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Bar Maidens

There has always been something about the oil painting of the nude, hung over the Public Bar, that just seemed to complete the Picture. It is a part of Australian Pub culture and history.

Perhaps it takes us back to the days when the Men had the sanctuary of the Public Bar and the Ladies gathered in the saloon area. As we travel around Pubs we can see that there aren't as many pub maidens adorning our Bars as there once were. However she still survives and still inspires the regulars to pen poetry and sing ditties in praise of their best girl that they never met.

Do you have a Bar Maiden Picture you have taken in a Pub? Submissions are very welcome.


Young and Jackson's Hotel

Perhaps the most famous, notorious, well loved, well hung and controversial painting in Australia. Chloe was painted in 1875 by Jules Lefebvre (1836-1911) and was exhibited to great popular acclaim winning gold medals in the Paris Salon of 1875, the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879 and the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880.

She was purchased in 1882 by a surgeon, Thomas Fitzgerald (later Sir Thomas) and subsequently loaned to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Jules Lefebvre Oil on Canvas 1875

In 1883, after three weeks of exhibition she fell victim to Victoria's "wowserism" (puritanical fanaticism) when outraged citizens objected to seeing the naked female form displayed on the Sabbath. Upon the Death of Sir Thomas in 1908 "Chloe" was purchased by Henry Figsby Young, an ex-digger turned hotel proprietor, for a considerable sum (we believe it was £100). One story relates that Henry took the painting back to his home above Young and Jackson's Hotel and hid it from his wife.

While he was away and she was "spring cleaning", the irate wife discovered it and banished it to the public bar, which ironically turned it into a smash hit. It has remained there ever since, apart from touring Australia to raise funds for the Red Cross during world war 1 and being loaned as the centre-peice for the exhibition "Narratives, nudes and landscapes" at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1995.

As for the model "Chloe", she had posed for the painting when she was 19, had subsequently fallen in love with Jules Lefebvre and when the artist married her sister, she was devastated. She bottled up phosphorous match heads, drank the poisonous concoction and died tragically at 21. Or so they say.



Kilkivan Hotel, Kilkivan, Qld

An oil painting that hangs on the wall
beside the bar in the Kilkivan Pub. She was featured in the the Poem "The Old Kilkivan Pub" which was penned by a local. The full version of
the poem is available from the pubs pages.

"On one wall you'll see a painting of a girl who's got the lot While a silken swirl is covering all the most strategic spots The locals tell the story of an old bloke every day
Who spent fifteen years just waiting for the silk to blow away"

The Top Paddock

The Top Paddock

Captains Flat Hotel NSW

This painting is a large one, over a metre square and hangs proudly over the Bar. An original oil by a local artist.

This girl keeps her boots and hat on.



Golden Age Hotel, Gympie, Qld

Another really big painting. A rare print that hangs on the wall at the end of the Bar.

Dianna was the roman Goddess of Hunting. Hence the bows and arrows and birds.

Beach Maiden

Palace Hotel, Ravensthorpe, W.A.

Discovered keeping an eye on the drinkers by Simon on the last trip to WA whilst checking out the local pubs.
Not much more we can tell you at this stage about this Bar Maiden.

Except maybe that there is a definate emphasis on beach wear in the West.
Even if the beach is over a cliff, 50 kilometers away.

Leda and the Swan

Leda and the Swan

Beauy Pub Beaudesert Qld

"Crabbie" About 1.2metres wide.

This oil is by renowned sportsman and artist Des Crabbe. "Crabbie" who is also Publican of the Beauy Pub. When you visit there you will find his art adorning the Bars and the walls. Crabbie was visiting the Louvre' in Paris when he saw the original "Leda and the Swan" (Leonardo Da Vinci, 1505) on display.

Liking it he asked how much to buy it and was told that he wouldn't get much change out of $30million. "I'll take a couple" he said. Anyway, not to be outdone by Leonardo and wanting Leda on the Pub wall he returned and painted his own version of the continuing adventures of this likely couple.

The original but not necessarily more famous version of Leda and the Swan by Leonardo whatsisname

Sabeane and the Flame

Sabeane and the Flame

Also from the Beau-y Pub

"Crabbie" 1.5 metres wide

This Crabbie original oil on canvas relates the story of Sabeane who is the keeper of the flame in the convent. Soon to adorn the Pubs new dining room.

Visit the Beau-y Pub to see Crabbies Aussie animals and his other works of art.
And to say G'day to Crabbie and have a beer of course.Top bloke. He will give you a tour and have a yarn.
Check the Pubs page.

Glengarry Castle Lass

Glengarry Castle Lass

Glengarry Castle Hotel, Redfern Sydney, NSW

Debated around the bar as possibly being a portrait of a well known customer of the Hotel. Painted 1940's to 1950's.



Royal Exhibition Hotel, Surrey Hills, Sydney, NSW

Named Tigerlilly after the tiger in the portrait background and reportedly the models name was Lilly.