THE second stop on our visit to West Wallsend district’s watering holes this weekend was Lake Macquarie’s second oldest pub – The Museum Hotel.
The West Wallsend pub – the last of the town’s pubs – opened in 1889, and was given its name after the publican’s private museum collection, which was housed in the pub.
The streets surrounding the Museum Hotel were much quieter on Saturday during our visit than when the following incident occurred early last century.
The pub was a favourite meeting place – both socially, and for more serious matters – for miners from the surrounding collieries, early last century. The pub was a place for unionists, who often would rally there to fight for improved working conditions. The Maitland Weekly Mercury reported on Saturday December 11 1909:
MASS MEETING AT WALLSEND. GREAT GATHERING.
A mass meeting of the miners of West Wallsend, Seaham, No. 2 Killingworth, Back Creek, Duckenfield, and Young Wallsend (mines), was held at West Wallsend on Wednesday. Mr. J. Wright, chairman of West Wallsend Lodge, presided, and the speakers addressed the meeting from the balcony of the Museum Hotel. There was a gathering of people estimated at between 4000 and 5000. The contingent from Minmi marched from that town, headed by the Minmi Band. The meeting was the largest that has ever been held in West Wallsend.
The pub was also a popular haunt of the coal miners, who were huge drinkers, and kept the publican happy and wealthy.
The Newcastle Sun reported on Saturday January 28 1950 that regular Museum Hotel drinker Ken Harrison was preparing to beat Harry Fulton’s record of sinking 60 middies from 10am to 6pm.
WEST WALLSEND’S £100 BEER WAGER
West Wallsend beer drinkers will ‘back’ Ken Harrison, a Stockrington No. 1 miner, to beat Harry Fulton’s record of 60 middies from 10am to 6pm for £100. Harrison, who is only 5ft. 6in. high, weighs 13 stone and is a ‘consistent’ drinker. Mr. Jack O’Donnell, licensee of the Museum Hotel, where Harrison drinks, says that on several days a week it is nothing for Harrison to drink 20 pints over two hours.