What a beard!
What a beard!

How many people can claim to have saved a Western Australian icon? And what would WA be without Swan Draught? Ladies and gentlemen, we present Mr Thomas Wall Hardwick.

In 1887 a company bought both the Swan Brewery and the Lion Brewery, and together they (unimaginatively) called themselves the Swan Brewery Company. The outcome was a disaster. For the next two years the business bled money and was on the point of bankruptcy.

Enter Thomas, who spent decades in England running breweries before being enticed to take over the operations at Castlemaine in Victoria. Castlemaine? As if that’s even a beer.

After a couple of other jobs, Thomas was invited to Perth to save the Swan Brewery, which was distinctly on its last legs. He was horrified by the industry he found here, but promised he could work out a more efficient management system which might make it pay.

The directors offered him a very substantial salary if his vision could come true. And it did. His new beers were first sampled in 1891, and they were so popular that the turnover of the company went through the roof.

And now the grand house Thomas built in West Perth is due to face the wrecking ball, so some luxury apartments can be built in its place.

Horrible modern front, but could probably be restored
Horrible modern front, but could probably be restored

There is a function room at the redeveloped Old Brewery named after Thomas, but that is about all the commemoration he gets. While we at Dodgy Perth reserve judgement on the price of progress, it does seem a shame that his house will be lost without raising at least one tinnie of Swan Draft at 37 Mount Street before it is finally lost forever.

Who wants to join us?