This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

In Print

From a rural roadstop to your local watering hole, most Australian adults have visited, if not frequented, a pub. There is a fair chance it was an Art Deco one, with hundreds of these streamlined hotels being built across Australia to service the population booms of the 1930s and 1940s.

Geoffrey Goddard’s new book, Australian Art Deco Hotels, spotlights many of the surviving gems. While these buildings may be famed as cheap refuges providing hot meals and, of course, cold beers, the photographer’s project also offers a uniquely Australian interpretation of architecture, and reflection on its contribution to our culture.

17th July, 2019

Photograph Geoffrey Goddard’s new book Australian Art Deco Hotels. Pictured: North Annandale Hotel, Sydney. Photo – Geoff Goddard.

(left to right) Tea Gardens and Hollywood Hotel, Sydney. Photo – Geoff Goddard.

Royal Sheaf, Sydney. Photo – Geoff Goddard.

Clare Hotel, Sydney. Photo – Geoff Goddard.

Bay View, Whyalla. Photo – Geoff Goddard.

Elle Murrell
Wednesday 17th July 2019

‘Knowing you have documented a slice of Australian history and contributed to the awareness and hopefully preservation of that history has been very satisfying’ – Geoffrey Goddard.

I basically grew up in a pub (don’t be alarmed, my Grandparents ran one for 25 years), yet I didn’t even know where that word came from, until I learned about photographer Geoffrey Goddard’s decade-long project.

The Sydney-based lensman has been photographing Art Deco ‘public houses’ over the past 10 years. This quest has taken him on over 35,000-kilometres of road trips, and the result is a fascinating, self-published book featuring more than 300 photographs. Complementing his original photographs with archival images from local historical institutions, he has explored examples from the bush to the city, and honed-in on decorative details and typography too.

A prize-winning photographer, art director and designer, Geoffrey has held numerous solo exhibitions and had his work exhibited from China to New Zealand, India to France and in the U.S. He took us through the pages of his new tome…

How did the idea for this book come to you, and why did you decide to specifically focus on Pubs and those in an Art Deco style?

I have been a passionate collector of all things Deco for many years, including buying and selling Deco furniture and collectables for a while, as a way to make money back in my uni days.

A trip to some of America’s great Art Deco cities of New York, Chicago and Miami back in 2007 became a launching pad for my passion for photographing architecture, in particular, Art Deco (this has now progressed to include other styles such as Mid-Century Modernism, Brutalism and Googie architecture).

When I got back from that trip I started to photograph the Art Deco architecture around Sydney where I live, and from there I started to research and compile a repository of buildings right around Australia that I slowly started to photograph one road trip at a time.

During one of the many road trips, I was thinking just how many Art Deco pubs I had photographed and what a unique Australian contribution to the architecture of the period they are. From there, the idea for the book was born.

A decade-long project is SUCH a commitment! What has been the highlight for you?

The most rewarding part of the project has been to finish it. It’s been quite a long journey, from initially taking the photos to researching and writing the book, then designing and producing the book to now distributing and selling it.

To sit back and be happy with the final outcome and to have publishers and other photographers I admire complimenting both the images and final production has been very rewarding, as well as all the lovely comments from people who have bought the book.

Also, knowing you have documented a slice of Australian history and contributed to the awareness and hopefully preservation of that history, has been very satisfying.

Did you encounter any *road bumps* along the way?

Apart from the long hours on the road it would definitely be the self-publishing aspect and learning about the business and production side of things.

After getting a few publishing offers, I decided to do it myself which involved a lot of time trying to get the production to a standard I was happy with and at a cost-effective price point.

Why do you think pubs hold such a special place in the Australian psyche, and do you think they will/can continue to be an important part of our cultural identity into the future?

It’s interesting to note that in the time I have been working on the book, a few of the pubs have closed or been converted for other uses, but generally, compared to many other buildings of the era, these Art Deco hotels have survived.

This is due to the fact that their function within the community, as a social hub and place to get a cheap room, a meal and a cold beer, is essentially the same today as it was when they were built. All be it, that these days the big band has been replaced with an indie band, the food is likely to be gourmet and served with a local craft beer.

Geoffrey Goddard’s Australian Art Deco Hotels can be purchased from Geoffreygoddardphotography.com/store or in Sydney at Kinokuniya Books, Better Read Than Dead, The State Library Bookshop, and at Melbourne’s Hill of Content Bookstore. You can see more of the project on Instagram @australianartdecohotels

This Week

News

Blooming With Love In This Silent Auction

Join Cecilia Fox, Katie Marx and Georgie Boy in raising funds for beloved creative Shonel Bryant of Nomad Styling, who is embarking on treat...
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sculptural Home Inspired By The Hepburn Landscape

A distinctive Corten-clad house designed by Robert Nichol and Sons, just outside Hepburn, Victoria.
Amelia Barnes

News

The Ko's Christmas Market In Geelong

A one-stop Christmas shopping event in Geelong on December 13 and 14th, complete with fashion, jewellery, gardening, ceramics, food, music,
Sasha Aarons

Sustainable Homes

A Dream Off-Grid Retreat

The Elemental House in High Camp by Ben Callery Architects is a cosy weekender, designed with sustainability in mind.

Art

Saint Cloche Hosts Final Exhibition For 2019, ‘Paradiso’

The Paddington art gallery closes the year with their annual group show!
Amelia Barnes

Stays

A Magically Restorative Waterfront Getaway In Tasmania

Once a dilapidated shack, Captains Rest is now one of the most in-demand boutique accommodations in Tassie!
Amelia Barnes

Creative People

Get Your Goals In Check, With These Original Artworks By Beci Orpin x kikki.K

kikki K has teamed up with the legendary Melbourne artist to create three original artworks based on new year's goals. Here's how you can wi...

Giveaway

Our Sustainable Summer Edit + Giveaway!

WIN our edit of summer essentials, made from organic, sustainable, biodegradable materials, recycled plastic, and even ocean waste! In partn...

Shopping

All Your Retro Dreams Realised!

Tamara Watts of Retro Print Revival celebrates 10 years of vintage-inspired wares, and shares her latest collection inspired by earthy 80s a...
Miriam McGarry
  16 hours ago

Studio Visit

In The Studio With Anna Varendorff

We catch up with a Melbourne design legend, ahead of her inclusion in our end of year group show, Art & Artefact!
Miriam McGarry
  1 hour ago

Dream Job

Beatrice Preston Zly, Product Packaging Designer at Aēsop

The RMIT graduate shares how hard work, passion and preparation helped her land her dream job at the iconic Australian brand!

News

Museum-Quality Art Pieces At An Affordable Price!

LUMAS Gallery’s Melbourne outpost makes limited art editions and photographic artworks more accessible for all.
Sponsored

News

Twenty Six Designers Exhibit Their ABC's For A One Night Only Graphic Design Exhibition

Twenty-six designers come together for an exhibition that supports the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation’s ‘Subtext: Art for...
Sally Tabart
  14 hours ago

News

Share The Cheer With ‘Cake + Kindness’ Christmas Edition!

The wonderful Merchant Road Events, La Marzocco Home and Market Lane Coffee are coming together December 7 for a bake sale that supports wom...
Miriam McGarry

Homes

A Truly WHOA Warehouse Conversion!

Shirin Pulitano of Dot Dot Dash Events Agency shares her stunning family home in North Melbourne, renovated with the help of Ha Architecture...

View Comments

Similar Stories

In Print

Exploring Some Of The Best Swimming Spots In Australia

Indulge all your aquatic fantasies with 'Places We Swim', a travel guide documenting the very best swimming spots across the country.

On the Market

This Art Deco Gem Is On The Market

Lucy Glade-Wright of Hunting for George shares her beloved Armadale apartment, now up for sale.

Creative People

A Nostalgic Look At Australian Suburbia

Inside photographer Warren Kirk's much-awaited book, 'Suburbia'.
Elle Murrell

This Week

News

Share The Cheer With ‘Cake + Kindness’ Christmas Edition!

The wonderful Merchant Road Events, La Marzocco Home and Market Lane Coffee are coming together December 7 for a bake sale that supports wom...
Miriam McGarry

Studio Visit

In The Studio With Anna Varendorff

We catch up with a Melbourne design legend, ahead of her inclusion in our end of year group show, Art & Artefact!
Miriam McGarry
  1 hour ago

Homes

A Truly WHOA Warehouse Conversion!

Shirin Pulitano of Dot Dot Dash Events Agency shares her stunning family home in North Melbourne, renovated with the help of Ha Architecture...

Dream Job

Beatrice Preston Zly, Product Packaging Designer at Aēsop

The RMIT graduate shares how hard work, passion and preparation helped her land her dream job at the iconic Australian brand!

Giveaway

Our Sustainable Summer Edit + Giveaway!

WIN our edit of summer essentials, made from organic, sustainable, biodegradable materials, recycled plastic, and even ocean waste! In partn...

Sustainable Homes

A Dream Off-Grid Retreat

The Elemental House in High Camp by Ben Callery Architects is a cosy weekender, designed with sustainability in mind.

News

Twenty Six Designers Exhibit Their ABC's For A One Night Only Graphic Design Exhibition

Twenty-six designers come together for an exhibition that supports the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation’s ‘Subtext: Art for...
Sally Tabart
  14 hours ago

Creative People

Get Your Goals In Check, With These Original Artworks By Beci Orpin x kikki.K

kikki K has teamed up with the legendary Melbourne artist to create three original artworks based on new year's goals. Here's how you can wi...

News

Museum-Quality Art Pieces At An Affordable Price!

LUMAS Gallery’s Melbourne outpost makes limited art editions and photographic artworks more accessible for all.
Sponsored

News

The Ko's Christmas Market In Geelong

A one-stop Christmas shopping event in Geelong on December 13 and 14th, complete with fashion, jewellery, gardening, ceramics, food, music,
Sasha Aarons

Art

Saint Cloche Hosts Final Exhibition For 2019, ‘Paradiso’

The Paddington art gallery closes the year with their annual group show!
Amelia Barnes

Stays

A Magically Restorative Waterfront Getaway In Tasmania

Once a dilapidated shack, Captains Rest is now one of the most in-demand boutique accommodations in Tassie!
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

A Sculptural Home Inspired By The Hepburn Landscape

A distinctive Corten-clad house designed by Robert Nichol and Sons, just outside Hepburn, Victoria.
Amelia Barnes

News

Blooming With Love In This Silent Auction

Join Cecilia Fox, Katie Marx and Georgie Boy in raising funds for beloved creative Shonel Bryant of Nomad Styling, who is embarking on treat...
Miriam McGarry

Shopping

All Your Retro Dreams Realised!

Tamara Watts of Retro Print Revival celebrates 10 years of vintage-inspired wares, and shares her latest collection inspired by earthy 80s a...
Miriam McGarry
  16 hours ago

Similar Stories

In Print

Exploring Some Of The Best Swimming Spots In Australia

'Places We Swim' is a travel guide documenting the very best swimming spots across Australia.

On the Market

This Art Deco Gem Is On The Market

Lucy Glade-Wright of Hunting for George shares her Armadale home, now up for sale.

Creative People

A Nostalgic Look At Australian Suburbia

Inside photographer Warren Kirk's much-awaited book, 'Suburbia'.
Elle Murrell