Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Travellers Arms

There is a ruin along the highway north to the city, just before the Gleneagle Forest, just where that big bald mountain rises on the right. Surrounded in lush green periwinkles and grape vines, only the footings and a smashed concrete bath tub are left. The place has always intrigued me but I usually miss it because I'm driving fast, trying to avoid road trains and keep a weather eye on errant Commodore drivers. ("Now, that is carist," one of my friends told me once.)

This time I stopped before I passed it and asked the man at the fruit stall how much further it was to the Travellers Arms. He stared down at the bagged cherries on the scales. Then he looked up and I could see a few memories in his eyes.
"Now that was a place ... old Auntie May. Shit. Haven't thought about that in years. She was running girls there and everything, back in the day."

The hotel was originally built as the over night stop after a day's ride from the city. Perhaps they also had a livery service when people were still doing the trek on horseback. Old Salt remembers dropping in there after he and his Dad had sold fish in the city in the 1950s. He mentioned something about it being far just enough outside the city limits that it was legal to drink there on Sundays. Folk would drive all that way for a drink - or two, or three. On looking at the newspaper archives that mention the Travellers Arms, this legal loophole in the drinking laws could have accounted for the amount of disastrous, deadly drives home from the hotel in the middle of the night.

C. 1930
Down the hill from the ruins of the old hotel, I found a little stream and the remains of someone's dope operation. (If you spend enough time tramping around in the bush, you can find these things everywhere.) It's also where the domestic/ferals have inhabited the jarrah forest: one verdant hectare teeming with plum and pear trees, lillipillies, grapevine and lots of rabbits.


  1. Thanks. I'v often wondered about that place too. I just love ruins. Maybe it's cos I'm one....:)

  2. Reminds me of all those hotels in the Catskill mountains.

    1. They sound like they'd have a story or two or three ...

  3. In my experience Commodore drivers never look back, bless em.