A rare 1920s look inside an outback pub: The Stuart Arms Hotel, Alice Springs

Stuart Arms Hotel NT 1924

The Stuart Arms Hotel, Alice Springs, 1924. Picture: State Library of South Australia

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The above slide show is a rare glimpse inside an Australian outback pub in 1921. What’s also is remarkable about these images are that each photograph identifies the men inside the bar of the Stuart Arms Hotel, and some of their occupations. Pictures: Photographer, Jack Laver, State Library of South Australia

THE Stuart Arms Hotel was the first hotel in Alice Springs (which was originally called Stuart).

The old single storey stone inn was located on the corner of Parsons and Todd Street and was centre of social life for 96 years.

The Stuart Arms Hotel was established by pioneer pastoralist, William Benstead, who received his publican’s license in 1888.

Benstead purchased lot 78 and 79 of the just gazetted town of Stuart on April 9 1889 and built his hotel on lot 78. The pub was described as “a modest structure of stone and iron, about the size of an average house”. The pub is now the site of Alice Plaza.

Benstead left town shortly after in 1892, leasing the pub to Thomas Gunter under a five-year lease. He was the lessee until 1900. Charles Rutherford South then held the pub’s license until 1907. During this period, Benstead, who still owned the pub, foreclosed in 1902. It was then sold to William Garnet South in 1903.

Alice Springs’ first barmaid, Mona Minahan began work at the Stuart Arms in 1931.

The historic pub was demolished over January 11 and 12 1986.

Another hotel was established under the same name, but not on the same site.

– With thanks to Wikipedia


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Categories: Northern Territory hotels


2 replies

  1. Regards Stuart arms hotel, the new Plaza was originally called the Ford Plaza, after Bill ford, one of the developers, on the mezzanine level there was or still is a tavern called the Stuart arms tavern.

  2. Hi
    I drank here for a couple of months
    around 82/3.
    A guy I met in Alice a queewee called
    Bruce got a job as doorman.
    Best times!

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