Monday, August 24, 2009
When Australian chef and brewer, Scott Watkins-Sully decided to embark on a journey around Australia, travelling from pub to pub, everyone he knew threatened to quit their jobs and join him. With “a fondness for pubs, beer, food, wine and 1980s tabletop video game machines,” Watkins-Sully had hit upon the dream job. He shut down his own brewing operation and hit the road with his wife and two young kids. Over “25,000 kilometres, 300 counter meals and 200 tantrums” later, he could be forgiven for having imbibed more than his share of cold beers. He should also be applauded for producing “The Australian Crawl”, a comprehensive guide to Australia’s regional pubs. It’s not the definitive guide – it doesn’t include the big cities for a start – but it is ample evidence that the Aussies still love nothing better than the ritual of drinking beer and spinning yarns down at the pub.
The grand old Aussie pub in fact, is about as iconic as it gets. The embellished corner establishments (and they’re almost always on corners), have been written into Australian culture and whether you’re roaming the sun-baked outback, cruising through small-town Australia, or roaming city suburbs, you’ll find a pub with a great story. They’re a cornerstone of the Australian way of life and in many small outback towns, the local pub is often the only substantial building – a testament perhaps, to the early days when it may have been the first structure built in newly-colonised areas. Back then, then pub was often more than a rowdy, convivial watering hole. It may also have served as the town post office, restaurant, hostel and general store. I love Australian pub architecture and it goes without saying that I’ve spent a lot of time taking photographs of pubs wherever and whenever I’ve been in Australia. These are just the tip of the iceberg!