Oxford Tavern memories sought: share your stories, photos

The Oxford Tavern car park closed permanently on Friday afternoon, making way for construction on the towering new residential complex to be known as Oxford On Crown.

Demolition of the former Illawarra music mecca is expected to start in the next few weeks after investors were given the final tick of approval to go ahead with the $38 million development in March.

PSR Investments developer Robert Haung told the Mercury demolition and remediation of the site, including a former petrol station and an archaeological dig to uncover the site’s convict history, would start ‘‘in or before May’’.

With 59 fewer metered car parks now available, the start of demolition could also signal the beginning of an even tighter parking squeeze in the CBD.

As the last remains of the once lively pub - the flickering neon sign, the art deco facade and the slogan ‘‘you’ll love it in here’’ - will soon turn to rubble, the Mercury is calling on readers to submit their memories of the Oxford Tavern.

After opening in 1839 as Elliots Family Hotel and becoming The Oxford Hotel in 1916, it is one of the region’s last-standing drinking holes and occupies a special place in many people’s hearts.

Perhaps you were part of the thriving music scene which started in 1989 and was still going strong when  property developer Anthony Kosseris abruptly shut the pub’s doors in 2010.

Or maybe you remember the pub’s haunting earlier days, when licensee Lucy Barrows was found battered and strangled upstairs early one Monday morning in 1951.

Send your photos and memories to cos@illawarramercury.com.au or share them online or through our mobile app.

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