Community efforts to save The John Curtin Hotel are ramping up to try and save the historic Melbourne venue from demolition if the building's sold to property developers.
The brewing company Bob Hawke launched two years before his death, Hawkes Brewing Co, has pledged a year of free beer to The Curtin Hotel if the historic Melbourne pub and treasured live music venue can be saved from demolition. It comes after the Victorian Trades Hall announced yesterday they were considering buying the building, in order to save its legacy as a union stronghold in the 1970s.
The Curtin’s tenants, which have run the venue as a Melbourne music institution, announced on Wednesday that the Curtin Hotel’s time had come to an end, with the building listed for sale and their lease expiring in November.
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The operators said that the building was likely to be sold to property developers, leaving a high possibility the venue would be demolished entirely to build apartments, although there’s still hope the venue can potentially be saved.
Hawke’s Brewing’s pledge comes just one day after the Trades Hall, which across the road from The Curtin, stated that they would lead the attempt to rescue the establishment that has long been an institution to its patrons, most famously Hawke, who brokered many of his deals over a beer in both the front and back bar of the pub.
Hawke was a nightly regular at The Curtin when he was ACTU secretary in the 1970s, before he rose through the Labour ranks to become one of Australia’s most-liked prime ministers.
“I have fond memories of The Curtin,” says Sue Pieters-Hawke, Bob Hawke’s daughter.
“On Fridays, the otherwise blokey atmosphere would be transformed by ‘wives and families night’. I would sit at the back bar drinking raspberry lemonade and soaking up the fond attention of the fabulous characters there. It was more than a pub – it was a melting pot of stories, ideas, debate, planning and hoping for a better world. Times change, and apart from this heritage value, it is now a venue for a gloriously diverse patronage of locals, unionists, and a vibrant live music scene. Both are important, and worth a vigorous attempt to preserve.”
“I hope our contribution, while small, can help ignite a wave of community support from other local Melbourne businesses, individuals and even artists, who might be in a position to help protect not just an important piece of Bob’s legacy, but an important piece of theirs,” Hawke’s Brewing Co. co-founder, David Gibson, said.
Hawke launched the independent beer company in 2017, alongside its Australian co-founders, David Gibson and Nathan Lennon, two homesick expats who had always dreamed of simply having a beer with their childhood hero.
The former leader granted his endorsement to the company in perpetuity, with his only condition being that 100% of his royalty share be donated to Landcare Australia, the environmental NPO that he established as national movement in 1989.
For more info about the Trades Hall, visit their website here.