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Old Commodore Hotel, North Sydney

Old Commodore Hotel 1949 anu

Old Commodore Hotel, North Sydney, 1949. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University

Middy-a-minute man replaces his sweat

Bert Fyfe 1947

GASWORKER Bert Fyfe was just getting into the swing of it at the Old Commodore Hotel , North Sydney , when this picture was taken.

Fifty-nine-year-old gasworker Bert Fyfe yesterday drank 12 middies of beer in four minutes. A few minutes before this he drank six middies in a leisurely six minutes.

Before returning to work he drank five more middies.

A middy holds nine fluid ounces of beer. Fyfe is a coal-trucker at the North Shore Gas Company, Oyster Bay.

High-Temperature Work

He works in a temperature which is never below 120 degrees. Fyfe says he needs beer to replace lost sweat. Fellow gasworkers say they have never seen him show the effects of his two-handed drinking.

Workmates have marvelled at his drinking capacity since 1912.

Fyfe, who is an athletic man, has been a daily drinker at the Old Commodore Hotel, Blue’s Point Road, North Sydney, since he started to work at the gas company 35 years ago. He said yesterday: “I am not a competitive drinker.

“I drink only enough to replace all the sweat I lose working in the extreme heat at work.

“I have never been drunk.

“My usual daily quota of beer is between eight and 12 middies at midday and between eight and 10 schooners when I knock off work.

“Of course, I sometimes increase my quota if it’s extra hot weather.”

Fyfe lines up about six middies before him when he’s standing at the bar. He takes a glass in each hand, and empties each glass in a single gulp.

Barmaid Meg Hindle said: “I started work in the Old Commodore only a few weeks ago, and Mr. Fyfe was my first customer.

“Fair dinkum, l don’t know where he puts the beer.

“He Just walked in on my first day drank 11 middies as fast as I could draw them, and then walked out as steady as a rock.”

– Sydney Daily Telegraph Sunday 23 February 1947

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Categories: Sydney hotels

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