Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pubs of Balmain - part 1

Today Balmain has become a peninsula of contrasting identity - we think of the suburb as a hip, cafe and art gallery loving place where expression of thought and creativity are unionised with a new found wealth in property. However, the heritage of the area as a working class, pub loving town still holds tight in defining the identity of its residents. The pennisula has always had a deep love affair with the working class and the public house and there are currently 24 trading pubs on the penninsula, some of them being of the oldest ilke in Australia.

The Captain Cook Inn: Nicholson St, Balmain East. The very first hotel on the pennisula, built in 1842. It was only trading for 3 years before it became a private residence for Captain Nicholson (of whom Nicholson Street is named after). It later became Durham House but the building no longer stands.

Rob Roy Hotel: 25 Adolphus St, Balmain - was a pub for 101 years until 1958. It has a reputation for harbouring unsavory characters and was known to the locals as the "Bloodhouse". Its location serviced the men working on the schooners docked in White Bay and a story goes that when these men, intoxicated, spilled out onto the street and found themselves on Shannon Grove, a private residence (now Ewenton St), a father and son team known as "The Ward Boys" would eject them using a revolver. The Rob Roy also had a reputation for selling liquor on Sundays, which at the time was prohibited. The building is now a boarding house.

Dry Dock Hotel : Cnr College & Cameron Sts Balmain - Is the oldest hotel still trading today. It opened in 1867 and has been servicing partons for the past 142 years. Its success has been due to its close proximity to Mort's Dock. It was the first pub have a beer garden and host live entertainment in Balmain.

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