Following on from last month’s story about the closing of the Pine Inn, Concord, we felt we should bring you more of the history of this hotel.

The hotel would go on to trade for another 148 years. Its existence as a pub though could have been cut short just six years after opening, when in 1879 McDonald attempted to have the license removed to Glebe. However, the magistrates rejected the application after hearing McDonald’s proposed Glebe pub was within 15 minutes walking distance to nine other licensed premises! 

Edward and Emma McDonald (nee Neich) continued as hosts at Concord, bringing up eight children in their pub before retiring from the helm of the Oriental Hotel and Stores in 1882, and continuing other business interests.

Edward McDonald died at his residence, ‘Newton’, Burwood Road, Burwood on January 9 1907. He was 67. His widow Emma died just nine months later, aged 63, on October 30 1907, also at their residence on Burwood Road.

The founders of one of Sydney’s longest operating pubs left, at their death, eight children and 36 grandchildren to mourn their loss. They were buried in Rookwood Cemetery. 

Over the following years a number of publicans held the reins of ‘The Oriental’, including the well-known and much respected Rubinson family, with three generations going on to host and own the pub for almost another 70 years.

Ludiviko (Ludrick) Rubissir, known locally as Ludric Rubinson, held the license of the Oriental Hotel for 18 years after gaining its license in 1900.

Rubinson (an anglicised version of the Jewish name Rubissir) was born in Austria in 1852 before arriving in Sydney. At the age of 36, he married 35-year-old Margaret Rouhan at Waterloo, Sydney in 1888, and they would have two children together.

Margaret was a devout Irish Catholic who was born in Ballyea, County Clare, and came to Australia in 1878.

Ludric Rubinson was naturalised on December 23, 1896 before buying the Oriental Hotel on Parramatta Road in 1900. The pair would be at the helm of the pub for less then two years when a gang of ‘roughs’ or members of a criminal group known as ‘The Push’ took over their bar.

About 5.30pm on an afternoon in August 1902, Margaret Rubinson called Burwood police station asking for assistance. She was told that no constables were available, and she was instructed to go to Longbottom Park, now known as Concord Oval. There, a football match was in progress, and she was told, she could find constables on duty.

The Irish landlady was unsuccessful in her search for a constable and on returning to her pub found that the men had left. Shortly afterwards two brothers, Henry and Cornelius Neil Johnson, who were known to the police, were stopped on the street by a plain clothes policeman, first class Constable Samuel Gallagher.

Constable Samuel Gallagher. Image: Daily Telegraph 4/8/1902

During an altercation the two brothers were shot and wounded by the constable, forcing them to spend some time in hospital. The brothers were charged with assaulting the constable, but were eventually acquitted. The constable was in turn charged with maliciously wounding the Johnson boys. He was also acquitted of the charge in December 1902.

The Ovens and Murray Advertiser reported the incident on August 9, 1902:

The elder of the two brothers, Henry Johnson (aged 27), was, according to the statement made by Gallagher, obstructing a respectably dressed woman, and the officer straightway attempted to arrest him on a charge of being drunk and disorderly . . .

. . . Gallagher, who has been eleven years in the police force, and bears a good record, gave the following account of what took place: — “I held my bicycle in one hand, and, laying the other on Henry Johnson, told him to come with me. Neil Johnson told me to let his brother go. Henry struck me in the face, with his fist and I retaliated. I dropped my bicycle, and defended myself as well as I could from two. We fought across the road, and they got me down. I received several heavy kicks in the stomach. They held me down and kicked me. The struggle lasted about 20 minutes.

There must have been about 60 people collected on the footpath, but no one came to my assistance. I warned them that I was going to draw my revolver. I fired two shots into the ground. My hand was kicked, and a third shot went off accidentally. It was that shot, I believe, that hit the boy Turner. The other shots I fired at the legs of my assailants.”

While at the Oriental Hotel, the Rubinsons were responsible for its redevelopment from a small roadside inn into a two-storey brick hotel. Ludric retired as publican in 1912, and his wife, Margaret, became licensee from 1912 to 1919.

Significant alterations and additions were made to the Oriental Hotel in 1909 and later, while Margaret was licensee, with financial assistance from brewery giant Tooth and Company, the pub was redeveloped into its current form (2021) in October 1917.

Meanwhile, the Rubinsons’ only son, 25-year-old Jack Joseph, married Mary Clare “Minnie” Long of Rozelle in 1915. The pair were destined to take over the Oriental Hotel.

Oriental Hotel, Parramatta Road, Concord. Picture: Concord Jubilee 1883-1933 booklet. Inset: John ‘Jack’ Joseph Rubinson, host from 1920 to 1956. Picture: Supplied.

Ludric Rubinson lived long enough to see the completion of his redeveloped Oriental Hotel in 1917, and he died the following year at the age of 66 on September 26, 1918.

After his death his widow Margaret, now 65, handed the reins over to her son and daughter-in-law.

While at the helm of the Oriental Hotel, Jack and Mary Rubinson fostered and sponsored many local sporting organisations, and the pub became an ardent supporter of the Magpies Western Suburbs Rugby League Club.

Jack was vice-president of the Magpies club during the 1930s before going on to become its patron. He also sponsored an annual football tournament between local schools known as the Oriental Cup.

Meanwhile, Jack and Mary’s son, Jack Long Rubinson, was making quite a name for himself on the rugby league field. He was born the year before the death of his grandfather – the founder of the hotel dynasty – and the year his father’s hotel was rebuilt in 1917.

Rubinson’s Oriental Hotel, Concord, 1939. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.

At the age of 19, Jack Long Rubinson made his debut playing in the NSW Rugby Football League (RFL) premiership for University in 1936. By 1938 he had signed to play first grade with his father’s beloved Western Suburbs club. He played one season with the Magpies.

Rubinson returned to first grade football playing with the North Sydney Bears in 1941.

The year 1941 was memorable for the 24-year-old rugby league player as he was also engaged to Esme Dale. They married the following year.

The outbreak of the war saw Jack join the AIF, and he served as a sergeant.

By the early 1950s, Jack Joseph Rubinson, host of the Oriental Hotel, had become patron of Western Suburbs Rugby League Club. Jack Senior died at the age of 66 in 1956, and his son, Jack Junior, now 39, took the license of the Oriental Hotel.  Jack Junior became the third generation of Rubinson to host the Oriental Hotel.

A company was formed by the name of Rubinson Hotel Pty Ltd and a second mortgage was taken with Tooth & Company brewery to undertake more improvements to the ageing hotel.

The Oriental Hotel, Concord, 1960. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University. Inset: Esme and Jack Long Rubinson. Pictures: Supplied

Jack and Esme Rubinson hosted the Oriental Hotel for another 12 years, continuing the family tradition of fostering and sponsoring local sporting organisations.

The end of the Rubinson family’s association with the pub came with the death of the family matriarch on August 24, 1968. Mary Clare “Minnie” Rubinson died at the age of 80.

The following year, John Long Rubinson, now 54, retired as licensee, with Robert George Grant taking over as host of the Oriental Hotel.

After almost 70 years a Rubinson was no longer behind the bar of the Oriental Hotel, and an era had ended on Parramatta Road, Concord.

The hotel was sold to Burwood Hotels Pty Ltd, a consortium made up of Kevin William Ashley, Gilbert William Etheridge, Peter Hemming, Kenneth William Owens, Diana Ellen Saunders, Jane Alexandra Stevenson, and Sidney Max Hemming.

The new owners paid out the mortgage to Tooth and Company, and a new licensee, Ken Owens, former host of the Exchange Hotel on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, became publican.

The hotel’s sign was officially changed from the Oriental to the Pine Inn on May 16, 1980. Ken Owens became one the most popular hosts of the Pine Inn, and sadly died while licensee at the young age of 40 in 1985.

Esme Adelaide Rubinson, the wife of the former rugby player and host of the Oriental Hotel, died in 1982. Jack Long Rubinson died on December 12 1994 at the age of 79. He’s buried in Mona Vale Cemetery.

On June 15 2021 the owners of the Pine Inn were officially given notice by the NSW Government that the property would be compulsorily acquisitioned for the Sydney Metro West Line rail project. The pub closed for business on June 30, 2021 and is awaiting demolition.

The hotel advertised its demise on its Facebook page in 2021.


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