Villages without a pub

Headlands Hotel Austinmer.

THE closure of Scarborough Hotel has left the villages of northern Illawarra high and dry with no pubs.

Not since before the first pub opened at Clifton in 1879 has the villages between Thirroul and Helensburgh been without a pub. Now just two clubs, Scarborough Wombarra Bowling and Coledale RSL service the needs of tipplers in the area.

The licensee of the Scarborough Hotel called last drinks just under two weeks ago, and the 125-year-old building has since been completely stripped of chairs, tables, glasses and kegs after the business ran into financial difficulties.

The closure has surprised some in the northern suburbs because the pub was outwardly thriving.

The building is owned by WIN Corporation, which has declined to comment on the closure.

The pub is officially licensed to Phillip Birchall, who is presently involved in operating the Bulli Beach Cafe.

It is the third coastal pub in the northern suburbs to close in the last 10 years. The Imperial Hotel at Clifton, also owned by WIN TV, closed in 2003, while Austinmer’s iconic Headlands Hotel was placed in receivership in June, closing in 2011.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.


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