History: Looking Back

Looking Back: The Balgownie Pub

By MICK ROBERTS.

Balgownie Hotel publican Joel Jarvis raises a glass to 100 years trading in 2004.

THREATENED with demolition in 1994 and described by the hopeful developer at the time as worthless of preservation, the ‘Fountain on the Mountain’ – the Balgownie Hotel – celebrated a centenary of trade on Monday December 20 2004.

Balgownie Hotel was designed by architect Alex Elphinstone and built for Francis Caldwell early last century providing a social and sporting home to many of the village’s coal miners.

Balgownie was typical of mining settlements of the time. The miners loved their beer and quickly made the pub their base.

Pubs were usually one of the first places of business in mining villages, but Balgownie’s hotel was obstructed by the establishment of a workmen’s club.

The Balgownie Workmen’s Club satisfied the thirst and social needs of the miners during the 1890s until 32 year old Edward Percy Clout was granted the first license of the newly completed Balgownie Hotel on Monday December 19 1904.

The pub was opened the following day. Born in Camden, Perce Clout had at least two brothers in the hotel trade. He knew the game and knew tradition required him to provide free beer on opening day. That opening day was clearly remembered a half century after by residents.

Read the full story at the Looking Back website.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local 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 the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW 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 authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated 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 Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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