DURING the late 1940s, it was reported that you could have a beer at Albany’s London Hotel, with a dash of jive.
The pub, on the far south coast of Western Australia, you see, was hosted by Harry Ward, a well-known Perth guitarist, banjoist, ex-radio star and general entertainer.
Harry though wasn’t the only musician at the London Hotel. There was reception clerk, Tommy Gale who was a drummer, and a tap dancer. There was barman and cocktail mixer, George Madden, who played the piano accordion, and barman, Eric Allen, who was pianist. And to complete the set-up, Margaret Wise took time off as housemaid to become, what was described as “the Dinah Shore crooner of Albany”.
With all that talent, it was not unusual for Harry and his artistic employees to entertain their customers and give impromptu performances at the London Hotel.
The Perth Mirror reported on Saturday 11 March 1950:
WA’s musician-publican Harry Ward has been having a great round of farewells at Albany. Mine Host at the London Hotel for 3 years, Harry, clever string musician well remembered in Perth, is moving on to a town nearer Perth. His stay at Albany was notable for his entertainment of people by a conversion of his house staff into a self-contained orchestra, complete with crooner, for social functions. His bar manager, Eric Allen, was formerly popular Perth pianist.
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