A BEAUT yarn I recall about a long departed Wollongong pub happened back in the early 1980s during my employment with the now defunct Australian government telecommunications company, Telecom.
Basically, my job as an assistant linesman involved helping repair and maintain telecommunication cables. The older fellow I was assigned to assist (and drive) was just short of retirement, and well-known for ‘imbibing’ while on his rounds, keeping Wollongong, south of Sydney, communicated.
Well, you can imagine his (and my) joy when we were assigned to repair a cable in a deep footpath ‘pit’ outside the front door of the Wollongong Hotel, established on the corner of Kembla and Crown Streets in 1901 and sadly demolished in 1983.
Between passing him the required tools to repair the cables, I was also obliged to hand him a straight scotch from the bar of the Wollongong Hotel. The pit was just deep enough to keep the linesman out of public view. I think, I counted five or six glasses, before the job was complete, and we moved onto the nearby Harp Hotel for ‘lunch’.
Another story about a drinker at the Wollongong Hotel wasn’t so amusing – well, at least not for 58-year-old George Scott.
George, who lived in nearby Corrimal Street, was lucky he wasn’t killed after leaving the Wollongong Hotel in December 1954 when a runaway beer truck knocked him back through the doorway, into the public bar, where he had been enjoying a drink.
Leaving the pub, George had walked out of the doorway to jump into a waiting cab to take him home.
The truck, loaded with about a dozen empty beer barrels, mounted the footpath, sending George sprawling across the bar floor. He was treated at Wollongong Hospital for a knee injury and survived to tell the tale.
The truck gorged a huge hole in the outside wall of the pub, smashing several of the familiar outside wall yellow tiles. The beer barrels rolled off the trailer of the truck onto the roadway and footpath.
One of the beer barrels followed George into the bar!
George escape serious injury and was treated for a knee wound at Wollongong Hospital.
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