Wednesday, 18 December 2013


SLY GROG SHOP. Source: history up close.
As you probably are aware, the blog posts are about outback and colonial Australia. The posts always feature a family member and will continue to do so. My family are an interesting and notorious bunch, they’ve come in many shades;  pioneers, participants in history-making events, hard drinkers, horse riders, reckless, storytellers, making fortunes, losing fortunes, thieves, gentry, convicts, soldiers. Last but not least, entrepreneurial.   

My ancestor, Daniel Geary had been a convict, policeman and hero during his time, but in the next phase of his adventurous life, he was also an entrepreneur. Instead of sitting on his porch nursing his invalided shoulder, regaling visitors with stories of shootouts with convicts, Daniel went into business. Well, it was a business but it wasn’t legal. Daniel bought a farm and set up a sly-grogging business (moonshining).  He did very well even with a stuffed shoulder.
Gold had been discovered and the miners didn’t mind a drop. Daniel did so well, that the authorities were soon alerted to a “drink craze” going on in the district. When Daniel was tipped off that he was soon going to be raided, he shut up business and went into a legitimate one. He bought a pub.
GEARY'S GAP. Source:ozroads.
Daniel built the pub on the busy road to Sydney, at the top of a range, overlooking Lake George. The area is now known as Geary’s Gap. Calling the pub, The Currency Lad, he served many a thirsty traveller after they had reached the top of the range. They arrived on horses, on foot or by coaches. He certainly picked the right location. Geary’s Gap was also a great location for the bushrangers to ply their trade. Travellers were often relieved of their valuables by the bushrangers at Geary’s Gap. Daniel Geary didn’t mind as he also used to serve the thirsty bushrangers ! Who knows, maybe he even tipped off the bushrangers.

Daniel sold the pub after running it for ten years and became pound keeper in a place called Gundaroo (near modern day Canberra). Sadly, it didn’t end well for Daniel and his wife Bridget, as they lived out their days in an alcoholic haze, both succumbing to the effects of the grog. Ironic isn't it.

Next blog: a bush Christmas.        

No comments:

Post a Comment