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Public bar of the Shakespeare Hotel, Surry Hills, Sydney 2018. Picture: Mick Roberts Collection.

TIME Gents is an online space all about Australian pubs, featuring reviews, road trips, news stories and plenty of history. While most stories are free, we also have exclusive ‘premium content’ for paid subscribers. For only $1 Time Gents’ subscribers have access to premium content, like:

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The Time Gents website 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.


A journalist and writer for over 30 years, 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. 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 when the Corrimal Chamber of Commerce purchased the newspaper, eventually taking the role as editor after it was sold to the Weston family of Kiama. 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, Canterbury Bankstown 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 south-west Sydney based, 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 & Clifton Times, which features news and information from the northern districts of the Illawarra region in NSW.

The Bulli & Clifton Times can be followed on social media:

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22 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

    • I just came across this site. Better late than never to share with you that King St. had a lot of pubs. My demented memory tells me starting from Phillip St was the Phillip, on Elizabeth St – The Balfour, Castlereagh St was the Surrey, these 3 would have been in drinking distance from the court house. A favourite of mine was the upstairs salon bar in the Surrey. Pitt St had on the north east corner the Kings, on the south west the Liverpool Arms, During the late 60s and early 70s the Kings was an ideal viewing spot for watching the police break up Vietnam War protesters marching down Pitt St. They’d park their paddy wagons along King St outside Coles and belt them up and haul them off into the wagons before they could upset the hard workers in the elite business area north of Martin Place, just around the corner on The north west side of George St was the National, up on York St the Forbes, on the north side of King St between York and Clarence was the York, further down on Kent St was the City, and down on Sussex was the Slip Inn and the Royal Sovereign, I might be wrong on the names of the last two, it was a long time between drinks. Anyway I’ve had a beer at all of them. On the corner of Martin Place in Castlereagh St was the Australian, Sydney’s finest hotel at onetime, now the MLC centre. They had a Sportsman bar in Rowe St, which ran between Pitt and Castlereagh behind the Commonwealth Bank money box building in Martin Place and Pitt, and another bar in Martin Place whose name I forget. Rowe St has disappeared. All those pubs would have been there in the 1920s.

  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.

  9. so entertaining to read of our history, a history that gave us the pub test, the core of our individual way of thinking.as a society and nation.
    how about some local pubs from Illawarra?
    were there 23 drinking establishments in Point st Bulli early in the life of the coal loader?

    • Twenty three is a little bit of an exaggeration, John… lol…. No pubs ever traded in Point Street, Bulli. However, up on the Prince’s Highway between Point Street and Hobart Street, there once traded four different pubs.

  10. Hi Mick, I’ve been researching family and came across your Cocky Bennett story.
    It is the most informative I have read – thank you very much. My interest is in Captain George Ellis who may or may not be related. Wondering if you might have any more information about him.
    thanks Robin

  11. Dear Mick,
    Whenever I go through the Ashfield/Croydon district whether for shopping at Croydon or Ashfield, on the way, I go through Hennessy bounded by the railway line on my left and series of buildings on the right.

    One of those buildings is the former “Croydon Hotel” which was purchased by the PLC in 1997 for use as an arts centre. Here is a street view of the former pub, https://www.google.com/maps/@-33.8831729,151.1161729,3a,74.7y,43.91h,98.46t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1ss5EFFmnQeNuUheyZNwBkpQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 .

    Highlight from ‘https’ all the way to end at ‘192’ copy then paste in browser to view the pub. It is still preserved.

    I have only been inside it once in the 1980s to visit my school friend who was tending the bar during his student days. Today my friend is dispensing medication as a pharmacist instead of alcohol as a student.

    The only thing I definitely recall visiting the place was a very small stage which one may have been lucky to accommodate a trio of musicians.

    Wondering what kind of a market did the former Croydon Hotel in Hennessy St. Croydon serve?

    Thank you,
    Anthony of exciting Belfield

  12. Hi Mick, I am writing a book on The Eltham Pub, Eltham NSW, can I use some of your information from here, properly footnoted and indexed

  13. Sure Christine… no worries…

  14. Hey Mick – fantastic website with amazing and enlightening research! Great work! Can you tell me, how do you source your old photos? and do you know if any are displayed publicly? – Thanks Ian

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