You Parked On The ROOF Of The Pub? by David McMahon

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You Parked On The ROOF Of The Pub? by 

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How could you resist composing a shot like this? Clear blue winter sky. Bright red roof. Highly visible yellow signs. And a laconic Aussie sign that says “Keep Right” while the arrow points left! 1,203 views on 9 November 2013.

This is the famous Ettamogah Pub, just outside Albury in New South Wales. I’ve stopped here many times and shot the pub in many different weather conditions, but when I stopped there briefly on June 5 this year (2009), the sky was flawless. It was also a marvellous counterpoint for the fresh red paint on the distinctive metal roof.

The Ettamogah Pub is based on a fictional pub in a famous Outback cartoon series. It all started with the late Ken Maynard, an Australian police officer who began contributing cartoons in 1958 to a magazine called “The Australasian Post”.

His fictional “Ettamogah Pub” – and its strong-jawed Outback drinkers in their blue singlets and shorts – became so famous that someone had the great idea of reconstructing the pub in real life.

Interestingly, the project posed a special problem for the architects because there were no right angles or straight lines in Maynard’s rendering!

The pub is a huge tourist attraction – despite the sign outside that proclaims with dry Aussie humour, "Free Beer Tomorrow’’.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F9.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 200, focal length 98mm.

Featured in METALLIC JUNKTION, August 2009.

Featured in PHOTOGRAPHY: RULE OF THIRDS, September 09.

Featured in ALPHABET SOUP, November 2009.

Featured in RURAL AROUND THE GLOBE, December 2009.


Featured in FOCUS ON NEW SOUTH WALES, August 2011.

TemoraJune 5-7262

Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • Betty Mackey
    Betty Mackeyover 5 years ago

    So much artistry ends up at a pub!

  • Thank you, Betty. You’re so right. I guess a lot of people who visit this pub don’t actually realise that the building is a faithful replica of Ken Maynard’s wonderful cartoons!

    – David McMahon

  • Jen Wahl
    Jen Wahlover 5 years ago

    LOL… that sign is funny! I love the contrast and comp, David. Great shot.

  • Thank you very much, Jen, for the comment and for the favourite. I guess this kind of composition isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I shot this angle because it was “different” from the normal view that most people want. My very humble thanks.

    – David McMahon

    JUSTARTover 5 years ago

    haha great shot

  • Thanks very much, JustArt – it’s a tight frame on an iconic Aussie sight – a slightly unusual viewpoint!

    – David McMahon

  • titus
    titusover 5 years ago

    this one packs a punch

  • Thank you very much, Titus. I was lucky with the colour of the sky that day!

    – David McMahon

  • John Vandeven
    John Vandevenover 5 years ago

    This is a great Aussie Icon and something that is great to shoot.
    I like the part of the pub you have chosen to capture.
    A great shot, full of colour and humour.

  • Thank you very much, John. That’s a great compliment. It’s always tough when trying to shoot a “different” view of a sight that is so iconic and so instantly recognisable. But that’s why I always welcome the challenge to think outside the square!

    – David McMahon

  • Larry Llewellyn
    Larry Llewellynover 5 years ago

  • Thank you, Larry. I was lucky that day – the perfect blue sky really dictated the composition. But yes, I’m delighted that you like the result. I have a lot to learn from experienced photographers like you.

    – David McMahon

  • Mark  Coward
    Mark Cowardover 5 years ago

    Fantastic. Very much my kind of photograph. Can’t help but feel it’s somewhere I’d be more than happy to visit.

  • Thank you very much, Mark. There’s a few of them now, dotted around the country – great testament to the power of Ken Maynard’s imagery. Glad you liked this shot.

    – David McMahon

  • scottimages
    scottimagesover 5 years ago

    Lovely to see this Aussie icon…… love your composition & all that brilliant colour!!

  • Thank you very much to you and your co-hosts for the honour, Rosemary. I guess it really validates my decision to use such an unusual composition. I was just very lucky with the clear blue (winter) sky that morning! It’s a place you would enjoy visiting, especially with its unusual history!

    – David McMahon

  • scottimages
    scottimagesover 5 years ago

    I’ve actually driven past this particular Ettamogah pub many, many times, but sadly never stopped. It’s sad how we can live with these important things & just take them for granted……
    I grew up reading the cartoons…… essential Australian literature! LOL!

  • So the next time you drive past ….. you’re going to stop, right?!! I’ve shot the pub about four times in the past four years and each time the light has been completely different and the results have been very interesting!

    – David McMahon

  • wingedwon
    wingedwonover 5 years ago

    Great find David, love the colours ad content

  • Thanks very much, Wayne. It’s a great place to photograph in any light.

    – David McMahon

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