Assembly Hotel, Sydney: Proud beauty scorns the demon rum

Assembly Hotel Sydney 1937 NBA ANU

The Assembly Hotel, Sydney 1937. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University

assembly hotel sydney cockatoo 1946

YOU can see Sydney’s only religious cockatoo any time in the saloon bar of the Assembly Hotel, Phillip-street.

The cockatoo, called Smith, lives there, but he —

  • Refuses alcohol of any kind, and cannot be tricked. He is shown turning his head away from a glass of beer.
  • Has a vast but pure vocabulary.
  • Bows his head to the hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’ (from an old-timer’s repertoire).

“Smith” is 11 years old, but has frequented bars only since Mrs. V. Smith, the licensee’s wife, got him six months ago.

Amazing to drinkers is the way Smith can preen his snowy feathers with supercilious calm amid the hubbub in the bar.

Old hands remember the Saturday-regular who struggled into the bar the day Smith arrived and ordered a middie. While lifting the glass, he became aware of beady eyes intently surveying him.

“Struth, how like the missus,” he muttered, despairingly.

– Sydney Sun August 25 1946

The Assembly Hotel was located at the corner of Phillip and Hunter Streets, Sydney. The pub closed for business in April 1961. The last publican was David Powell.


If you would like to support my work, you can leave a small ‘bar tip’ here of $2, or several small tips, just increase the amount as you like. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.



Categories: NSW hotels, Sydney hotels


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