Seven of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling beers today - Go55s

Seven of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling beers today

With British pubs being hubs of social gatherings back home, it was inevitable that the hotel trade in colonial Australia would boom and publicans would flourish. Some of the oldest Australian pubs continue to fill glasses with amber fluids today.

A social tipple or three was central to life back home. That means that it wasn’t long before the rum smuggling trade in colonial Australia was bustling. As a result, formalities needed to be put in place to gain crowd control. The earliest Australian hotel licensing records date from 1798, only a decade after the First Fleet’s arrival at Botany Bay.

In historic Australian pub circles, there is debate over which pub can claim to be the oldest. From my experience, any historic Australian pub with more than a century and a half of yarns to share is well worth a visit. Furthermore, the less modernised the interior of the pub, the more authentic the old Australian pub experience feels.

So as not to fire up a passionate historic publican or two, we kept the criteria for this article simple. Most of all, we wanted to bring you a decent sample of what we know to be a long list of historic Australian pubs that you can still plan to visit and enjoy a drink in today.

What the oldest Australian pubs in the list below share is that they were all originally established as pubs with liquor licenses. Notably, each of these pubs still hold current liquor licenses today. While they may have moved across the road, and been rebuilt since they were originally established, what they have in common is that they started out as a pub, they’re still a pub and they’re all old in terms of Australian colonial history.

Over 220 years of pulling beers:  Woolpack Hotel, Parramatta, New South Wales

Woolpack Hotel in Parramatta NSW is one of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling beers.

Image: from woolpackhotel.com.au

ESTABLISHED:  c. 1798, originally as the Freemasons Arms Inn

CURRENT LICENSEE: Eric Wright

ADDRESS: 19 George Street, Parramatta, NSW.

A trip to Parramatta without dropping in at the Woolpack for refreshment is out of the question. Courtesy, attention, and good brands are always available at the Woolpack. – The Catholic Press, Thu 29 Feb 1912 | trove.nla.gov.au.

The historic Woolpack Hotel in Parramatta was originally established in 1798 as the Freemasons Arms Inn and gained its current namesake back in 1821. The Woolpack Hotel claims to be one of the first ten hotels in Australia to be granted a liquor licence. While the Woolpack Hotel was rebuilt across the road from the original hotel in the 1890s it holds the longest hotel license in Australia (1796).

Over 210 years of pulling beers:  Hope and Anchor Tavern, Hobart, Tasmania

Hope and Anchor Tavern is one of Australia's oldest pubs still pulling beers.

Image: www.hopeandanchor.com.au

ESTABLISHED: c. 1807 as the Whale Fishery Hotel, rebuilt in 1817.

CURRENT LICENSEE: Daniel Cullen

CURRENT ADDRESS: 65 Macquarie Street, Hobart (formerly Hotel Alexandra)

This historic waterfront pub is a Hobart landmark. The tavern makes claim to being the oldest Australian pub, as it has been mostly continuously trading while other candidates for the title had significant breaks in their trading history. It has been known by a few names over the years including the Whale Fishery; the Hope; the Anchor and Hope; and The Alexandra. Naturally its fabulous location and history makes it a sought out tourist destination. The hotel is Heritage Listed by the Tasmanian Government.

TO FIND OUT MORE: Visit the University of Tasmania > Library > Companion to Tasmanian History.

Over 200 years of pulling beers: Horse and Jockey Hotel in Homebush Sydney

The Horse and Jockey Hotel is one of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling beers.

Image: www.horseandjockeyhotel.com.au

CURRENT LICENSEE: Gary Austin

ESTABLISHED: c. 1809

CURRENT ADDRESS: Corner of Parramatta Road and Knight Street, Homebush, NSW.

Today’s Horse and Jockey Hotel was originally established as The Half Way House Hotel. This is because it was located half way between Sydney and Parramatta.  The hotel has been graced with a number of names before settling into the Horse and Jockey Club Hotel in the 1840s. The building itself has had a chequered history having been demolished and rebuilt a few times. The original hotel, ‘The Half Way House Hotel’ stood 50 metres east of the current hotel.

TO FIND OUT MORE:

Visit the Horse and Jockey Hotel website > history; and,

Strathfield Herigate > Horse and Jockey Hotel

Over 200 years of pulling beers: Macquarie Arms Hotel, Windsor, New South Wales

The Macquarie Arms Hotel is one of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling beers.

Image: www.macquariearms.com.au/history/

ESTABLISHED: c. 1815

CURRENT LICENSEE: Kieren Doyle

CURRENT ADDRESS: Thompson Square, Windsor, NSW.

Governor Lachlan Macquarie discovered and settled the Hawkesbury region. Home to the Macquarie Arms Hotel in Windsor the region is one of the oldest colonial settlements in Australia. The beautiful old two storey colonial hotel was built by Richard Fitzgerald under the direction of Governor Macquarie. A portrait of Governor Macquarie graces the Dining Room of the Macquarie Arms Hotel today. According to the pub’s website a past resident, seven year old Mary is said to haunt the hotel.

TO FIND OUT MORE:

Visit the Macquarie Arms Hotel website; and,

NSW Environment and Heritage > Statement of Significance

Over 200 years of pulling bears: Bush Inn, New Norfolk, Tasmania

One of Australia's oldest pubs Tasmania's The Bush Inn

The Bush Inn New Norfolk Tasmania 1928 | John Henry Harvey 1855-1938, photographer/slv.vic.gov.au

ESTABLISHED: c. 1815

CURRENT LICENSEE: Peter Smith

CURRENT ADDRESS: 49-51 Montagu Street, New Norfolk, TAS.

The English pub inspired Bush Inn in New Norfolk Tasmania may indeed have claim to being our nation’s oldest pub. It has been continuously licensed on the same site (since 1825) and in the same building. The Bush Inn has a spectacular history that includes underground tunnels and asylums. It is also  a destination for passionate paranormal chasers!

TO DISCOVER MORE:

Read this fascinating article about Bush Inn’s ghost – news.com.au > Travel > The terrifying story behind this haunted hotel

Almost 200 years of pulling beers: Brunswick Hotel Hobart

Brunswick Hotel in Hobart is one of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling beers.

Image: brunswickhotelhobart.com.au

ESTABLISHED: c. 1827

CURRENT LICENSEE: Duncan Lumsden

CURRENT ADDRESS: 67 Liverpool Street, Hobart, TAS.

The Brunswick Hotel started out with a shady past – built by convicts and originally operating as an illegal grog shop. Licensed since 1831 and operating as a licensed pub ever since, Brunswick Hotel Hobart claims the second oldest continually licensed pub in Australia position.

TO FIND OUT MORE:

Visit the pub’s website Brunswick Hotel Hobart > History

Almost 200 years of pulling beers: Fortune of War, The Rocks, NSW

The Rocks' Fortune of War is one of the oldest Australian pubs still pulling ales.

Image: www.fortuneofwar.com.au

ESTABLISHED: c.1828

CURRENT LICENSEE: Steven Speed

CURRENT ADDRESS: 137 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

The Rocks in Sydney boasts more than 100 heritage sites and buildings. The Fortune of War was originally built in 1828 by former stocking thief and convict Samuel Terry. The pub has a long history of being a gathering place after each Anzac Day march.

TO DISCOVER MORE:

Visit the pub’s website Fortune of War > History

References

A brief history of the licensing laws in NSW

NSW Government Records > Colonial Secretarys Papers

(Images: Generic bar image by Thomas-Martinsen/unsplash.com &

The Bush Hotel New Norfolk Tas 1928 | John Henry Harvey 1855-1938, photographer/slv.vic.gov.au)

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