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Last drinks for ‘world’s toughest pub’

The Pier Hotel in Port Hedland is about to shut its doors after the iconic pub was listed for sale. Picture: Supplied
The Pier Hotel in Port Hedland is about to shut its doors after the iconic pub was listed for sale. Picture: Supplied

An Aussie pub that locals claims to hold the record for the most stabbings in one night is about to shut its doors after it was listed for sale in one of the nation’s most iconic mining towns.

The Pier Hotel in the Pilbara town of Port Hedland, located about 1627km north of Perth, has a sordid past and became known as “the world’s toughest pub” thanks to British journalist John Dyson, who documented his visit to the bar in the 1970s.

According to locals, the pub’s reputation is because 86 people were stabbed there in one night, including six barmaids.

Port Hedland’s Pier Hotel became infamous in the 1970s after British writer John Dyson wrote a 2000-word article about the pub. Picture: Supplied
Port Hedland’s Pier Hotel became infamous in the 1970s after British writer John Dyson wrote a 2000-word article about the pub. Picture: Supplied

Port Hedland is Western Australia’s second biggest mining town that exports about 520m tonnes of iron ore each year. It is a busy place packed with miners and blue collar workers.

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The current publican Lynne has owned the pub for the past 20 years and decided it was time to sell so she could spend more time with family in New Zealand.

But it is the pub’s sordid past that has tongues wagging thanks to Dyson, who documented his visit in a 2000-word article.

A man at London’s Australia House told the adventurous writer, “It’s reckoned to be the roughest and toughest pub in the country.

“They pack around the bar 50 or 60 deep.

“I’ll give you one bit of free advice: If someone pours beer into your pocket for God’s safe don’t hit the bastard.”

A flight attendant told him it was the “the only place I’ve seen intercourse in public, right there on the doorstep.

“You’ll have to watch your step mate.”

The pub is about to close its doors after it was listed for sale earlier this year. Picture: Supplied
The pub is about to close its doors after it was listed for sale earlier this year. Picture: Supplied

When Dyson finally made it to the Pier, he noted the pub sold about 6000 glasses of beer a day, turning over more than £1m a year.

“It’s a measure of the style of drinking that every day about 90 glasses are broken (33,000 a year) and half the entire stock has to be replaced every month,” he wrote.

Knight Frank agent Corey Dell’Olio confirmed the sale was under contract.

Mr Dell’Olio said the pub had a lot of interest after it went on the market at the start of the year, with the sale expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.

The iconic Pilbara pub is loved by locals, miners and blue collar workers in the area. Picture: Supplied
The iconic Pilbara pub is loved by locals, miners and blue collar workers in the area. Picture: Supplied

“When you speak to locals there are quite the stories about what the pub was like,” he said.

“A lot of people still love the pub for what it is. Even in the early 2000s it used to be packed out with rock concerts.

“The locals enjoy that sort of blokes pub still and the blue collar workers are a little bit disappointed to see the Pier go.

“I’ve been up a couple of times now and when you go there for the first time it is quite the place.

“I was there on a Tuesday arvo and it was busy with all the locals having a good time. I’m sure it is quite the place on a Saturday night, especially back in its heyday.”