BILLY Fitzpatrick of Market Square, went to work with the City’s milkman, Charlie Price, at the same age that he became a regular at the Harp Hotel *.
He earned 2/6 a week.
“I walked from house to house, carrying four gallons of milk, two each hand,” he recalled yesterday as he downed a glass of ale in a temporary bar at the back of the Harp Hotel.
The Harp, the City’s oldest pub, is being pulled down to make way for a new building.
For Billy Fitzpatrick the old Harp has been like a second home.
“I’ll be 69 in May, you know,” he remarked.
“My grandfather ushered me through the swinging doors of the Harp at the age of five and I have been a ‘regular’ since.
I didn’t touch the beer until my ‘teens, but I would sing a song for the ‘locals’ and collect a halfpenny to buy biscuits.
“I have known all the important people in Wollongong in my time and drunk with many of them at the Harp. I knew ‘King’ Billy, the lot”.
The Fitzpatricks moved to Wollongong from Cooma in the late 1890s.
At the age of 17 Billy decided to become baker and started with a leading firm.
He is a veteran of two world wars.
In 1914 he travelled with the 18th battalion as a pastry cook. “They sent me all over France to feed the boys,” he said.
“In the 1940-45 war, I marched with the 13th battalion. I was in the transport division.”
After the war, Billy opened his own bakery at West Wollongong, in late 1945, but retired several years back when Southern Bakeries moved in.
– Illawarra Mercury 1965.
*The Harp Hotel continues to trade (2021) and is located in Wollongong, NSW.
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Categories: Illawarra Hotels