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Locals buy historic Balmain pub to save it from ‘outsiders’

A group of locals has banded together to save a watering hole in Sydney’s Balmain from being snapped up by developers.

Headed by former DiCK’s Hotel owner Geoff Roddy, the group of Balmain identities, which includes his brother James Roddy and brother-in-law John McRedmond, has acquired Unity Hall Hotel Darling St, to save it from “outsiders”.

The final sale price was undisclosed but market expectations were around $25 million. Roddy has signed on as the licensee, taking control over the Unity Hall from Geoff Dixon and John Singleton’s Australian Pub Fund.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Roddy says he has watched with dismay as the “fabric” of Balmain has changed over the years.

“I got sick of people from outside of Balmain buying our iconic pubs and turning them into bloody gymnasiums and cheese shops,” he said.

“They are ripping the heart and soul out of Balmain. It’s almost criminal.”

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said it was “great news for our hopes of revitalising Balmain”.

“When it went on sale a lot of people had raised concerns with me that we would see another iconic pub be transformed into an office block,” Byrne told the Daily Telegraph.

The historic pub was considered the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party in 1891 but gained a reputation as a lively music venue in recent years.

The former owners closed the pub in October before putting it on the market.



Sheridan Randall, 28th November 2019