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Published February 16th 2013
Good food, fine wine, great history
Having a Mother who has a Masters degree in History, I've always been interested in the history of the world. When we were young, our bedtime stories were tales and yarns of different countries and cultures. She has a fondness for Australia, hence the decision years ago to adopt this beloved country and call it our home. I remembered the time she spoke of the history of the Hero of Waterloo Hotel. So with my sister in tow, we decided to visit the historic building and see it for ourselves.
The Hero of Waterloo is located at 81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point, Sydney. Its history begun in 1843, when the Hotel was established by George Paton, who also built the Garrison Church in 1840. George was a stonemason, who with the convicts built The Hero of Waterloo and had since provided over 160 years of good service.
There are numerous histories surrounding this place. Under the cellar is a tunnel that runs from the hotel to the Harbour. It was allegedly used for smuggling rum and involuntary recruitment of sailors. It tells of young drunken men dropped through a trap door, into the cellar, dragged through the tunnel. These men would awaken the following day, in the middle of the ocean, shanghaied aboard a clipper.
The maze of cellars under the Hotel bear a silent witness to this notorious past. This building is a historic Australian landmark and is classified by the Heritage Council and The National Trust.
The tunnel is now closed for public viewing but the staffs at the Hotel are quite happy to share some yarns among the drinkers. It had been said that the ghost of Anne Kirkman had been seen around socialising with the patrons. She was supposedly pushed down the stairs by her publican husband in the 1800's.
The likes of Duckmaloi Allstars, Green Jam, Mental Elf, Old Time Band will entertain you with their live music. From the bar menu to set menu, the restaurant provides fine dining with its generous servings and affordable cost. The restaurant is open for lunch, from 11 am to 3 pm and dinner is from 5pm to 10pm 7 days a week. The function rooms are available for booking and can accommodate 10 to 80 guests.
Wandering inside this hotel and touching the sandstone, knowing that each block bears the mark of the convicts that built it, indeed gave me the feeling that I was transported back to the 1800. There is an eerie feeling that someone is watching me. Although it didn't entirely stop me from having a few drinks sitting opposite the fireplace and generally having a good time. But it rather made me aware not to get too inebriated as I might end up in the middle of the ocean, with my feet shackled and become a cook to the hungry sailors. But then again, being single and surrounded by these men might not be too bad at all!
So if the history somewhat invites you, savour the sumptuous food, awash by your favourite drink in the company of Anne Kirkman, The Hero of Waterloo is a must to visit by everyone, locals and international visitors alike.
How to get there The Hero of Waterloo is located in the Heart of the Rocks, in Sydney.