Book reveals the colourful tales of Bellambi and Bulli pubs

Bulli Family Hotel Bulli ANU 1949

Family Hotel, now the Heritage Hotel, Prince’s Highway, Bulli, 1949. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National; University

THE barmaids serving-up the beer in what is today’s Heritage Hotel at Bulli, south of Sydney, must have looked on in sheer horror as thousands of thirsty drinkers began filling the public bar on Christmas Eve 1940.

To help celebrate the 130th anniversaries of the Heritage Hotel, Bulli and the Bellambi Hotel, Bellambi, ‘Time Gents’ presents the history book, ‘Sister Pubs’, featuring stories of their colourful characters, amusing yarns, and plenty of beaut pictures. This is just one of the stories featured in the book:

“Publican, Matthew Ryan had reduced beer prices by one penny on 17 ounce schooners, 10 ounce mugs, and 6 ounce glasses. Ryan’s Bulli pub was the first of 23 in the Illawarra that capitulated to strikers’ demands after hotels were declared black by unions due to a hike in beer prices.

The miners had a proud tradition of demonstrating their opposition to increases in beer prices by boycotting hotels, picketing and imposing fines on unionists or co-workers daring to drink at ‘black’ bars.

With just 40 minutes before closing time on Christmas Eve, Ryan declared that he would meet the unions’ demands. Around 5,000 miners and steelworkers from Port Kembla converged on mass to the Bulli pub by foot, bus, car, or bicycle – anyway they could find – forming queues, waiting to breast the bar.

​In the days before liquor stores, when the pub was the only outlet where take away liquor could be purchased, many brought bags and suitcases to carry away bottled beer.”

Bellambi Hotel and Bulli’s Family Hotel, now known as the Heritage Hotel, opened seven months apart in 1889 to service an infant tourism industry, and the social needs of the surrounding communities.

Sister Pubs can be purchased online only within Australia for $34.95 (including postage, packaging and handling), or purchased from the Black Diamond Heritage Centre (eastern platform of Bulli Railway Station, Franklin Avenue, Bulli) open Sundays from 1pm to 4pm (The Heritage Centre will be closed over the Christmas/New Years break on Sunday December 29 and January 5). The book can also be purchased for $30 (cash only) by calling 0412 095 969 and arranging to pick up from the author in either Surry Hills, Sydney or Bulli.


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Categories: Australian Hotels

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