The Gallon Licence Store – Short History
The Gallon Licence Store is constructed on the original track leaving form the 1870’s Katherine River Crossing and is part of original Katherine Town area. The store was one of the four buildings erected at the site of the Sportsman’s Hotel which stared as a shantytown in the early 1870’s to cater for the expected business generated by the Overland Telegraph Line and repeater station.
Located south east of the Overland Telegraph line crossing and repeater station the shanty pub operated until 1888, when Bernard Murphy received permission from Charles Todd to build a Hotel, The sportsman’s’ Hotel and store at the crossing on the Telegraph Reserve. Amenities were stated in the NT Times and Gazette in 1888, Almanac as being Sportsman Hotel and General Store Bernard Murphy.
The Township was associated with a number of pioneering familles and individuals and commercial enterprises involving Bernard Murphy, Tom Pearce “Mine Host” of We of the Never Never fame, George McKeddie, PR Allen and accompany and mounted constable Kingston, a police trooper. Bernard Murphy built a brand new store, the current Gallon Licence Store in 1891 and in 1893 he sold out the sportsman Hotel and Pioneer Cash Store to PR Allen and Co, who engaged Tom Pearce to be their manager.
Tom had travelled to Katherine to attend to the affairs of his brother Fred, killed in and accident. The accident occurred while working on the Overland Telegraph. He got crushed between a tree and the wagon and later died due to the injuries, not far out of Katherine.
Tom Planted Baobab Trees seeds given to him by Hughie Young of Bradshaw’s Run the trees survive to this day.
In the early 50’s Frank Lansdown brought land along the River bank including the Old Sportsman Arms Hotel. After Frank passed away it was passed down to his daughter Ruth who keeps the old store in maculate condition and Ruth and her son use the Gallon for the pottery exhibitions every year in November.
In 2006 the store had its own fame and the film crew set up the old Gallon Store as the General Store for the movie in “Rogue” using locals as their fill in tourists.