By Adam Daff

One of Sydney’s infamous pubs reopened this week amid workmen scrabbling to get last minute jobs finished and patrons filing in for a beer with a free sausage sandwich.

It’s the first time in more than a year that punters have been able to get a beer at the Iron Duke Hotel.

‘The Duke’ has continued to be the subject of ongoing debate at council and state government level since its doors were shut in March 2008. The pub was forced to close after a water main burst on nearby Botany Road, flooding the basement and leaving the building unstable.

The campaign to help the pub re-open also hit the airwaves with talk-back radio station 2GB raising $100,000 in donations, which included cash, labour and building materials.

Iron Duke general manager Max Bowen estimated the pub had lost more than $2 million in trade since the doors closed.

The Iron Duke’s location alone makes it a talking point, as it sits in one of the oldest parts of Sydney – on the corner of Botany Road and McEvoy Street – near the home ground of the South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league club.

The Iron Duke was owned by Neddy Smith, one of Australia’s most notorious underworld figures, and frequented by the likes of Roger Rogerson. Indeed, a signed portrait of Rogerson still sits in the pool room alongside other sporting paraphernalia as well as another picture signed by Chopper Reid and Mark ‘Wacko Jacko’ Jackson.

In an area that has many pubs, the Iron Duke continued to be one of the best known owing in large part to its support of local sporting teams, including the Harlequins rugby union team.

“This is great and I can’t say enough about some of the help I’ve had from the trade,” said Bowen.

The Shout Team

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