Hero Of Waterloo
Hidden in a quiet street (lower Fort) on a narrow corner, far from the
Maddening crowd, is the hotel known as the Hero of Waterloo. The hotel is so discrete that you hardly notice
the locals sipping their ale or having a beer or two from just below street level. The locals are more than
happy for you to pull up a bar stool to hear their stories of this unique little pub (believed to be one of
the oldest in Sydney). In fact they are quiet happy just to have a chat about practically anything.
Brief History of Hero of Waterloo
The original owner was the builder George Paton, who was also responsible for the building of the the
Garrison Church (1840) which can be found just up the road. Having purchased
the land from Johnathon Clarke (Shipwrights Arms, 1831), Paton, a stonemason by trade, built 'Hero of Waterloo'
from sandstone, which had been quarried by those poor convicts of the Argyle Cut and also nearby Kent Street. It
wasn't surprising that it became the favourite drinking hole for the Garrison troops.
In those days it wasn't safe to get too drunk in this hotel. As the story goes, a tunnel under the 'Hero' was
used as an involuntary recruitment for sailors. Many a young man found himself on the high seas following a hard
night of drinking at the 'Hero'. Drunks would be dropped through a trap door into the cellar, dragged through the
tunnel to awake the next morning at sea, shanghaied aboard a clipper. If you ask the staff nicely they might let
you have a little look down in the basement where a maze of tunnels suggest the rumours and legends are true. The
tunnels which lead to the wharves at Walsh Bay were also popular for rum smuggling (the currency of the day) .
If you closely on the walls of the hotel you will find initials carved into some of the sandstone blocks. These
initials are said to be those of convicts who worked at the Argyle Cut.