Hoppy Tom


Hoppy Tom and a drinking mate. Photo: Bruce Howard


Hoppy Tom. Photo: Bruce Howard.

HOPPY Tom had to drink alone. Oh, his mate had been with him earlier, but suddenly the door of the Warialda pub (NSW) burst open, and in stormed his chum’s wife.

A giant of a woman, six axehandles across the backside, and biceps like a buffalo; She grabbed her elfish little spouse and lifted him roght off the floor, his little legs flapping.

“You’re coming home, you louse!” she roared.

But he was a man of spirit. He raised a fist, shook it, and cried: “Put me down, ya bastard, or I’ll job ya.”

Sneering, she carried him away.

However, out the back where they were playing cards, there occurred an event to cheer any male chauvinistic pig. At precisely 8pm, a woman stormed in carrying a plate of meat and vegetables and slapped it down in front of one of the players.

Tearfully, she cried: “If you won’t come home for dinner, you awful man, I might as well bring it to you here!”

A deathly silence.

Slowly he turned, looked at her and said:

“Where’s the bloody gravy?”

– John Larkins



IN the early 1970s, writer, John Larkins and photographer, Bruce Howard went on a 40,000km pub crawl around Australia, telling their wives, “Don’t wait up!” With Larkins wonderful words, and Howards’ fabulous photos, they chronicled an amazing snap shot of Australian pub culture – many, both people and pubs, which have now gone. From that expedition they had published “Australian Pubs”. These are excerpts from the now out of print book. 

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