In its heyday the pub culture of Ballarat was indeed something to behold. Until just prior to 1870 over 500 hotels served the town and environs.
Crowds of men – and women – milled around the streets outside establishments, in states ranging from the slightly inebriated to the catatonic, and everything in between.
Between 1870 and about 1915 the temperance movement and the Licences Reduction Board tried to install the pleasures of sobriety into the population of the city, and the number of licenced premises plummeted.
CHECK OUT OUR THEN AND NOW GALLERY OF BALLARAT PUBS BELOW
The earliest canvas and timber pubs gave way to brick and stone buildings over time, and today Ballarat has a fine collection of late 19th and early 20th Century hotels, many of which still serve a cold beer in summer and a hearty meal in winter.
Many others have sadly disappeared. Some have been altered with new facades, some are no longer serving alcohol, and a number have been demolished.
The Courier’s Pat Nolan and Lachlan Bence have put together an online gallery of Ballarat’s pubs past and present, with historic images of long-gone punters outside the bars they frequented contrasted against what stands on the same place today.