CONSUMING THE PAST: Historians and pub crawl guides Julie McIntyre and Kate Ariotti at the FogHorn Brewhouse. Picture: Simone De Peak REMEMBER when packs of young people lurched from one hotel to the next on marathon pub crawls from NewcastleWest to the East End?
Tonight a group will be reliving the past in the city. Only they won’t be befuddled youths but some of the brightest minds from around the country, and from overseas.
Newcastle is hosting the 2017 Australian Historical Association conference, with about 340 historians in town this week. As part of the event, two Newcastlehistorians, Julie McIntyre and Kate Ariotti, are leadinga “Booze and Stories Walking Tour”for visitors who are up for it.
“We thought we’d put together a fun and introductory event, and it introduces people to our special stories,” Dr McIntyresaid.
But this wasn’t about dropping into watering holes and downingdrinks, explained Dr McIntyre.
Each stop would holdhistorical significance in some way. The history crawl would beginat The Edwards, a bar and restaurant co-owned by former Silverchair bass player Chris Joannou and a gleamingexample of “post-industrial” Newcastle.
Dr McIntyre said the tour would pass the KFC fast food restaurant on Hunter Street, because buried under the building were important Indigenous artefacts.
Then, the historian-guide outlined, it was on to the Star Hotel, “for the 1970s, and the city’s incredibly vibrant music scene”, the Coal and Cedar bar (“that refers to the early colonial history and speaks to the original extractive economy here”) and the FogHorn Brewhouse.
“Drinking was part of the masculine working culture,” said Dr McIntyre. “This was a coal town,a steel town, and it was a beer town as well.”
The return of small breweries is like history repeating, according to FogHorn’s head brewer and co-owner, Shawn Sherlock. Newcastle used to have two large breweries close to the city, he said.
As a former student and tutor in history at the University of Newcastle, Mr Sherlock is looking forward to welcoming the visitors and giving them a taste of something different.
“I’m just hopeful that I can steer them away from red wine to experience good beerfor once,” he said.
More than highlight the past, Kate Ariotti believedthe history crawl wouldtell an interesting story about what Newcastle hadbecome.
“We really want to showcase a different side of Newcastle, the new Newcastle, with craft beer, good food, and fresh produce,” said Dr Ariotti. “We want to blend the local history with the built history, and with the shift that has taken place in Newcastle.”
“We’ll try to emulate the pub crawls of the past,” said Dr McIntyre. “Butwith dignity, may I add.”