SYDNEY’s first beer garden was established facing York Street outside Petty’s Hotel at the corner of Jamieson and Clarence Streets late in 1938.
BEER GARDENS FOR SYDNEYSydney’s first beer garden is now being constructed at Petty’s Hotel, York-street.The garden, which will be modelled on the latest Continental lines, will be divided into two sections, one for residents and one for the public. It will be situated on the York-street frontage, which for over 100 years has been occupied by lawns and paths.The garden has been planned by the manager of Petty’s, Mr. L. Pearce, who recently arrived from England.Seating accommodation will be provided for approximately 200 people at tables shaded by colorful awnings.
CHANGE IN DRINKING HABITS URGEDLarger Australian cities could well afford to experiment with beer gardens, according to people in many walks of life interviewed yesterday.Their main complaint against existing drinking facilities was that most hotels made no effort to provide the club-like atmosphere found in English Inns.“Australian drinking habits are appallingly primitive,” said a city business man recently returned from Britain.“Australian hotels provide no incentive for sane and moderate drinking.“The daily five o’clock beer swill is little better than barbarian.“Beer gardens would give Australians a chance to drink like civilised beings.”Other opinions –A clergyman: “I don’t favour drinking in any form, but if Australians insist on drinking they should be given better conditions than exist in hotels today.”A clerk: “By all means let us have beer gardens. I’ve had the pubs.”A doctor: “Why not give it a go?”A tram conductor: “If you’d been handling six o’clock drunks on trams as long as I have you’d welcome any change in Australian drinking habits.”A housewife: “Beer gardens are good enough in Europe – here we haven’t the culture to go with them.”
Goodbye To Petty’s Hotel
NOT even drinks “on the house” could disperse the gloom in Petty’s last night, when the 118-year-old hotel closed its doors for the last time. It has been bought by the Red Cross, which will turn it into a blood-bank headquarters.
The atmosphere was thick with nostalgia in the lounge and on the terrace, where a polite burst of clapping followed an announcement by the manager, Mr. T. T. Archer, that the drinks were “on the house.”
The same announcement in the public bar was the signal for a roar of approval, which brought in two policemen at the double. (They retired to a corner, looking relieved, and accepted the hospitality pressed on them by two old dockers.)
As 6 o’clock approached, Grace, up in the saloon bar, administered her last reproofs and advice to the city managers and clerks. “I’ve got the most exclusive clientele in Australia,” said Grace. “I don’t mean for money or anything like that, but they’re all nice and never any trouble.
“I like to see men behave themselves properly, especially if they’re drinking a beer. And that’s one thing you can say about Petty’s: there is never any of this ungentlemanly conduct here.”
“First time in a century they’ve closed the doors, they tell me,” said a truck driver in the public bar.
“I never thought I’d live to see the day when free beer made me feel sad. I suppose the pub’s being sold in a good cause. But where am I going to go? That’s what I want to know. Why, I’ve been coming here since 1908.”
The saddest touch of the evening came just after closing time, when a taxi drew up and decanted a very old gentleman. He came up to the reception desk and said, “I am just passing through Sydney, but I shall be back on the fifteenth. Could you please let me have a room then for one week?”
He appeared stunned to learn that Petty’s was sold to the Red Cross.
“But I always stay here,” he cried. “I had no idea of this: it’s four years since I came to the city, and I had no idea. Why, I’ve always stayed here, and so did my father. It’s the only place I could stay. Where on earth can I go, then?”
And so, to the bewilderment of a past generation and the sorrow of its present users, passed Petty’s Hotel: a place of countless pleasant memories and one of the few Sydney hotels where the tradition of civilised drinking still lingered on.
Categories: Sydney hotels