Last drinks for 150-year-old Concord pub, hosted by three generations of the one family
Following hot on the heels of the demolition of Parramatta’s historic Royal Oak Hotel, the NSW Government is about to raze another of Sydney’s landmark pubs in the name of public transport infrastructure.
With much controversy and media attention, the Royal Oak Hotel at Parramatta was demolished for the light rail project in 2020.
Sadly, with little media coverage or attention, another of Sydney’s historic pubs, the Pine Inn, established in 1873, closed for business on June 30, 2021, acquired by the NSW Government for the Sydney Metro West rail line.
When undertaking an Environmental Impact Statement for the site, the Government’s consultants incorrectly stated that the hotel was established in 1917 (It seems they simply went off the date displayed on the hotel’s façade), and reported that the Pine Inn “does not appear to have any direct connections with prominent members of the local community or any ongoing historic associations”.
How wrong the consultant’s report is. The site – at what is today 19 Parramatta Road, Concord – has been home to a hotel for almost 150 years, and was hosted by some of the most prominent and respected members of the local community.
The Orient Hotel was established by Edward McDonald when he was granted a license at the Sydney Central Police Court on Tuesday, August 12, 1873 for a house at Longbottom. Longbottom, later to be known as Concord, was a convict stockade, located on what is now Concord Oval.
McDonald was a ‘Currency Lad’, born in Burwood in 1840, and was a successful businessman in western Sydney, first at Parramatta and later in the town where he grew up.
At the age of 26 he married Emma Jane Neich, the daughter of one of the colony’s most successful and well-known publicans, Emanuel Neich. It was likely Emanuel Neich persuaded McDonald to become a publican.
Emanuel Neich established the Bath Arms Hotel on Parramatta Road, Burwood in 1840, and held its license for over 60 years. The Bath Arms continues to trade as a pub, up the hill from the former Pine Inn.
The year after his marriage to one of the Neich girls, Edward McDonald was granted the license of the Burwood Family Hotel, located at Burwood Railway Station. He remained as host for five years before selling the Burwood Family Hotel in 1872 and gaining the license of the Woolpack Hotel in Sussex Street, Sydney.
McDonald also opened a family grocer and provision dealer business, known as the Oriental Store on what is today the site of the Pine Inn Hotel on Parramatta Road, Concord. While McDonald hosted the pub, his wife Emma managed the Oriental Store, selling everything from fresh ground coffee to jams, biscuits, fruits, and confectionary.
McDonald though had bigger plans for his little general store on Parramatta Road. He was successful in applying for a liquor license at the Central Police Court on Tuesday, August 12, 1873, and operated the business as a general store and hotel.
(Mick Roberts, Time Gents website)