Anger as residents lose homes, tunnel threatens iconic pub

admin | 杭州桑拿
4 Dec 2018

The new M5 interchange. Iconic: The Town & Country in a screen grab from the Slim Dusty video.

Plans for the new interchange include the acquisition of some 80 homes.

Uncertainty: Rita Davies, Ngaire Worboys and Peter Ross, with Marlow Ross, outside the Town & Country. They will lose their housese if a planned new feeder road to the M5 goes ahead. Photo: Janie Barrett

Like to have a beer with Duncan? Perhaps don’t drink at the Town And Country.

The St Peters pub, immortalised in the Slim Dusty song Duncan, faces an uncertain future because of the government’s – and Roads Minister Duncan Gay’s – plan for the WestConnex motorway.

“It would stuff our business, of course,” pub owner Brandon Lynch said.

“And being Slim Dusty’s pub, we can’t have that happen, can we? You know – iconic pub.”

St Peters residents gathered at the hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday after authorities door-knocked the neighbourhood to say about 80 homes around the pub would be acquired for widened roads, near where a six-lane motorway is planned to emerge in 2019.

Some were distraught on hearing their homes could be acquired. Others were incredulous as they tried to comprehend how congested local roads could accommodate traffic from a new motorway linking St Peters with Sydney’s south-west.

“I said to them I can’t see how they could do it; it would just be insane,” Mr Lynch said.

“The traffic would go nowhere; it would just stop at the WestConnex.”

North of the Town And Country, there are concerns for another landmark not mentioned in the Melbourne Cup day announcement of the new M5 East tunnel: King Street, Newtown.

“The concept plans, or what’s being discussed in the government’s glossy brochures, don’t really give you a great idea where the traffic is going to go,” said Mark Ely, president of the Newtown Precinct Business Association.

Mr Ely’s “greatest fear” was that traffic funnelled down King Street would lead to the extension of traffic clearways, something he said “would effectively kill King Street”.

“It would make King Street into another version of Parramatta Road as it is now,” Mr Ely said.

“We all know that Parramatta Road 50, 60 years ago was Sydney’s premier shopping strip. And then the car came along and the car got precedence and the clearways were introduced, and bang: Parramatta Road died.”

Mr Gay said the Town And Country would not be acquired.

He also rejected the idea traffic from the tunnel would overload roads around St Peters and Newtown.

Mr Gay said only one of three exit options would go to St Peters.

An eastern exit would also head to Gardeners Road and Mascot and a northern exit would head to Euston Road and Alexandria.

And there are plans to connect the M5 East tunnel with a new tunnel under Parramatta Road by 2023.


Mr Lynch said that even if the pub was not acquired, acquiring houses adjacent to it would destroy the business.

But he said the Roads Minister would be welcome to have a beer at the Town & Country and explain his plans to local residents.

However, the sentiment was not shared by neighbour Rita Davies on Wednesday. She will have to move out of her home of nine years when it is purchased for the road-widening.

“Duncan would not be my mate, and I would never drink with him, let me tell you,” Ms Davies said.

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