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The world’s toughest pub closes its doors after more than 130 years

The world’s toughest pub closes its doors after more than 130 years

The world’s toughest pub closes its doors after more than 130 years

By Antoinette Milienos for Daily Mail Australia

07:21 02 Jul 2024, updated 07:31 02 Jul 2024



An Australian pub that held the record for the most stabbings in one night and was once dubbed the “world’s toughest” has closed.

The Pier Hotel in Port Hedland, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, about 1,627 kilometres north of Perth, closed its doors permanently at the end of June.

The venue gained a reputation as “the world’s toughest pub” after British journalist John Dyson published his visit to the iconic venue in London’s Sunday Telegraph in the mid-1970s.

The pub was rumoured to hold the record for most stabbings in one night, with 86 people, including six barmaids, injured.

The place also attracted visitors for its daring outfits, with female staff scantily clad and wearing almost nothing – a trend known as skimpies.

Owner Lynne Taylor said she was retiring and would like to spend more time in New Zealand with her elderly mother after nearly 20 years running the family pub.

“We will continue to operate until we run out of stock and close permanently before the start of the new financial year,” the Facebook post reads.

‘We have put our heart and soul into running The Pier Hotel for nearly 20 years and in doing so we have had to put our private lives on the back burner.

The Pier Hotel in Port Hedland closed its doors at the end of June
Landlord Lynne Taylor said she was retiring and would like to spend more time with her family after almost 20 years running the family pub.
Pictured: Men sitting on camp beds in an unfinished extension to the Pier Hotel in December 1959.

‘Over the past few months, as a family, we’ve had to deal with some situations where we’ve had to reevaluate our priorities.’

The publication added that Lynne had also become a great-grandmother and was looking forward to spending time with the new family member outside the walls of the pub.

The Pier Hotel was a cornerstone of the Port Hedland community and witnessed the area’s transformation from a sleepy seaside town to a bustling industrial hub.

Port Hedland is now the state’s second largest mining town, exporting around 520 million tonnes of iron ore each year.

The pub’s sordid past, written about by Dyson in a 2,000-word article, caused the hotel’s infamous reputation to spread beyond local lore.

A man at the Australia House pub in London told Dyson: “It’s considered to be the toughest, roughest pub in the country. Fifty or sixty people sit around the bar.”

‘I’ll give you some free advice: if someone pours beer in your pocket, for the love of God, don’t hit that bastard.’

The pub was famous for its legendary bar fights, tough customers and no-nonsense attitude.

“It’s the only pub I’ve been to where I’ve seen so many people leave in ambulances,” Port Hedland resident Bram Angus told The West Australian.

“When we were kids, we would all get in the car on Friday nights like we were going to the movies and park across the street or on the rooftop and wait for the action,” said neighbor Gloria Agale.

In 2011, The Pier Hotel was also included in a police list of the 10 most violent pubs and clubs in the state.

The Pier Hotel gained a reputation as the “world’s toughest pub” after journalist John Dyson wrote a 2,000-word article about his visit to the iconic venue in London’s Sunday Telegraph in the mid-1970s.
The pub was famous for its wild bar fights, tough customers, legendary revelry and no-nonsense attitude.

The Pier Hotel was first built in the 1890s and became one of the first two hotels built in the city.

In 1906 the single-storey pub, built from corrugated iron, was renovated and an extra floor was added.

During World War II, the hotel was used to accommodate soldiers and officers as the city became a strategic military base.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Port Hedland experienced a shift towards mining and the town saw an influx of workers.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Pier Hotel became the town’s unofficial landmark and hosted a number of offbeat contests, including cockroach races and spaghetti-eating competitions.

A mining boom in the late 20th century also spurred further growth in the region, and the pub underwent several renovations and upgrades to provide modern facilities.

Since the early 2000s, the pub had consolidated its rough atmosphere, but had also become a hub for live entertainment and local DJs.

The Pier Hotel was put up for sale earlier this year and has attracted significant interest from potential buyers, with negotiations expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.

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