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Historic Sydenham pub gutted by fire
On Monday we heard that the General Gordon Hotel in Sydenham had been gutted by a ferocious fire, its roof collapsing under the strain. The pub was built 86 years ago and was undergoing renovations when it was engulfed by flames and a piece of Sydney's pub history was destroyed. hearing at Newtown Police Court in which it was alleged the sisters had served drinks to two men after hours (it was illegal to operate a public hotel after 6pm at the time). In the end, the charges against were dropped as the men were 'walking out' with the sisters. During the trial, one of the police witnesses admitted that Mrs Tansey, described as 'rotund and radiating good will', actually 'conducted the hotel extraordinarily well'. In 1932, Mrs Tansey made an application to transfer the license to a new venue on the corner of Swain and Burrows Street, the construction of which was due to begin shortly. The new hotel building was designed by the architect, Sidney Warden, who was a prolific designer of hotels for the major beer brewers, Tooth and Company (the owners of the General Gordon). Warden worked on 392 hotels, designing new ones or making alterations to existing ones, and he is responsible for the designs of many of Sydney's most beloved pubs including the Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale and the Lansdowne on City Road at Broadway. The new General Gordon Hotel opened on 13 December 1932, with free beer given out between 5.15 and 6pm to celebrate. In February 1948, 200 of the General Gordon's patrons staged a protest in the pub when it apparently ran out of beer on a Saturday afternoon. The pub was black banned and picketed for 15 weeks, with the protesters demanding longer opening hours on Saturday afternoons, the reopening of the Ladies Lounge (closed for the previous 10 years), and that bottled beer should only be sold to locals. The black ban was part of a wider protest across Sydney against the monopoly of big brewers like Tooth's on the liquor trade. Mrs Tansey eventually acceded to their demands and the General Gordon went back to serving the Sydenham community. In the end, Kathleen Tansey was the licensee of the General Gordon Hotel until about 1955, running the pub for more than 20 years. Further reading: Road trip: A Few Marrickville Pubs, Time Gents: Australian Pub Project https://timegents.com/2017/10/04/road-trip-a-few-marrickville-pubs/ Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden 2018, Powerhouse Museum, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, https://ma.as/360699 General Gordon Hotel collection, Tooth & Company Limited yellow cards. The Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/96113 General Gordon Hotel in Sydney catches fire, roof collapses, ABC News, 30 July 2018, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-30/general-gordon-hotel-sydenham-catches-fire/10051908 Nicole Cama is a professional historian, writer and curator. She appears on 2SER on behalf of the Dictionary of Sydney in a voluntary capacity. Thanks Nicole! Listen to the podcast with Nicole & Tess here, and tune in to 2SER Breakfast with Tess Connery on 107.3 every Wednesday morning at 8:15 to hear more from the Dictionary of Sydney. The Dictionary of Sydney has no ongoing operational funding and needs your help. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Dictionary of Sydney today!
CategoriesBlog 2ser fires General Gordon hotels Nicole Cama pubs Sydenham sydney history Tess Connery