Regents Park Hotel, Regents Park

The Regents Park Hotel, Regents Park NSW. Picture: Mick Roberts Collection

Salvationist Arrested: Hotel Scene

Regents Park Hotel publican Eric McLean 1951

Lidcombe police yesterday charged a Salvation Army captain with “disorderly conduct” at the Regents Park hotel.

The publican, Mr. Eric McLean, asked police to make the charge after the captain had gone into the hotel with copies of the Salvation Army’s newspaper, “War Cry.”

As a result of the action against the captain, angry customers threaten to place a “black ban” on the hotel.

The Salvation Army officer is Captain Ivan Rees, 30, officer-in-charge of the Army’s Lidcombe district. He has been offering copies of “War Cry” in the Regents Park area every Saturday for six months.

One of the customers, Mr. George Wirdum, of Weilington Road, Sefton, said: “We were shocked and disgusted at Mr. McLean’s action.

“This morning, the captain, wearing his uniform, came into the bar as usual, carrying his papers and a collecting box.

“The licensee later went outside to the street when he saw him. Soon afterwards, the police came in and arrested him.

“A sergeant and constable took him away in a police sidecar.”

Mr. Wirdum said that after the arrest all the patrons in the crowded bar spontaneously walked out. Shortly afterwards Mr. McLean closed the hotel.

Mr. Wirdum said the captain was well liked by the regular customers.

“He is an ex-Serviceman of the last war and wears five medal ribbons on his uniform,” he said.

Salvation Army Captain Ivan Rees.

Captain Rees was charged at Lidcombe with disorderly conduct on licensed premises and was immediately released on his own bail of £5. He will appear before the magistrate at Parramatta Court at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Mr. Eric McLean told “The Sunday Herald” yesterday that he would not allow any person in his hotel to “collect or sell tickets or anything else.”

“When he was warned he defied the order that he should desist from coming to the hotel. To-day the police were called,” he said.

Asked why the hotel was closed soon after the captain’s arrest, Mr. McLean said he did not close because of the incident.

“The beer went off about midday, and I then closed the hotel as I always do,” he said.

Colonel W. Cooper, chief secretary of the Salvation Army, said: “The ‘War Cry’ has been sent around hotels as well as other places for 60 years. Hotelkeepers and others where the paper is offered have been most helpful, and so far as I have been able to ascertain no action as was taken at Regents Park has ever occurred before.

“The ‘War Cry’ is not a commercial newspaper. The profit from it, if any, is devoted to the work of the Salvation Army.”

– The Sun Herald Sunday 12 August 1951.

Regents Park Hotel 1960 ANU
Regents Park Hotel, 1960. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.

For more history of the Regents Park Hotel visit: Regents Park Hotel: The publican verses the Salvationist

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