Lanie, the Rock’s bawdy drag queen, reigned over her left handed pub for more than 25 years

How Lanie knew the ‘Obby’. The Observer Hotel, George Street, The Rocks, Sydney 1970. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University. Inset: Lanie. Picture: Stephen Carrington.

Observer Hotel, The Rocks, Sydney

By MICK ROBERTS ©

ALTHOUGH right-handed, when I drop into the Observer Hotel at Sydney’s Rocks, I like to drink a beer using my left hand. The gesture is in memory of a left-handed drag-queen who performed in the pub’s back-bar for over 25 years.

Every Sunday afternoon from the 1970s through to the early 1990s, Lanie entertained a packed Observer Hotel with her risqué act, which consisted of ‘music hall’ style bawdy tunes, dirty jokes, and crude insults, all from a stool in front of an upright piano.

Lanie, who was rather ‘large’, and was in her 60s when I first started visiting the ‘Obby’, as it’s affectionately known by regulars, on a Sunday afternoon

Decked-out in a sequin gown, heavily made-up with bright blue eye shadow, and crowned with a glamorous blonde wig, she swore like a trooper, and had a huge and devoted following. She was accompanied by her faithful and slightly built piano player, known simply as ‘Rambo’.

The foul-mouthed drag-queen, who left many a tourist aghast when they poked their heads in the door of the Observer Hotel, had a left handed policy.

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‘Didyano’ Pub & Beer Trivia

Didyano #183: Sarah Bird is recognised as the first woman publican in the colonies of Australia, having been granted a license in New South Wales in 1797. 

More pub and beer trivia HERE


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8 replies

  1. I remember Lani we went there every Sunday and she used to sing “there’ll be blue skies over the white “clits” of Dover. Lani was a blast! The Obs certainly pulled them in when she was there.

  2. Used to work in the Ambulance station next door in the early eighties and was a Sunday tradition after shift the jokes about ambos and rubber gloves got me every time

  3. We remember Lani & Wayne,on the piano,in 1978–She was fantastic!–my mate Tony & i used to go every sunday,we used get called a “couple of poofs”–i never laughed so much,you could not beat Sydney in those days for great pubs,You brought back great memories,of The great Lani–R.I.P

  4. Does anyone know,when Lani died?-or where she is buried?-We were going to pay our respects,-What a star,Sydney took a big hit,when Lani the great,passed-R.I.P,fun and laughter!—

  5. 1988 I was lucky to have meet Lanie she was amazing I loved her and she sure did make us laugh. I will never for get her thank you for the write up. I am sorry I haven’t any photos of us together.
    Lillian Chetcuti Riolo
    Malta

    • We used to go there,78-83-with Wayne on the piano,fantastic entertainment,I am so glad Lani is so remembered,they were great times,with endless laughter!-to this day,I always drink left-handed,-& lillian,i am so glad you have great memories,too!–viva la Lani & Malta-

      • She was a hoot. You took your life in her hands if you went across her dance floor to the toilet. Made that mistake and never made it again. She liked me. Young looking, small, cute. Whenever a girl came in she would say ‘another candidate for the gangbang’. She was vile. But everybody loved her. She was actually a really lovely person. I spoke to her outside the Ob on quite a few occasions. She did a lot of charity stuff.

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