Who Named the Pig & Whistle?


Way back in the early days of our society we were researching some of the old buildings in the area. One which aroused our curiosity was the ancient hotel, the “Pig & Whistle”, which was being demolished for road widening purposes at 27 Bertram Street, Concord.  An appeal for information found two sources of information:  Mr & Mrs Long of Kingston Avenue, Mortlake and Mr F E Whitehall of 4 Bertram Street – each offering a different story.

Thieving “cows” and the pigs

A man used to drive his pigs by way of Bertram Street to the slaughter house. He would stop outside the building, which at that time was an hotel, and whistle for his pint of beer.  He did not dare to go inside for fear, as he said, “the thieving cows would get some of my pigs”.  So it became known over the years as the “Pig & Whistle”.

Workmen’s Club

The building was never an hotel in the accepted idea of today.  After the Australian Gas Light Co. established its works at Mortlake and began producing gas in 1885, many of its key personnel from the Kent Street (City) works lived in the city and nearby suburbs and the journey to the farm and orchard suburb of Concord was an arduous one, particularly when one had to commence work on the morning shift at 7:00 am.

As some of the employees came on horseback or sulky the “Pig & Whistle” was built to cater for them.  It was built and conducted similar to what were known as workmen’s clubs in England.

There was a hitching rail in front to tie the horses and the gas workers could obtain accommodation and breakfast before commencing the early morning shift.

In fact, it was the Concord Workmen’s Club and soon the Mortlake portion of the municipality was its most prosperous area.

In 1915 it was an estate agency run by Mr. Hipgrave, who came from Burwood Heights by horse cab and later by tramcar, dressed in morning frock coat, striped stick or beautifully furled umbrella, depending on the weather.

Pig & Whistle – front view
Pig & Whistle – rear view
(Note: We only have one photograph of the rear of the building, but we do have two paintings by Robbie Bennett.)

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