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The Pub with No Beer

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by Anne Dignam (subscribe)
I am a amateur freelance writer from Sydney. My passion is Aboriginal history, Australia and its unusual places. My aim is to share my knowledge to better your experience. Thank you
Published January 25th 2015
How does a pub run out of beer?
The Pub with No Beer at Taylors Arm

A leisurely country drive to Taylors Arm, heading from Macksville (near Nambucca) following the Kempsey River along, twining in and out of mountain range for about 25kms. Destination - the one and only famous pub; The Pub with No Beer. The road alongside the river is currently being upgraded, delays may occur.

Following Kempsey River to the Pub with No Beer

Visiting such a historical pub like Taylors Arm's "The Pub with no Beer" knowing the history, makes this more iconic.

Welcome to The Pub with No Beer at Taylors Arm

In 1943 during WW2 days, a farmer, Dan Sheahan, in Qld set out on his horse to quench his thirst and ended up writing a poem that would make him famous; "A Pub without Beer". At the Day Dawn Hotel in Ingham, American soldiers had no idea they would be part of such a famous tale, still talked about today.

Dan Sheahan from Long Pocket Qld courtesy of

Dan Sheahan jumped on his horse and rode 20 miles from Long Pocket, being extremely thirsty and in need of a good old brewsky, only to find out the American soldiers had drunk the bar dry at the Day Dawn Hotel. Having to settle for a mere glass of wine with true disappointment, Dan, being known as the "bush balladeer", put pen to paper and wrote a poem about "A Pub with No Beer". This poem was later published in a Qld paper in 1944.

So what does all this have to do with a pub in NSW you ask? This poem has caused conjecture over the boarder between NSW and QLD. The dispute is concerned the location of the actual 'Pub with No Beer' and who should get the glory of the song. Qld's Day Dawn was torn down and is now Lee's Hotel with a plaque signifying where Day Dawn once stood and its reference to Dan's poem "A Pub with No Beer". So theoretically that makes Taylors Arm the "Pub with No Beer"; the official one standing and as a New South Welshman I totally agree with this theory.

Gordon Parsons originally from Sydney, was then a local resident of Taylors Arm. A sheep cutter turned country singer, known to the locals as the Yodelling Bushman, was at his local pub. A patron happened to suggest he may base a song on the poem.

Proceeding to hand him a scrap piece of paper which coincidentally had on the poem "A Pub without Beer" by Dan Sheahan. So Parsons started basing out some of his ideas on the local pub and its patrons, adapting the song to "A Pub with No Beer" solely basing it on Taylors Arm patrons and its floods. He was totally unaware this poem was about to change his life and that of Taylors Arm.

Parsons continued to tour and sang the soon to be legendary song and in 1954 at the 50th birthday of George Thomas of Creek Ridge Road in Glossodia, Parsons' version included what was called 'blue humour'.

Slim Dusty a local from Kempsey puts The Pub with No Beer on the map

Slim and Parsons were mates and often toured together. While touring Slim Dusty heard the song Parsons had written. Knowing Slim was one song short for his recording, he asked Parsons if he could use the song. Slim deleted the blue humour and the single was first recorded on the B-side of his 78 rpm (record) release.

"A Pub with No Beer" was the biggest selling Australian record. The first Australian single to go Gold and also awarded the 78rpm Gold Disc. Slim then proceeded to write a sequel in 1959 titled "The Answer to A Pub With No Beer" which explained the floods of the Kempsey banks and the efforts of township to find a solution of guaranteeing the beer trucks access to their pub. The other plaguing issue was that the pub was now going broke.

Slim followed up with "The Sequel To A Pub With No Beer" informing the towns smart innovations of a guaranteed delivery by plane if required. When Slim took the pub's location to chart topping status, the name was changed from Cosmopolitan to "The Pub with No Beer". A mere farmer, American troops all triggering the events that lead back to that night in 1943. Now a famous song, in realistic terms, The Pub with No Beer at Taylors Arm ,after suffering from the floods with loss of business and its remote location, was starting to come back to life due to the publicity of Slim's song.

The first verse of Gordan Parsons song made famous by Slim Dusty

So is this considered the original Pub with No Beer or is Day Dawn the original, considering the poem came from there. Slim acknowledges in his book that its about the Day Dawn in Qld. The one thing in Taylors Arm Pub's favour is the only live recording of the song was done there at Cosmopolitan. Other musicians who have recorded the song are Slim Dusty 1957, Ted Egan 1976, The Clancy Brothers 1988 and Midnight Oil in 1988 all did recordings of Taylors Arm "The Pub with No Beer".

The Murray's bought the Pub and also after being in America and started brewing their own beer. Born Murray's Craft Beer, with an inhouse miniature brewery. The Murrays were brewing their own beer available for thirsty residents solving the isolation issue. Today Murray Craft beer is relocated near Anna Bay and still available at the bar.

The pub is currently owned by the Welsh family. The Welsh family donated the Talarm Church build in 1928 relocated to behind the pub in the carpark area in 2001.

Talarm Church now a museum behind the carpark area

Jim (Joffre Milton) Welsh, a descendant of David and Eliza Welsh, came to Talarm Valley in 1868 during the pioneer days. The community hall across the road from the pub was built by Turnbull Brothers in 1914. The Presbyterian Church was near the home of Emily, who was caring for her mother Eliza, the post mistress of lower Taylors Arm now called Talarm. The church was built prior to 1900 and was wrecked by gale force winds. Services were held in the Hall until the new church was built in 1928.
Talarm Church history

The church has now been converted to a museum in "The Pub with No Beer", honouring the history of Taylors Arm or Talarm as the locals referred.
Beer cans displayed inside Talarm Church now muesum

The museum is adorned with beer cans from all eras.
My son trying to figure out the bottle machines

Collectables from the last century of the brewery era are on display throughout the entire surrounds of the pub.

Countrystyle tables

Beautiful wooden tables and chairs.

Pergola seating near the museum

Outside seating and large open space seating is suitable for families and ideal for the children to run around.

Large outside garden area for families

My 10 year old was off in the museum looking at relics and history, he was rather surprised by the history of the beer industry in the early years.

More relics found

The large indoor bistro is more than suitable for groups to visit. Nothing better than their fine bistro filling up hungry tummies and at a reasonable cost. Relax and unwind while enjoying a beer or a regional wine at such an iconic part of Australian history.

A small camping site is located across the grounds.

Camping area across the road next to the Talarm Hall

Accommodation also available on enquiry. I truly loved this pub and its well worth the drive.
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Why? Visit the famous 'Pub with No Beer'
Phone: (02) 6564 2100
Where: Taylors Arm Road, New South Wales 2447 ‎
Cost: Normal pub prices
Your Comment
Your reasoning that makes Taylors Arms the pub with no valid is ludicrous. The location always was and will be Ingham Queensland. Amatuer freelance journslism at its best. It happened in Ingham it was penned in Ingham. You cant alter history....
by mosty (score: 0|2) 1772 days ago
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