Bottled mouse

Anyone fancy a game?

Anyone fancy a game?

When it first obtained a license in 1886, the All Nations Hotel (now Games Sports Bar) was already operating as a boarding house. The name ‘All Nations’ suggests literally that. Everyone was welcome, whether Irish, English, Italian, or whatever. It probably did not include Aboriginal people, however.

In 1905 a skittle alley (with other extensions) were added to the design of an architect we have already come across, William Woolf. When Woolf went bankrupt in 1898, he owed £470, borrowed at an exorbitant rate. He revealed to the court he had fled Melbourne and Sydney with other un-remitted borrowings. Great architect as he was, he was definitely a man who lived well beyond his means.

The Games Sports Bar does not seem to be able to keep a name for two weeks running. Originally the All Nations (1886-91), it became the Cosmopolitan Hotel (1891-1905), when new landlord, M. R. Davies, arrived from Townsville, where he had run a pub of that name. Then it transformed into Union Hotel (1905-39), Red Lion Hotel (1939-90), Aberdeen Hotel (1990-2015), and under a new name right now. But for how long is anyone’s guess.

In 1921, an odd case about the Union Hotel came before the courts. John Simopolis bought a bottle of Swan beer from the pub, and started drinking it. Suddenly he noticed a dead mouse in the bottle. Naturally he felt a little queasy at this point and, although there were no long term medical effects, he sought £25 compensation from the pub and the brewer.

A number of brewery employees testified it would be impossible for a mouse to get into a bottle during the manufacturing process. The defence lawyer claimed it was a frame-up. The judge was not convinced and awarded £10 10s damages to Simopolis.

Ladies and gentlemen, raise your glass

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.

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