Author Archives

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

  • Criterion Hotel, Weston

    The Criterion was built in 1903 by James Jones, an experienced hotelier who had run a number of hotels in Newcastle and Sydney prior to setting his sights on Kurri Kurri to establish business. Jim was licensee of the Terminus and… Read More ›

  • Aberdare Hotel, Weston

      THE Aberdare Hotel at Weston, NSW, was built by Englishman, John Champion who came to Australia at the age of 21 in 1876. Champion was coal miner, who later went into business, hosting the Rose, Shamrock, and Thistle Hotel… Read More ›

  • Shenton Park Hotel

    THE publican of the Shenton Park Hotel came to a nasty demise in 1928, after accidentally swallowing poison. The hotel was built in 1907 on the corner of Nicholson and Derby Roads, Shenton Park, now a suburb of Perth, Western… Read More ›

  • Bulli’s Copper Derby

    By Syd Fairs* DURING the mid 1960s when middies of beer were nine cents and schooners a few cents more, customers generally left their copper change on the bars of local pubs where licensees usually donated this money to charity…. Read More ›

  • Club Hotel, Surry Hills

    By MICK ROBERTS © JOHN Ahern was enjoying a few after-work drinks in the upstairs parlour of Surry Hill’s Club Hotel, singing and socialising, before his brutal death in 1893. Barman, Tom Moss, who later became publican, explained at the… Read More ›

  • Early closing farce

    Plea of ‘No Beer’ Although State licensing laws prescribe 9am to 9pm for hotel trading, six hotels in Perth‘s city block closed well before 9 o’clock on Saturday night. Reason given in every case was ‘no beer.’ Because of complaints… Read More ›

  • How to pull a beer

      THIS week an American visitor complained of the way beer is served in Sydney hotels – This week 27 barmaids and barmen employed by a well-known Sydney hotelkeeper, received with their pay envelopes, instructions on the art of pulling… Read More ›

  • Harp of Erin, East Sydney

    THIS interesting old building, at the corner of Stanley Lane and Riley Street in East Sydney, traded as the Harp of Erin Hotel for almost 50 years. The three ‘harps’ on the facade are the give-away that the building, currently… Read More ›

  • Kosciuszko Hotel, Mt Kosciuszko

    Kosciuszko Hotel in a picturesque setting, with the freshly fallen snow glistening in the morning sunshine, 1937. Photo: The Brisbane Telegraph.  

  • Court Hotel, Bulong

    THIS grainy old image from a 1897 newspaper is the Court Hotel, which was established in what is now an abandoned gold mining town in Western Australia. Bulong was a bustling settlement located 580kms east of Perth in the Goldfields-Esperance… Read More ›