them out again. One might have read in the papers the other day how an octogenarian Sundowner, whose colonial experience dated as far back as 1838, was found in a starving condition in the bush somewhere about Springwood, and succoured and sent on his nearly-completed tramp again. If we could catch a few such types as that before they die out by bush roadsides, what stories they might tell us of the strange old days when the “Dog and Duck” was in its prime.

The Publicans: 1815-1891

1815-1818: Ambrose McGuigan.

1818 – 1820: Mary McGuigan.

1820: Simon McGuigan.

1821 – 1825: John Cullen.

1827: Thomas Weedon.

1830 – 1833: Thomas Higgins.

1833: John Bayliss.

1833 – 34: Thomas Nash.

1834 – 35: Joseph Collits.

1835: John Church.

1835: William Reid.

1838 – 39: James Hogan.

1839 – 40: Edward Fitzgibbon.

1840 – 42: John Welsh.

1842 – 45: Edward Fitzgibbon.

1845 – 1858: Peter Hanslow.

1858: William Bull.

1859 – 62: Catherine Johnston.

1862 – 64: William Bull.

1864 – 67: Louisa Watkins.

1867: Mr Cunningham.

1868 – 1875: John McInerney.

1875 -1882: David H. Daley.

1883: Michael Roche.

1886-1891: Edward Roberts.

© Copyright Mick Roberts 2013



Categories: Australian Hotels

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12 replies

  1. Hi Mick, I am a descendant of Peter Hanslow, his son Joseph and wife Elizabeth Roberts (father David jun), (is Edward one of that lot? David H. Daley was). Also Michael Roche. A long association with the “Dog & Duck”. Maybe we could share info if you are from this Hanslow/Roberts family.

  2. Hi Mick
    Just read your story about The Dog and Duck. My ancestor Catherine McKay went to work there in 1839 for Edward Fitzgibbon when she arrived in Australia. He and Bridget Fitzgibbon were witnesses for her marriage to Tim Kennedy (a convict working for Robert Guise a land holder in the Manaroo Plains). Thankyou for the history

  3. I loved this article. Ambrose and Mary were my great great grandparents, which I only learned yesterday while researching my family tree. I love that he was an Irish rebel. My grandparents were the publicans of the Moruya hotel in Moruya early 20th century.

  4. Hi Mick, I found your site by the reference in this post to The Bunch of Grapes. Do you know any more about this pub, and especially where it was located. My great, great, great grandmother Sarah Rickards was granted a licence for it in 1817 and a spirits licence in 1818.

  5. hi Mick – thanks for this article – by the way – from our family’s research into the descendants of James Bradley First Fleeter…
    Peter Hanslow’s wife Mary seems to have died in 1839 (649/1839 V1839649 23A)

    and then he married Louisa Berringer in 1840 (222/1840 V1840222 24B), (James Bradley’s granddaughter &. a cousin to my 2 x great grandmother Charlotte Midson nee Small).

    So presumably Peter and Mary Hanslow hosted the Horse and Jockey;

    while Peter hosted the Dog and Duck with second wife Louisa.

    Also could Coral Sly’s Joseph Hanslow (b. 1836/ 162/1836 V1836162 20 – d. 1869 /2342/1869) have been a son of Peter’s first wife Mary – cheers KAC

    • Its always seems a shame when we hear a full stop have been put to something like a building, in this case the Dog and Duck pub in Sydney, but I guess it was there for a long time. I was my ancestor Ambrose McGuigan who established it and I wish I’d seen it before it was demolished. Oh well time marches on and so does life!

    • Hi Kerrie Anne, yes Joseph Hanslow was the son of Peter and Mary Ann (nee Porter). Her father Richard was one of the first settlers in Ryde (2nd Fleet). Cheers, Coral.

  6. Mick, I fear you have the wrong original address. The accompanying map shows the Dog & Duck at 729 George St Haymarket in 1888 which is therefore the building next to the Southern Cross Hotel. 798 would have placed ti on the eastern side of George St not the western side. Check it out. Still a good read.
    http://atlas.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/maps/plans-of-sydney-rygate-west-1888/plans-of-sydney-rygate-west-1888-sheet-49/

  7. Thanks Tom. I’ve updated the story to give a more acurate location of the Dog and Duck, with the inclusion of the 1888 map. Thanks for the advice and the link to the map, appreciate all the help I can get researching the old pubs.

  8. No worries, Mick. I was actually trawling the history of the Great Southern, then know as the Farmers Home Hotel a few doors back toward the City. There were two others before the next corner as well – the Oldershaw Black Swan at 707 to 711 George St and the Mansion House on the corner of Encine St then, now Ultimo Rd. It appears you could get a beer fairly easily in those time too.

  9. Hi Mick, Thanks for this article ! I am descended from the 1827 publican Tom Weedon. Tom arrived in Sydney as a convict in 1810 but eventually made good in the hotel business…he went on to own the Spread Eagle in Harrington Street ( also later known as The Sailor’s Rest, I think) and was the long-time owner of the Cherry Tree Inn on Taverner’s Hill on the Parramatta Road. Quite a colourful character by all accounts. He died a respected Sydney identity. Good to see him get a mention here!

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