MIKE SCANLON: Real thirst for knowledge

14/10/2018 // by admin

MIKE SCANLON: Real thirst for knowledge HISTORIAN: Ed Tonks, at the Newcastle Museum’s Our Pubs exhibition, is delving into our affinity with pubs. Picture: Marina Neil
Nanjing Night Net

Pub history story Pictured historic photo of George Hotel in Newcastle just after the earthquake on the day of its demolition as a result of earthquake damage. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

ub history story Pictured historic photo of George Hotel in Newcastle. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Newcastle Pub History story – shows the site where the George Hotel in Newcastle once was on the corner of Scott and Watt streets Picture: Peter Stoop

Historic photo of George Hotel in Newcastle just after the earthquake on the day of its demolition as a result of earthquake damage. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Historic photo of George Hotel in Newcastle just after the earthquake on the day of its demolition as a result of earthquake damage. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Historic photo of George Hotel in Newcastle just after the earthquake on the day of its demolition as a result of earthquake damage. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Pub history story Pictured historic photo of the Great Northern Hotel in Newcastle 13th May 2014 NCH NEWS COPY Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Great Northern Hotel

Pictured historic photo of the Beach Hotel on the corner of King and Watt streets Newcastle. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

shows the site where the Beach Hotel in Newcastle once was on the corner of King and Watt streets. Picture by Peter Stoop

shows the site where the Beach Hotel in Newcastle once was on the corner of King and Watt streets. Picture by Peter Stoop

Historic photo of the Exchange Hotel Hamilton. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Exchange Hotel Hamilton. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Historic photo of Premier Hotel at Broadmeadow. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Premier Hotel at Broadmeadow. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Pictured historic photo of Hotel Belmont. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Hotel Belmont located at Belmont. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Historic photo of the Travellers Rest Hexham 13th May 2014 NCH NEWS COPY Picture by DEAN OSLAND

McDonalds Restaurant at Hexham formerly the Travellers Rest Hotel. Photo by PHIL HEARNE

Historic photo of Hotel Bennett at Hamilton. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Pub history story Pictured John McCoy Licensee of the Hotel Bennett at Hamilton. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Pictured historic photo of George Hotel in Newcastle just after the earthquake on the day of its demolition as a result of earthquake damage. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Hotel Bennett at Hamilton. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Pictured Hotel Bennett at Hamilton in pictured back in 1885 as the Tudor Hotel. Picture by DEAN OSLAND

Speers Point Hotel. Lake Macquarie Lake Macquarie life & times Commemorating 100 years of local government

TORONTO HOTEL 1924 Lake Macquarie Lake Macquarie life & times Commemorating 100 years of local government

Sea Breeze Hotel. Picture: Stephen Wark

Criterion Hotel, Wickham. Picture: Supplied

Miners Arms Hotel, Wallsend

Metropolitan Hotel , Wallsend, 1886

Kent Hotel Hamilton, 1924.

Imperial Hotel Cooks Hill, 1880’s

Figtrees Hotel Wallsend

Centenial Hotel

Aberdare Hotel Cessnock

Hotel toronto 1924

Criterion Hotel, Islington. 1983

Cricketers Arms Hotel, 1986

The Duke of Kent, Wolfe and Hunter street, 1976

Family Hotel, Newcastle

Grand Central Tavern , Maitland 1986

Kurri Kurri Hotel, 1973

Nobby’s Lighthouse, former Castle, 1984

Orient Hotel Watt street, damaged by fire, 1978

Royal Oak Hotel, Maitland

Shakey’s Hotel Wickham. 1983

Sportsmans Arms Hotel, Lambton, 1986

Town Hall Hotel, 1972

Blue Peter Hotel, Hunter street

Sulphide Hotel, Boolaroo

Broadway Hotel, Broadmeadow 1984

Caledonian Hotel, Singleton

Carlton Hotel, 1989, Zaara street

Carrington Club Hotel, 1970’s

Morisset Hotel,1908

Museum Hotel, West Wallsend, 1900.

Northern Star , Hamilton

Commercial Hotel , Morisset.

Eatons Hotel, Muswellbrook.

The Great Northern Hotel in Newcastle at the turn of last century.

Terminus Hotel Scott Street, Newcastle

The Yacht Club Hotel, Hunter Street

The Criterion Hotel was a landmark on the corner of Hunter street and Bolton street until 1956

The Crown and Anchor Hotel, Hunter & Perkins Sts

Beach Hotel in Watt Street Newcastle How quickly things change in inner Newcastle is graphically illustrated in the picture above.

Original Oriental Hotel in Carrington – built on site adjacent to present day hotel.

Hotel Rawson on the corner of Hunter and Newcomen streets.

Great Northern Hotel

Largs Hotel in 1936. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK

Grand Hotel Newcastle

The Star Hotel in Newcastle

Fowler’s West End, in Hunter Street circa 1920s.

Hotel Pacific Newcastle

Killingworth Hotel October 1903

Criterion Hotel, Weston.

Great Northern Hotel

Hotels – Sunnyside Hotel Broadmeadow 1903

Stag and Hunter Hotel, Mayfield,1969.

The Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, The Junction, in 1901

The Terminus Hotel, Merewether

Largs Hotel in 1936

Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle, 1900-1910

Hotel Rawson on the corner of Hunter and Newcomen streets, it was demolished after its licence expired in 1964 and is now the site of the Commonwealth Bank.

Terminus Hotel, Scott Street, Newcastle.

The Yacht Club Hotel, Hunter Street, late 1800s

Criterion Hotel was a landmark on the corner of Hunter street and Bolton street until 1956.

Oriental Hotel in Carrington, 1898, on site adjacent to present day hotel.

The Great Northern Hotel in Newcastle circa 1900.

Eatons Hotel, Muswellbrook

The Black Diamond Hotel

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LET’S front the bar today and toast the health of our favourite drinking haunts. Old Hunter hotels are everywhere around us, or at least they used to be. In fact, back in the 19th century, there seemed to be a public (drinking) house, or pub, on every street corner and often there was.

Today it’s a lot different. Most Newcastle/Lake Macquarie suburbs now seem to only have a couple of rubbidy-dubs.

But once, around 1900, there were a reported 149 pubs in Newcastle and colliery townships, like Hamilton and Wallsend. Inner-city Newcastle/Cooks Hill alone had 55 hotels. Many were real icons.

Then back about 1910, with hard-drinking miners following the opening of new mines up the Hunter, pub patronage began dropping. So, in May 1921 the Licences Reduction Board abruptly closed 23 city hotels. Later, in the early 1960s, more marginally profitable premises were suddenly de-licensed.

No one knows this better that Hunter historian Ed Tonks, of Charlestown.

He’s followed the changing fortunes of Hunter hotels for years and his ‘‘Pits and Pubs’’ tours around the Northern Coalfields are well known.

That’s why he’s taken such a great interest in one of the Newcastle Museum’s newest attractions at Honeysuckle. It’s a collection of 30 historic photographs entitled Our Pubs, showcasing familiar hotels from Newcastle to Boolaroo, Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Dungog and Vacy.

To highlight the display, Tonks was asked to host free ‘‘Ye Olde Pub Crawl’’ tours around the inner-city heart, inspecting some colourful, now often long-gone hotel sites.

‘‘My tour visits around 30 different city hotels sites,’’ Tonks said this week.

‘‘Looking closely at some sites, you learn there might have been up to three different pubs there over the years.

‘‘So what you really have, instead of 30 pubs, is really the history of 40 to 45 hotels.

‘‘My talks are much broader though than the museum pictures on show. Curator Julie Baird only selected some of about 60 pictures I was asked to caption. There’s enough for a second display.’’

The present exhibit is actually part of a 1959 collection of 178 pictures donated by brewers Tooth & Co to the museum. But more of that later.

Historian Tonks said the old, long vanished pubs still had relevance today because of their sometimes surprising past. ‘‘That’s why I love it. Take Merewether’s old Terminus Hotel as an example. Its licence was transferred to the Kent Hotel, in Beaumont Street, Hamilton, in 1924,’’ Tonks said.

‘‘Now, what’s interesting here is that this former hotel building still exists on [140] City Road, on the left going up the hill, but moved back about 10metres. It was physically relocated there decades ago for future road widening.

‘‘It looks completely unrecognisable now. The only old photo I’ve ever seen of it shows it with a wooden verandah, wrought iron panels with ads for ‘Woods’s New Beer’ to the left and right of the front doorway, behind the verandah posts.’’

The hotel started out as the Miners Rest in 1874. It was then listed as being in Railway Street close to the terminus of the steam tramway service from Newcastle.

Tonks said another interesting city pub was the former Golden Sands (now parkland directly opposite Newcastle Beach).

‘‘It opened as The Esplanade in 1937. Brewers Tooheys bought its licence from the old Newmarket Hotel, near the later Strand Theatre Street [now Market Square on Hunter Street Mall].

‘‘Then there’s Broadway’s Lambton Park Hotel, at Broadmeadow. The hotel was demolished after the 1989 earthquake, but its licence originally came in 1924 from the 1904 Glebe Colliery Hotel in Wilton Street, Merewether.

‘‘The Glebe Colliery Hotel though appears to have started life as the Newcastle Colliery Hotel in 1874. That name last appears in 1903.’’

Tonks said much of his hotel information came from Tooth & Co records held at the Noel Butlin Archives at the Australian National University in Canberra.

‘‘What’s there is a staggering resource; a ‘wow’ factor. Tooth’s new boss Carlton United Breweries didn’t want its collection and donated it. Tooths hotels and its competitors are on a comprehensive checklist system of yellow cards.

‘‘Photographs usually accompany each hotel listing as a record of its appearance. Taken by Tooth & Co reps, they cover each NSW town. It’s an invaluable record historically not only of old Hunter hotels, but for the state. And it’s bloody fascinating. But sometimes when a hotel closed, its licence just went into a general pool. Newcastle’s Rawson Hotel [the corner of Hunter and Newcomen streets] was one of about 20 licences we don’t know what happened to.’’

Asked, though, about his own favourite pub, Ed Tonks hesitates, ‘‘That’s a real big call. Like asking what’s your favourite beer. It’s not necessarily that easy,’’ he said.

‘‘For example, when people discuss World War I, it’s often about Gallipoli. Early aviation is usually talking about Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

‘‘When Newcastle pubs are mentioned it’s the Great Northern. It obviously deserves a guernsey, but not at the expense of all others.’’

‘‘Take the underrated former Duke of Kent Hotel on the corner of Hunter and Wolfe streets in the Hunter Mall. It’s of art deco design and just screams of having class.

‘‘And when people think of old, famous Newcastle architects, the name of Frederick Menkens comes up. But he was not the only architect ever working in Newcastle. Take the firm of Pitt and Merewether. Theirs was one of the most prolific architectural practices here and their range of designs equally as staggering.

‘‘They designed hotels like Stockton’s Boatrowers and Gladstone hotels, the Hamilton Hotel and the old Travellers Rest Hotel [now recycled as Hexham McDonalds] with its recessed verandah etc. Another interesting style is seen at the Crown & Anchor pub [complete with turret] in the inner city.’’

Tonks said people today forgot that popular 19th century pubs weren’t just watering holes, but ‘‘a community focus and a place for public meetings’’.

‘‘Coronial inquests were also once held at pubs, so many should have quite a lot of ghosts,’’ he joked.

‘‘And a meeting held at the [notorious] miners and sailor’s pub, the Black Diamond, once at Civic, help establish the Cooks Hill School in 1883. It was a real community thrust.

‘‘Oh yes, people have always had quite an affinity with pubs,’’ Tonks said.

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Newcastle Museum’s Our Pubs exhibit runs until June 29.

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