History: Looking Back

Looking Back history feature: The Bullocky and politics in the pub

Looking Back

By MICK ROBERTS ©

A bullocky and his team passing the Clifton Inn early last century A bullocky and his team passing the Clifton Inn early last century

BREAKING the established rule of never discussing politics and religion at the bar can have dire consequences.  Some people learn the hard way, like Bulli bullocky James Robinson.

Robinson was a new arrival to the parochial little coal-mining village of Bulli and was causing quite a stir with his outspoken political views. While driving his bullocks through Old Bulli Village to his home on the mountain pass one autumn day in 1872 he was invited to join a couple of blokes for a drink at the Railway Hotel.

Better known to locals at the time as the Miners’ Arms, the Railway Hotel, along with Old Bulli’s three other pubs, have long disappeared. The pub closed in 1913 and was demolished in the 1940s. It sat on the eastern side of the Prince’s Highway, opposite…

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney 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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