Balcony by degrees

By Chris Thomson | posted on October 11, 2018

ALBANY pub Six Degrees has landed a $100,000 State heritage grant to reinstate its majestic balcony, a corner post of which was obliterated by a tearaway circus elephant in 1929.

At the hotel on Friday, owner Anton Davey said he would rebuild the long-gone balcony similarly to how the nearby White Star Hotel had rebuilt its in recent years.

“It’s a project that’s going to cost $200,000, and once we do that, we want to re-licence that area, because we’ll have that great view of the harbour that is magnificent,” he said.

The venue, which still carries the ‘Royal George Hotel’ name it went by for decades, was turned down for funding in the past two years but now has scored the maximum amount available under the State’s Heritage Grants Program.

“There was a balcony here in 1929,” Mr Davey said.

“A post was taken out by Jumbo the elephant that escaped from the train down here, and it ran along Stirling Terrace and turned left into what is now our beer garden, into our laneway and actually took out the corner post.”

With editorial aplomb, on August 17, 1929 The Albany Advertiser reported Jumbo’s rampage through central Albany at the bottom of Page 2 under the headline: ‘Jumbo gets a move on’.

“Jumbo, one of the elephants attached to Wirth’s Circus … arrived by the early morning special train, and after breakfast was engaged in hauling lorry loads of gear to the Parade Street reserve, the site chosen for the huge tent,” the newspaper’s local and general roundsman wrote.

“A slight mishap to the lorry necessitated a detour to the Frederick Street works of Mr A.F. Cuddihy for repairs.”

Then things got interesting.

“Jumbo entered the Royal George lane with due decorum, but thereafter became restless and made off on ‘top gear’ with his lorry rattling behind,” the roundsman continued.

“He negotiated the narrow right-of-way without the slightest deviation but the turn to the west into Stirling Terrace proved his undoing.

“Contact with the corner post of the Royal George Hotel Terrace verandah proved disastrous for the post.

“The steel upright was snapped off like a carrot, and the top portion left swaying in the breeze.”

With The Advertiser’s current local and general roundsman not at Six Degrees on Friday for the funding announcement, The Weekender also learned exclusively that Mr Davey had abandoned his application for a 2am closing time (‘Second tilt at 2am closing time’, 24 May).

“I’ve put it on the table twice and I think because of the multi-use of the area with accommodation over the road it actually doesn’t matter [to State liquor officials] that this hotel has been here 150 years and that building down there [on Proudlove Parade] has only been here 15 years, for some reason that doesn’t seem to matter,” he lamented.

He said his current approval to trade to 1am, revealed here last year (‘Six degrees of excitation’, 7 December), was “going along just fine”.

“We won’t go back [to the State liquor licensing director] again for the 2am,” he said.

“We’ll rebuild the business around a 1am closing time.”