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, established in 1888.
The old single storey stone inn was originally given the name ‘The Stuart’ and was located on the corner of Parsons and Todd Street.
William Benstead, a pioneer pastoralist, purchased lot 78 and 79 of the recently gazetted town of Stuart and built his hotel on lot 78. The town would later become Alice Springs.
Benstead gained a publican’s license in 1888 for what would later be described as “a modest structure of stone and iron, about the size of an average house”.
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 pub was gutted by fire in 1960, and later rebuilt as a two storey brick structure. It continued trading on the site until 1986 when it was demolished in January to make way for a shopping mall.
The license was transferred into the shopping mall later known as The Alice Plaza where a tavern continued to trade for may years.
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Categories: Northern Territory hotels