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The Lost Pubs of Liverpool

Home > Sydney > Architecture | Free | Pubs
by glenop (subscribe)
So much to little time to see it all.
Published August 11th 2013
The Inns and Outs of Liverpool's Demolished Hotels
The Commercial Hotel opposite Liverpool Railway Station is typical of Liverpool's lost pubs surviving more or less in its original 1898 condition.

Why would anyone demolish a perfectly good pub? It's un-Australian!

Alas, before the words 'heritage' and 'conservation' became common vernacular, Liverpool, like many towns and cities across Australia didn't think twice when it came to progress. Almost all of Liverpool's earliest commercial buildings and some impressive Victorian Hotels were demolished only to be replaced by something fairly drab and unattractive.

A Quick Pub History

Not long after Governor Lachlan Macquarie founded Liverpool in 1810, pubs such as the 'The Elephant and Castle' and 'The Duke of Wellington' and 'The Hope Inn' were serving thirsty and weary travellers along Bigge Street.

The completion of the road from Sydney to Liverpool in 1814 increased the numbers of travellers who were seeking a place to sleep, eat and drink.

In 1843, there were no less than 14 hotel licences issued in Liverpool with names such as The Wheelwright Arms, The King George, Coach and Horses, The Plough Inn and the very intriguingly named 'Case is Altered'.

By the 1880's, Liverpool was one of those towns with a pub on every corner and a few more to boot. Boom times however often turn to bust and by the 1930's, many of these fine hotels had been demolished or totally remodelled.

Today, only the Commercial Hotel opposite Liverpool Railway Station survives in more or less its original 1898 condition. It is typical of many of the 'lost pubs' of Liverpool with its ornate cast iron verandas and decorative mouldings.

With the help of the photo collection of the Liverpool and District Historical Society (LDHS) and the NSW State Library, I have cobbled together before and after photos of some of these lost pubs and what now stands in their place.

What do think? Did the old pub look better than what stands there now?

The Hope Inn, Elephant and Castle and the Duke of Wellington.

Liverpool's three old inns. Courtesy NSW State Library

Today's view looking down Bigge Street

These three inns were among the first commercial buildings in Liverpool. They lined the southern half of Bigge Street opposite where Bigge Park is today. They would have been the first buildings travellers would have been greeted with when they rode into town.

This extraordinary etching by Edward Mason dates back to around 1822. By the 1860s, the town centre had shifted to Macquarie Street and none of these inns were trading.

The Cottage of Content

Cottage of Content C1860. Photo courtesy LDHS

Now part of Westfields

The Cottage of Content was one of the Liverpool's earliest pubs dating back to around 1812. This remarkable scratchy photograph was taken c1860. The inn seems to have served multiple purposes. It acted as a venue for councillor meetings and inquests were conducted here into various deaths that occurred in and around Liverpool. The inn was demolished around 1875.

The Ship Inn /Tattersall's Hotel

The old Tattersalls Hotel? Photo courtesy LDHS

This site has now been incorperated into Macquarie Mall

The back of this photo above has two names written on it; 'Ship Inn' and the 'Tattersall's Hotel'. In all likelihood, The Tattersall's Hotel was built on the site of the old Ship Inn, one of Liverpool's earliest pubs. Around 1886, the Tattersall's became 'Breadalbane', the house of local business man and mayor Martin Christiansen and as you can see in the photograph, sold and later demolished.

Clokes Family Hotel

Clokes Family Hotel c1884 Photo courtesy LDHS

The Macquarie Hotel now stands in the same place

This hotel was a prominent landmark in the main street of Liverpool. It was located more or less in the same location of the current Macquarie Hotel. The Cloke's were a prominent Liverpool family with Alfred Cloke serving as Mayor of Liverpool in 1895. The pub advertised that it had accommodation, billiards and provided "sporting intelligence from reliable sources" whatever that means!

Golden Fleece Hotel

The original Golden Fleece Hotel Photo courtesy LDHS

Its 1930's replacement on Scott Street

The original Golden Fleece hotel on Scott Street was a typically grand Victorian era colonial Pub. It was the centre for all sorts of sporting groups but extremely popular with Liverpool cyclists. Someone, for some reason, thought it was is a good idea to demolish it and build the current drab looking hotel during the mid 1930's.

Warwick Farm Racecourse Hotel

Warwick Farm Racecourse Hotel c1890s. Photo courtesy LDHS

It's a fairly drab looking corner today

Originally called the Foresters Arms, the Warwick Farm Racecourse Hotel was located on the north/west corner of Moore and George streets. Its name change coincided to take advantage of the establishment of the Warwick Farm racecourse around 1895. It was a true traveller pub with a large stables building attached.

The Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel. Photo courtesy LDHS.

The Royal Hotel was another grand pub with a prominent position on the corner of Macquarie and Moore streets in the centre of Liverpool. It was a popular venue staging everything from wood chopping events to quoits contests and dances. The hotel also offered a place to park your horses and coaches overnight. After closing it served as Liverpool's School of Arts for a time before being converted to shops and then demolished.

The Imperial Hotel

The Imperial Hotel. Photo courtesy LDHS

The site was demolished in 1962

The Imperial, also known as the Centennial, dates back to around 1899. Located just out of the town centre on the corner of Terminus and High Streets (Now southern Macquarie Street), it appears to have been a short lived but popular hotel. After it stopped serving drinks, it operated as the Inveraray Guest House before being demolished in 1962 to allow for the widening of Macquarie and Terminus Streets.

Collingwood Hotel

'Gillicks' Collingwood Hotel c1920s Photo courtesy LDHS

Today's Collingwood Hotel

Travelling further south towards Campbelltown is the Collingwood Hotel. It's not a lost hotel, but a transformed one. The hotel site dates back to the 1880's. In 1890, a large handsome Victorian terrace was completed. At this time the hotel staged its own pony races on its own track which often attracted crowds of several hundred people.

In the mid 1930's the Collingwood underwent a complete metamorphosis into the mock Tudor mansion you see today. The Collingwood is still going strong after an internal makeover in the late 1990's.

The Crossroads Hotel

The original 19th century Crossroads Photo courtesy LDHS.

Crossroads Hotel 1950's style Photo courtesy LDHS.

The latest version of the Crossroads Hotel

There has been at least three pubs on this location since the 1880's. Situated where the Hume Highway, Campbelltown and Glenfield roads cross, its one of those landmark buildings that millions of Sydneysiders would have passed by heading south.

And last drinks to these hotels which haven't left a trace:
The Sir John Young, Coach and Horses, Liverpool Arms, Farmers Friend, Horse and Jockey, Cricketers Arms, Terminus Inn, Railway Inn, King George, Queen Victoria and the Prince Albert.
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Where: Liverpool, New South Wales
Your Comment
You weren't kidding; there are a lot of pubs in Liverpool. I like that you gave a history of each one. Good article.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 3090 days ago
Well done! Love the old & new photos and the potted history!
by thewa (score: 1|12) 3090 days ago
Very impressive work here. I think we have lost some very beautiful buildings and replaced them with a lot of ugly stuff that can't be deemed architecture. Always fascinating to see the changes made over time.
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 3090 days ago
Brilliant & well documented!
by chris (score: 0|4) 3089 days ago
You must have done an epic amount of research for this Glen! Love the before and after photos.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11309) 3073 days ago
Good history on the pubs I've had a drink in all of these except two. Good old days.
by Bmuth (score: 0|2) 1817 days ago
Great history. Have you had a beer in every one still standing?
by grant (score: 0|0) 2015 days ago
found this article very interesting thank you
by icdin (score: 0|2) 2549 days ago
Always great to see a well-researched and in-depth article.
by Cayrole (score: 1|54) 3080 days ago
Great article - thanks
by Wendy (score: 0|4) 3086 days ago
You need to update the Crossroads Hotel Picture, its changed again.
by mick (score: 0|2) 1244 days ago
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