By MICK ROBERTS ©
Tom Richards (right) of Thirroul playing billiards in the Thirroul saloon about 1925.
RELIGIOUSLY every Saturday a steady stream of men crossed backwards and forwards from the bar of the Bulli Family Hotel to the billiard saloon opposite. They were not playing billiards, or even having a haircut or buying tobacco, the men were making their way to a tin shed at the back of the saloon where the resident SP bookie was waiting to take their bets on the horse races.
The region’s blue collar workers devotedly visited their local billiard saloons for a punt on the races from the 1920s through to their demise in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Although billiard saloons or halls were a social institution and meeting place within northern Illawarra communities, they were often looked down on by the law and by those who considered themselves “respectable”.
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