18 February 2009

Old Canberran’s Old Photos - Part 5 - The old Hotel Civic

| johnboy
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This is the fifth part of a series of photographs taken by RiotACT reader Old Canberran on his Kodak Box Brownie in 1948.

This one came in with the following note:

    Attached is a pic of the old Hotel Civic which took up the block bounded by Northbourne Ave, Mort Street and Alinga Street. The public bar faced Alinga street and it always intrigued me as a young 11 year old why there were so many blokes spilling out the doors around 5 to 6 pm in the afternoons. The noise from the place was amazing. Years later I found out about 6 o’clock closing.

    It was a grand old building and for years before it was demolished in 1984, it used to have the best smogasboard lunch in Civic in the 60’s and 70’s. In 1965 a group of women chained themselves to the public bar in protest that women were not allowed in that bar but had to drink in the saloon bar as per the law in those days.

UPDATED: In a bonus round, “A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster” has dug up his own photos from 1985 (OC was out by a year on the demolition it seems), and sent them in with this note:

    I have found these pics of the pub taken by myself in January 1985 after the decision to demolish the pub was made. I took the pics because the pub was about to be demolished. The first pic was taken from the median strip in Northbourne Ave, the second was taken from the corner of East Row and Alinga St. Presumably the demolition took place a month or so after these pics were taken.

Wow, back to the halcyon days when the bus interchange actually had shelter!

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>I got that from Wikipedia which said it was late 1984 early 1085.

Yep that’d be right!

“Wherefore art thou, myne ACTION bus? And lo! I hath forsaken my bodkin for a jerkin.”

Holden Caulfield5:18 pm 18 Feb 09

New Yeah said :

For some reason the old Civic Hotel makes me think of the Kingo. It is a shame that it is gone – Canberra is light on for licensed venues with character and history…

I miss the Private Bin too.

Die Lefty Scum9:01 pm 17 Feb 09

Makes me lament the lack of soulful bars in this city. Now we get our change slid to us on a a little white saucer (***audible sigh***).

Who cares, Gingermick? I sure as hell drank enough there on one of the best nights of my life! I’m glad those sisters chained their hairy legs to the blessed pub!!

: )

Old Canberran, I will say only this …. If your girlfriend tells you she’s been invited to meet somebody’s older brother at the pub after school, and if she asks you whether she should go, do not tell her that you “don’t care” – especially if you really do.

It is such a pity a decent architect wasn’t found who could incorporate the facia into a new building.

Great pics. Many thanks. Brought back memories of waiting for the 430 from City to Belconnen when I was at school

I’ve still got some of those orange and blue paper bus tickets somewhere.

At least they don’t have vinyl seats anymore.

Oh look, we still have those same buses! 😛

For some reason the old Civic Hotel makes me think of the Kingo. It is a shame that it is gone – Canberra is light on for licensed venues with character and history, at least from the early days.

Nice pics, too.

kean van choc6:07 pm 17 Feb 09

Love these old photos – thanks for sharing, OC.

old canberran5:40 pm 17 Feb 09

Great pics in 1985. The building still looks up to scratch and better than some of those around it. Apologies for the 1984 demo date but I got that from Wikipedia which said it was late 1984 early 1085.


Did they knock this over to build Pandoras?

As a matter of interest, once the hairy-legged sisters won the right to drink in the Public Bar – they never did.

Yes….it seems we tore down all the buildings with character & then heritage listed the ugly, sterile office buildings. Wrong way around, in my opinion.

GardeningGirl2:04 pm 17 Feb 09

Great photo. Bit of a shame that building is gone, seems to me the city centre could use a bit of character.

Holden Caulfield1:52 pm 17 Feb 09

old canberran said :

…There wasn’t much in the way of houses North of Haig Park.

That’s right. Our house in O’Connor was built in 1958. The house behind us built before ours and was originally owned by the grandfather of the current owner. He remembers his grandfather showing him photos of the time and if you looked out the front door of the house (before ours was built) you could see Civic.

I guess there must have been a few residences in Turner/O’Connor around in the early 50s though.

Last year there was a few signs up at Lyneham shops talking about the 50th anniversary of the suburb, but I can’t recall anything ever happening to celebrate the milestone. I wonder if we just happened to miss it???

oc, from what I recall it was opposite the Civic site and one of the few places where receptions could be held at the time. Had a bit of a reputation as a blood bath from time to time though. No different to the Civic then I suppose from my experiences. Seen some things go on in the public bar. Remember when ladies could only drink in the lounge/saloon bar and could only drink fives and their toilet was outside and around the back. Does anyone remember when closing time was a signal to move to the Cock and Bull?

old canberran1:30 pm 17 Feb 09

Granny said :

One of the best nights of my live began at the old Civic pub …. *sigh*

; )

And I’ll bet you aren’t going to tell us either, are you Granny?

Wishuwell, You may be right but I doubt it as the fav drinking hole before the Civic was built was Walsh’s Hotel in Queanbeyan. You may be thinking of the Canberra Club which may have been around in those days. It used to be upstairs in the Melbourne building fro memory but I have no idea when it started.

Hi oc, great series. Am I right in thinking there was a drinking hole on or near cnr. of Northbourne & Alinga opposite the Civic site that predated the Civic Hotel. Civic Cafe perhaps?

One of the best nights of my live began at the old Civic pub …. *sigh*

By the way, well done those women!! Those were the days!

; )

old canberran11:55 am 17 Feb 09

You got it p1. East Row only runs the length of the Sydney building from London Circuit to Alinga Street (City Walk). The YWCA hostel was the first building in Mort Street at No 2 as per p1’s plan. 2CA was next at No 4 the the Civic Theater No6. and the pub was across the road (Mort St) from those 3 buildings.
I seem to remember the building that replaced the pub housed a duty free shop among other things. The hotel was certainly a grand old building which hosted many wedding receptions and other functions. There were only 2 public watering holes on the North side in those days, the Civic and the Ainslie Hotel.
When I took that photo, Northbourne Avenue was only a dual road from Alinga Street to either Rudd or Boldrewood. From there to Haig Park it was a single 2 lane road and from Haig Park onwards it was a dirt road. There wasn’t much in the way of houses North of Haig Park.

Holden Caulfield11:42 am 17 Feb 09

Thanks again to oc.

p1: Ahh yes, I see – that was the block I was thinking of too, but I thought East Row went the length of the current bus interchange. (The Melbourne and Sydney buildings were some of the first built in Civic – there’s pictures of them basically in the middle of a paddock).

Great building. Shame it no longer exists.

Like ramblingted, I too used to stagger over from the ANU on occassion to see the wildlife.

the block bounded by Northbourne Ave, Mort Street and Alinga Street.

My understanding what that it was the block highlighted. The block bounded by Northbourne, Alinga and East Row is the Melbourne Building (or Sydney? I can never remember which is which), which was there well before 1984 when OC says the hotel was demolished.

Ah the memories…it was a favourite drinking hole in the mid 70’s, an easy stagger from the ANU, with a colourful clientele. I remember a visit one night when things got a bit feisty, and pool balls were whizzing around, unfortunately one collecting one of the barmaids in the midriff…on another occasion I recall wiping my hands on the pulldown cloth handtowel contraptions they had, only to find someone had managed to be sick on the piece I’d just used..

So at some point, the last part of Mort St was renamed to East Row?

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