Friend in Hand Hotel, Glebe

Friend in Hand Hotel Glebe 1949 anu

The Friend in Hand Hotel, Glebe, Sydney, 1949. Photo: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.


ARCHIE MILTON CRANNERY tried to big-note himself at the Friend-in-Hand alehouse, Glebe, on January 6, when he grabbed the ten shilling currency in the till with one hand, and clamped on the singles and fivers with the other. But when the clock is nearing 6pm and the customers well congregated, that sort of caper is in the no-hope class, which was stressed at the Quarter Sessions last week, when Judge Clancy awarded Archie nine months’ gaol.

This must have come as some surprise to 21-years-old Archie, who, according to Constable Ray Blissett, hung a contrite head after his assault on the till, and answered: “I hope they give me ten years for it.” Archie, who was charged with assaulting the police, in addition to the stealing rap, said, “Excuse me,” Constable William Mowbray told the judge, when, regardless of the 30 or 40 other gentlemen disposing of schooners, he grabbed at the notes.

Contable Mowbray said he was drinking with a friend when he saw Archie go behind the bar counter and reach for the contents of the till. Cashier at the time, the licensee, Mrs Mary Withers, was a few feet away, and shouted, “You can’t do that!” and went to retrieve the notes. Archie pushed her off.

“I’m the police!” announced Constable Mowbray, seizing Archie, who hurled the currency across the bar counter to the public portion of the hotel. Then the fight was on.

“He struck me several blows on the head and body with his fists,” said the constable. “I had just overpowered him when someone in the group asked me if I were a copper. When I said yes, six or seven of them attacked me. I released my prisoner to defend myself, and then he turned on me. I was hit on the head with a bottle.”

Fighting his way through the melee the constable climbed aboard a lorry, and at Glebe Police Station Constable Blissett pondered a while on Mowbray’s description of the note-snatcher and then led the way to 83 Bridge Road nearby, where Archie opened the door.

– Sydney Truth Sunday 7 May 1944.

* Australian slang: “Rob the till”. 

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