Pubs in Port – a snapshot from the nineties

From the Collection – Ron Laing’s Pub Photos (catalogue no 1287)

Ron Laing was born in Scotland in 1920. During the war he was a flying instructor and in 1950 he migrated to Australia where he worked as a forklift driver and a machinist for the Melbourne Harbor Trust. After containers were introduced he worked unloading containers for an importer/exporter company.

When he retired and saw – in his words – ‘that things were changing round here’, he ‘walked with his dog far and wide’, photographing the changes.

His photographs provide a comprehensive record of many of the buildings, demolitions, developments and change in Port Melbourne between the years 1986 and 2002. They were taken at a significant time, when the old Port was evolving into the Port Melbourne of today. Over 15 years he donated 2,200 photographs to the PMHPS, which are now preserved in a special collection. Ron died in 2003.

This selection of pub photographs, taken by Ron in the 1990s is a snapshot in time. Some of these pubs look much the same today as they did when he photographed them. Some no longer exist. And some have adapted and changed with the times just as they have throughout their long history. They are indicative of how Port has developed and ‘lend a continuity with our colonial past’.

The Pier

1 Bay Street


The Pier Hotel – PMHPS catalogue no 1287.19

The Pier is built on the site of one of the first hotels in Sandridge, established on the Beach by the Liardet family in 1840. The existing brick building replaced the original in1856 and has been modified, renovated and renamed although it was always The Pier. It has always had arched windows and this photograph shows the exterior modifications of the 1930’s.

The Flower (1916 – 2005)

190 Bay Street


The Flower – PMHPS catalogue No 1287.0

This photograph shows The Flower Hotel in transition, when it was operating as a wine bar. The only part of the original brick pub on this site is the exterior sidewall and the distinctive chimney. Today it is no longer a pub and the site has been converted into shops and apartments. But the chimney still remains.

The Sandridge (1946 -1996)

Corner of Beach and Stokes Street


Sandridge Hotel – PMHPS catalogue No 1287.02

The Sandridge Hotel exists today only as a reconstructed façade on a residential development, the original having been demolished in 2006.

The original pub on this site was the Freemason’s Tavern (1859 –1946). It was remodelled and renamed the Sandridge Hotel by new owners and run by the same family for over 50 years.

Hibernian (1868 – 2010???)

North western corner of Graham and Ross Streets


The Hibernian – PMHPS catalogue no 1287.08

The Hibernian was seriously damaged by fire in 2010 and is no longer operating as a pub. Like the Clare Castle Hotel on the opposite corner it was a traditional pub, favoured by the wharfies, with accommodation and pub food. And later had a Chinese restaurant and take away.

Chequers Inn (1861)

Corner Bay and Bridge Streets


Chequers Inn – PMHPS catalogue no 1287.11

The Chequers Inn was reconstructed with this classical Italianate façade in 1888. Owned and run by the prominent Crockford family until 1908, it has always had a reputation for providing friendly service and good food. There have been some recent modifications but it still operates as a traditional pub, now with pokies.

4959a_Ch.Scoundrels_280A complete story of Port Melbourne hotels is told in Pat Grainger’s informative and entertaining book Chartered Scoundrels: A Brief History of Port Melbourne Hotels, which can be purchased from the PMHPS.



  1. Greg Moss says

    The ‘Hi’ was our pub of choice back in the 60’s, and I’d love a dollar for every beer I had there!

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