At the Bridge Hotel

There’d be a few Bridge Hotels on the planet I would think, but the one I’m highlighting here is the Pub advertised in Mordialloc, which was actually located in Aspendale being south of the creek (the geographical boundary). Come to think of it Mordialloc High School was too! This was my first venue of worship in the late seventies. Once upon a time there was a tavern, where we used to raise a glass or two.

(A Lachlan Sheppard Sketch)

Thanks to my son for this sketch that shows the band section. It’s the flat roof elongated room on the right, with the rows of windows. This extension was probably constructed in the late sixties.

Geez, he said, the bands don’t seem to play round here no more. And Saturday (Thursday) night just ain’t the same. Wish everything was back the way it used to be before. Nobody’s gonna take the stage tonight, But I’ll sit here anyway, and sigh “Goodbye Tiger”

Thursday nights after footy training, we would often be Goin’ Down Town’ (not necessarily to find some love) to the Bridge, especially if one of my bands was performing. If the likes of Blackfeather, Chain, Spectrum (or a Mike Rudd Combo), Russell Morris, Richard Clapton or Kevin Borich Express were billed, I’d be around. Call me I’ll be there. I can’t recall Doug Parkinson playing at the Bridge.

A catastrophic problem occurred at some point in time (as referenced in Richard Clapton’s classic Goodbye Tiger). A mirror ball appeared, with a DJ who played this music labelled “disco.” A band would finish a set and onto the stage strolled a DJ. A new clientele arrived – I don’t think they lived locally – I hadn’t seen them before. It all changed very quickly. One Thursday night everything was mighty fine – the next it wasn’t. I rolled up in the same Miller shirt, Levi’s and DB’s I had the previous week, when I was confronted by this big hefty dude. He stood menacingly, attired all in black, outside the entrance. He told me in no uncertain terms I couldn’t enter wearing that attire. My questioning into what had changed from the week before was met with nothing but a steely glare.

Lucky I didn’t have far to travel to change into something that was considered appropriate (I cannot recall what I changed). It might have been the DB’s as I often had trouble with the fashion police at High School with my footwear. Neither my forged note or uniform pass from school was going to change this gentleman’s mind. Funny thing too about those hefty blokes, prior to their employment I had never seen an altercation at the pub, however after their arrival there would be one every week. Angst had come to town!

It wasn’t at the Bridge, but at the Commodore Hotel in Sandringham, that I first met Kevin Borich. Our paths crossed at the end of a set when Kev passed by me on his way to the green room. The Commodore had the same set-up as the Bridge – mirror ball, DJ and disco music. Kevin had just blown out on Celebration for over ten minutes so I was upbeat. I said to KB how great that was and he replied in a manner that made me think he may have been stoned, “thanks man”.

The sad thing was that no one else at the venue was as appreciative as myself – they all seemed to be more interested in some dude playing his disco vinyl. Say what! Goodbye Tiger.

Rose Stereograph Co (1920). Bridge Hotel, Mordialloc, Vic. (1950’s?)
Mordialloc Hotel – Main Street (1929)
Rose Stereograph Co (1920). Mordialloc Hotel, Mordialloc, Vic. (1940’s?)

The only hotel actually in Mordialloc was known as Stanton’s (after Harry Stanton the publican). No live bands, but I do recall lounging out in the back bar on a Wednesday night with U/19 teammates enjoying a few frothies after training (an integral component of the training process back then – replenishment of fluids). One night was burned into the memory bank. There was a disagreement between the SP Bookie (Speedy) and a punter. A punch was thrown that connected with my poor old mate Austie, who happened to be leaning back on his chair nearby. The problem was his 3KZ (head) was situated half way between the origin of the haymaker and the intended target, Speedy. Laugh, I surely did – no one was harmed (Austie) in the fracas.

Those were the days my friends we thought they’d never end, but they did.


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