Red Lion Hotel, Adelaide, and its missing 40 feet long saloon bar



BILL HOLMES with the remains of his historic bar.

As astonished as everyone else, Mr. Bill Holmes recently found himself the owner of the 40ft.-long saloon bar of Adelaide’s historic Red Lion Hotel.

THE bar was among items on the auctioneer’s list when the furniture and fit-tings of the 122-year-old hostelry – one of Adelaide’s oldest – was demolished.

Bill watched fascinated as the auctioneer strode up and down on top of the bar asking for bids. Bill offered $4, and, to his surprise, found himself the sole owner of a slice of history.

“Some slice,” said Bill, chuckling.

His interior decorator wife, Rosslyn, thought the whole idea hilarious but was quite delighted about the new treasure of interior decor -though she could think of no possible use for it in her pretty South Terrace home.

The day after the auction he spent hours with hammers and chisels dismantling the bar ready for its removal.

It was hard work and all the while Bill had a nagging worry – what WAS he going to do with the thing?

But, what did it matter? They would cherish the carved cedar as a museum piece, so quaint and utterly unique.

It certainly must not be allowed to become a burden.

And it certainly didn’t!

The following morning Bill went early to the hotel to take delivery of the bar only to find it had gone. A few bits remained but the main part had vanished.

But why? Who would want to steal an old bar? What possible use could they have for it?

And the answer to that one is just what its erstwhile owner, Bill Holmes, would like to know.

– Australian Women’s Weekly, Wednesday 8 June 1966


If you would like to support my work, you can leave a small ‘bar tip’ here of $2, or several small tips, just increase the amount as you like. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.


Categories: Adelaide hotels, South Australia Hotels

Tags: , ,

What's Your Thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.