History: Looking Back

Looking Back history feature: The North Gong Pub

Looking Back


Royal Victoria Hotel. Inset:  Theodore Bode Royal Victoria Hotel. Inset: Theodore Bode

ALTHOUGH the North Wollongong Hotel has changed considerably in appearance since German immigrant, Theodore Bode opened his little wayside inn on the site in 1878, its principal purpose of providing hospitality remains unchanged. Now a favourite haunt of university students, the North Gong – as it’s affectionately known – originally opened as the Royal Victoria Hotel and was a popular watering hole for local farmers, travelers and tourists visiting the unspoiled scenic splendour of the Illawarra.

The pub’s history revolves chiefly around Australia’s favourite pastimes of gambling and sport. Even the pub’s founding was based on a gamble when Theodore Bode took a punt and traveled to the Victorian goldfields to seek his fortune.

Born in Hanover, Germany in 1838, Carl Theodore Bode arrived in Melbourne in 1854 during the height of gold fever, and soon found his way to Ballarat where…

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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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