• January 30, 2020

Sir William Wallace raises $5K for fire relief

We recently touched on the sad news that the much-loved Sir William Wallace pub is shutting its doors and encouraged locals to get along to last Saturday’s memorabilia auction in aid of bush fire relief.

The pub’s departing owner, Gary Cowan, pulled off a wonderfully successful event with plenty of community spirit. In fact, all items were sold, with nostalgic patrons eager to pick up a piece of local pub history.

Gary enthuses, “It was a truly fantastic day, with a mix of familiar locals, new faces and the curious. There was such great energy and excitement in the air, tinged also with a bit of sadness. I’d say every local, if not every person, ended up with something from the Wallace. The dog bowl went for $65 and a neon Boddingtons beer sign went for $750.”

“People brought their own drinks, making it feel like the pub was still trading. It was one pretty special last hurrah. Ex-publican of the Wallace and current publican of The Bridge Hotel, Richard Keogh, even paid $150 to ring the bell for the last time. What a moment! All in all we raised about $5000 for the AFS and I’m sure people will be talking about the event for a long time.”

Named after the 13th Century Scottish knight, the pub was established in 1879. It was one of a number of buildings which formed part of the ship building and industrial history of the area and its proximity to the docks ensured strong patronage. Built in the Victorian Filigree style, the heritage-listed building has been used as a location for several films and TV shows, including the recent Naomi Watts movie Adore and Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson’s The Sum of Us.

However, the pub’s most-told story involves actor Mel Gibson, who used to come in when he was studying at NIDA and read the history of William Wallace on the wall. Years later he would tell film critic and journalist Roger Ebert that this was his initial introduction to Wallace and his inspiration for making his highly success epic, Braveheart.

Gary muses, “It’s sad to see the pub go – it’s been an integral part of the local community for so long. However, I encourage everyone to get behind the great new whisky and gin bar which will open here in the coming months, a venture which will no doubt generate many of its own special memories.” 

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