The Toxteth is a hotel on Glebe Point Road in Sydney. Cliff Hardy probably called it a pub. Hardy was the hero of numerous crime novels by Peter Corris (1942-2018), an academic with a Phd in history from ANU, a journalist and a novelist of historical and crime fiction. He was the doyen of Australian crime-writers, and his most popular books were those featuring Hardy, a knockabout chap, raised in beachside Maroubra, ex-army, law school dropout, insurance investigator turned private eye. Hardy proved to be a fruitful source of inspiration, resulting in 35 novels and seven collections of stories. His widow, Jean Bedford, also a noted writer, has published a collection: See You at the Toxteth: The Best of Cliff Hardy and Corris on Crime (Allen & Unwin).
Cliff Hardy loved the Toxteth. The hotel took its name from the Toxteth Estate, a late 19th century subdivision of Toxteth Park, the centrepiece of which was an 1829 marine villa designed by John Verge for George Allen, the first person to qualify as a lawyer in Australia. My paternal ancestors had a house on the Toxteth Estate and now several of my descendants live there in a late-19th century villa. The Verge house remains as part of St Scholastica’s School; the Estate is regarded as one of Sydney’s most important turn-of-the-century townscapes. The Toxteth is still a lively pub, certainly the spiritual home of Cliff Hardy and possibly his creator Peter Corris.
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