Publicans’ Purse scooter race raised money to build the Queanbeyan swimming pool


Riders in the “publicans‘ purse,” scooter race for publicans, almost lost in the crowd in Crawford Street, Queanbeyan, after the race on Saturday afternoon. They are (left to right) Col Etherington (Tourist Hotel), winner of the event, Keith Hatcher (Hotel Civic) and Kevin Kelly (Hotel Wellington).
-The Canberra Times October 13 1958

AFTER taking a dip at Queanbeyan (NSW) next time, consider also visiting a local pub to pay homage to the publicans who helped build the popular swimming pool.

A scooter race especially for publicans, over a half-mile, followed the annual Lions Club Canberra to Queanbeyan Scooter Race on October 11 1958.

There was an entry fee of £50 for each publican, with the winner retaining his entry fee, and donating the winnings to the Lions Club fund for the proposed ‘Queanbeyan Swimming Pool’.

The race was staged from the Hotel Queanbeyan down Crawford Street to the finishing line opposite the site of the swimming pool.

Publicans who rode scooters in the 1958 race included Col Etherington, of the Tourist Hotel, Queanbeyan; Mr F Powell, licensee of the Victoria Hotel, Queanbeyan; Keith Hatcher, manager of the Hotel Civic, Canberra; and Kevin Kelly, manager of the Hotel Wellington.

In the Canberra to Queanbeyan race, more than 60 entries competed from several States.

Kelly and Hatcher were pictured (below) in the the Canberra Times on September 17 1958 “oiling up… for a spot of training for the big event”.

publicans purse scooter race

The “Publicans’ Purse”, as it was known, was run between local publicans immediately after the annual Canberra-Queanbeyan scooter race.

The Publicans’ Purse in 1958 was won by the proprietor of the Tourist Hotel, Queanbeyan, Col Etherington.

Etherington rode an outsize scooter built around 26 inch cycle wheels. The race carried side wagers exceeding £200.

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