History: Looking Back

Looking Back history feature: The Kennedy Brothers and their attempt at ‘respectability’

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Looking Back

Market Square Wollongong, showing the Governor Bourke Hotel (far left, circled), the two storey Queens Hotel, and, far right, The Wollongong Hotel, in the early 1850s Market Square Wollongong, showing the Governor Bourke Hotel (far left, circled),
the two storey Queens Hotel, and, far right, The Wollongong Hotel, in the early 1850s

By MICK ROBERTS ©

THE Kennedy brothers’ attempts at respectability in Australia seemed to have started off on the right foot.

The three Irishmen, Hugh, John and Richard built a portfolio of properties, and established a profitable cattle trading business, before their empire came crashing to the ground as a result of criminal activity, alcoholism and financial ruin.

While Hugh established a Wollongong pub, favoured by the gentry and well-to-do, and John became a successful cattle dealer, only one of the brothers – Richard – kept a clean nose, never running foul of the law.

John and Hugh were foundation members of the Wollongong Turf Club, selling horses and cattle by commission. The pair was even able to boast of owning a few ‘place-getters’ during the…

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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 Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is 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 managed several community newspapers. He has been 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), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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