The original Builder's Arms Hotel building, c. 1890-1900
The original Builder's Arms Hotel building, c. 1890-1900 - held at State Library of Victoria,

Builder's Arms Hotel

Gertrude St has been home to as many as 14 hotels throughout its history, with many of these established in the 1850s and 1860s as the suburb began its initial expansion. The Builder’s Arms is one of the few which has continuously traded as a hotel since its opening in 1852. The hotel has been strongly associated with Aboriginal political activism, particularly from the 1940s to the 1980s, and acted as a community hub within the wider network of Koori-run community services and meeting places along this part of Gertrude Street throughout the late 20th century. The Builder’s Arms was a place for informal meetings but was also used as a venue for formal political activism, such as meetings of the Aboriginal Congress and Australian Aborigines’ League during the 1960s, and meetings of Black Power activists including Bruce McGuinness, Gary Murray, and Gary Foley. The Aboriginal History of Yarra site is an important resource for the area’s Aboriginal history, including video interviews, documentaries, and a walking tour of key sites of significance: ABC Radio National's 2010 documentary "The Black Mile," about the Koori history of Gertrude Street, is available to stream here: The website includes a gallery of photos of the Builder's Arms and other significant sites along the street.

by laurenpiko on Feb. 26, 2019

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