top of page
IMG_3516(Group1) PRC11 Draft1.jpg

Ginger Beer Brewers N.S.W.  |




Ginger Beer Brewery

Gloucester Street, Sydney (1838-39)


Three Jolly Sailors, Gloucester Street, Sydney (1839 -1841)

Prince of Wales Inn, Gloucester Street, Sydney (1842-1843)

Coach and Horses Inn, corner of Cumberland and Essex Street, Sydney (1846-1847)

Cornish Arms, Lower George Street, Sydney (1847-1849)

Liverpool Arms, George Street, Sydney (1849-1852)







Base Diameter






Ginger Beer Bottle Fragment

Courtesy John Van Tilburg


Leak Pottery II

Moreton Pottery II

Provenanced Example

304 Kent Street, Sydney (Higginbotham & Associates)


Nicholas Bray, 1813-1854, was born in Cornwall and made several trips to Australia. His mother and many of his siblings also removed to Australian Colonies. [i]Bray divulged, at the time of his wedding in 1835, that he had arrived per the William Metcalfe, September 1834, presumably as crew as he was not listed as a passenger. Bray held a position in the Sydney Police as a patrolman from February to October 1835, he obtained permission to marry convict Judith Kelly (per Surry 1833) in June that year.[ii] 

Bray returned from a trip to London in 1837 and he is listed as a ginger beer brewer by 1838.[iii] Bray’s leased residence and ginger beer brewery in Gloucester Street was offered for sale in February 1839. Bray purchased his premises, and the adjoining, and licenced his house in April 1839 as the Three Jolly Sailors. The old inn and former brewery were resumed in 1902 and demolished. The Punch Bowl Inn, also purchased by Bray but licenced to Coss, was next door to the north and continued trading (This lot shown in 1833 plan, Lot 15 formerly Cribb's).[iv]

The Three Jolly Sailors Inn was not licensed in the 1841-42 licence year and was possibly renamed the Prince of Wales Inn for the 1842-43 licence year, however, Bray did not continue that license in 1843-44. His ginger beer brewery may have continued throughout this period.[i]

Bray held an auction at his property in January 1844 for household goods, carpenters tools and ginger beer bottles for sale prior to his leaving the colony.[ii]Bray and family members sailed for London in February 1844 though they returned in January 1846.[iii]

In the 1846-47 license year, Bray ran the Coach & Horses in Cumberland Street at the corner of Essex Street. The next licence year he removed to the former Blue Posts, renamed the Cornish Arms, in Lower George Street, he retained the license until September 1849 though in July most of the fittings and fixtures were auctioned, including a quantity of ginger beer bottles.[iv]Part way through the licence year the refurbished Liverpool Arms, nearby in Lower George Street, was transferred to Bray.[v] He held that license until March 1852 before selling up and removing to Neutral Bay for a period.

Judith Bray died in December 1852 at Neutral Bay on the North Shore. Bray then married Harriett Body, who was also from a Cornish family, in 1853, and the couple moved to Albert Cottage on George Street in Redfern. Harriet was previously employed at the Liverpool Arms.[vi]Bray wrote a will in 1853 and when he died at Redfern in 1854 his estate was valued at £10,ooo. Bray retained two large houses in Gloucester Street.[vii]

Full references available upon request.

© Martin Carney


Read On...
bottom of page