About Time Gents and Mick Roberts

dog bar shakespeare hotel surry hills 2018

Public bar of the Shakespeare Hotel, Surry Hills, Sydney 2018. Photo: Time Gents.


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TIME Gents is a collection of short histories, reviews, stories and newspaper reports relating to pubs and the industry and culture that grew-up around them in Australia.

Time Gents also feature stories from Mick Roberts’ Looking Back website, established in the year 2000, highlighting stories of pubs, publicans and their customers in the Illawarra and Sydney regions of Australia.

Time Gents was chosen on July 8 2015 to be re-archived regularly by PANDORA, Australia’s Web Archive, a growing collection of Australian online publications, established initially by the National Library of Australia in 1996, and now built in collaboration with nine other Australian libraries and cultural collecting organisations.

PANDORA, was established by the National Library in 1996 and is a collection of historic online publications relating to Australia and Australians. Online publications and web sites are selected for inclusion in the collection with the purpose of providing long-term and persistent access to them.

Mick Roberts specialises in pub history and its associated culture and has been researching the liquor industry in the Illawarra region in view of publishing a book on the subject.

The book will highlight the role the hotel and liquor industry has played in the development of the region, featuring tales, yarns and a detailed listing of all licensed publicans, brewers and liquor merchants in the Illawarra region from when the first hotel was licensed in 1830 to 1930. He always welcomes contact from families and people with a connection to the hotel industry in the region.

A newspaper journalist with an interest in Australian cultural and social history, Mick has been writing on the subject for 30 years. He has researched, and had published, the history of the Illawarra region in NSW in various newspapers, industry magazines and websites since 1987.

Mick began his career as a journalist with the Wollongong Northern News, eventually becoming editor of the newspaper in the mid 1990s. With a silent partner he established a weekly newspaper, the now defunct Wollongong & Northern Leader in 1998. Originally established as the Corrimal Post and Northern Suburbs Messenger, the newspaper was taken over by the Corrimal Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and renamed The Northern Leader. It was acquired by the Fairfax Group and closed in recent years.

Mick remained on as a journalist, after the Chamber of Commerce purchased the newspaper, eventually taking the role as editor after the newspaper was sold to the Weston family. He remained with the newspaper until February 2007 when he accepted the editorship of a new weekly Wollongong newspaper – The Local Citizen.

Mick relocated to Sydney in 2008 where he took the role as a senior journalist with Bankstown based Torch Publications, first looking after the weekly, Auburn Review Pictorial, and later the weekly, Bankstown Canterbury Torch.

During 2008 he was also a senior journalist with Sydney City News.

After a short stint with News Limited’s Cumberland Newspaper Group as a journalist with the Liverpool Leader in late 2010, Mick returned to Torch Publications, where he was employed as senior journalist with the Canterbury Bankstown Torch, the Inner West Times, Auburn Review and Lifestyle magazine, until 2019.

Mick also moderates the not-for-profit news website The Bulli Times, which features news and information from the northern districts of the Illawarra region in NSW.

12 replies

  1. Hey Mick, I’d love to have a chat to you about our new film about Aussie pubs and the swill. Check it out at http://www.aftertheswill.com

  2. Where can I find your email?

  3. Hi Mick
    I’m researching Sydney in the 1920s and having trouble finding out where a respectable Barrister working at the court house in Elizabeth Street and also having rooms on Macquarie Street would have a quiet beer? Any suggestions?
    I’ve hit a bit of a wall.

    • Hi Mick Roberts, my name is Norm Chapman, I am doing research on Millmerran Rural Estates and found your photo of the Bulli Creek Hotel South of Millmerran (love it). Our Progress Association is compiling a history of the area and I would like to talk to you about this Hotel in a more formal manner if possible. Regards Norm. Contact, email normtc70@bigpond.com phone 0409 063 886
      I’m an old bugga’ and only have email with limited download or mobile phone

  4. Enjoyed looking at the contents of your site.

    Here’s a snippet of historical trivia (information) on the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Erskineville

    SYDNEY, Tuesday.
    Ivy Smith, an employee at the Cosmopolitan
    Hotel, Erskineville, was
    rudely awakened from sleep early, this
    morning, when an electric torch was
    flashed in her face and a voice bade
    her keep quiet. The girl however,
    screamed at the top of her voice and
    the man dashed down the stairs and
    made his escape. He stole a Watch
    and money valued, at £8. –


  5. Hi Mick, I’m loving your musings!

    I’m a huge fan of streamline Moderne architecture and I’ve alsways wondered how the large scal modernisation program Tooth seemed to execute across its pubs in the late 1930s and early ’40s came about. It as left us some fantastic pubs, Think the Light Horse on Oxford Street Paddington, the Rosebery Hotel, The Southern Cross and The Century on George Street, the Old Clare on Broadway, The Imperial in Erko, The Golden Barley in Marrickville, the Lakes in Eastlakes and countless more.

    Have you any sense of what inspiration drove this program of modernistaion? Was there some passionate individual within Tooth that has left us this great legacy?

  6. Hi Mick, my family history tells me that my great great grandfather Jeremiah Sullivan once owned the Shamrock Hotel and a number of other “Shamrock” businesses in the town. The Fortitude Valley electoral roll lists Jeremiah and his son William Francis Sullivan a few doors away on Symes St around 1895.
    I’d be interested in exchanging information with anybody interested in this period, I’m particularly keen to see other photographs of the hotel etc and possibly a photograph of Jeremiah.

  7. Gday Mick,
    Glad to read that you are living the dream. I enjoy reading the stories on the various drinking holes. Unfortunately it is you that has to do the hard yards and visit them and taste the brews…a tough job but someone has to make the sacrifice! Hang in there mate; at least the fluoride in beer is good for your teeth. BTW try to leave a bit of beer for the locals; Queenslanders get pretty thirsty in summer.

    If you are ever in the western Sydney region and have time then give me a call so I can make sure I at least deprive you of one of the beers in a nearby pub!!!!
    Jon Hillman

  8. Hello Mick,
    Just happened to come across your article on my grandfather James Hardgrave Shekleton, Entrepreneur and Publican. It was quite revealing is some of the details of his early life in WA.
    I flew across to Sydney from New Caledonia, where I live, to meet him when he returned from the US after a long absence. But he was very vague about his early years and he died shortly thereafter.
    Are you related to his second wife Capel Hannah ‘Pink’ Roberts ?
    Would love to hear from you.

    • Thanks for your message, Maxwell. I’m always pleased to hear feedback on my stories… Cheers. I’m not related to Capel Hannah ‘Pink’ Roberts.

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