There’s nothing as quintessentially Australian than an Aussie pub. The recreated Ettamogah Pub at Table Top successfully encapsulates the ramshackle bush pubs of Aussie folk-lore.
Driving along the Hume Highway from Sydney to Melbourne, it would be easy to miss this quirky Aussie pub just 16 kilometres north of Albury. We certainly enjoyed a stop for a few quiet beverages at the Ettamogah Pub during our recent road trip.
We first visited the Ettamogah Pub with the kids on a road trip around 20 years ago. So we were keen to pop in for another visit and had the chance to recreate our empty-nester photo of the kids on the steps. Only this time it was the “fur-kids” we posed on the steps. They had plenty of time to have a run around on the grassy areas and a quick drink before we headed inside to look around.
Ettamogah Pub near Albury in 1999
Ken Maynard’s cartoons
Famous cartoonist, Ken Maynard regularly featured the fictitious “Ettamogah Pub” in his drawings. The name was inspired by a lake Ettamogah – aboriginal for “place of good drink”. Maynard thought this would be a good name for a pub. If you say “Ettamogah” backwards quickly, it also translates to “How ya goin’ mate”.
Maynards cartoons featured weekly in the Australasian Post for nearly 50 years from 1959. They highlighted the Australian sense of larrikinism. What better setting than an a bush pub?
The recreation of the cartoon pub was built in 1987 at Table Top, just outside of Albury. The aim was to provide a family friendly hotel road stop, which has become a local tourist attraction. The Ettamogah Pubs eventually grew to become a chain of theme pubs around Australia. However the original pub at Table Top still encapsulates the humour featured in Maynard’s cartoons.
Quirky bush pub
Blink and you’ll miss the small signs directing you on a short detour onto the old highway. You can’t miss the lopsided building, designed in keeping with the cartoon caricatures.
Lines from the famous cartoons are emblazoned on the sloping pub walls . A 1932 Chevrolet sits on the roof in a nod to a cartoon in the Ettamogah series. When a flood carried the car onto the roof, the owners couldn’t be bothered to get it down.
Wandering around the site you’ll find many quirky little features. From the dog kennel out the front, to the crashed Cessna in the beer garden and the public loos, you are surrounded by satire and humour.
The walls inside the pub are lined with Maynard cartoons, as a museum gallery of the cartoon pub on which the hotel was based.
Original Ken Maynard cartoons are featured in a gallery inside the pub
The Ettamogah Pub is a great place to stop for a beer and a counter meal without having to navigate the traffic and parking in Albury city. You can enjoy an Aussie pub “Parmy” or a traditional “bangers and mash” among the traditional “pub grub” on the menu.
Overnight camping at Ettamogah Pub
The site also offers cheap overnight campsites for highway travellers. There are basic toilet and shower facilities, in return for a small minimum spend at the bar. Sitting in the beer garden sipping a beer and wine, we could imagine just how easy it would be to pull up the caravan, then simply walk across to the pub for dinner and a few beers.
The Ettamogah Pub has reportedly had its ups and downs since we last visited, so were pleased to see it up and running again. Certainly worth a stop on a trip down the Hume Highway.