In naming our brewery and beer brands, significant consideration has been given to pay tribute to the history of Gosford RSL. The chosen name for Gosford RSL’s brewery reflects its heritage in being named after the Fagans’ house, ‘Oak Haven’.
The brewery’s first pale ale has been named in memory of the initial members who were a little cheeky and ‘sly’ in exchanging coupons for alcohol in the basement, by being named, ‘Sly Grog’. The brewery’s first dark ale has been named to capture the essence of the basement bar in the original Gosford RSL premises, being named ‘The Bolthole’, ie a place where people retreat to get away from normal life and escape from other people.
Our story in the Gosford area dates back to the Fagan family. As early settlers, their interests included farming, citrus orchards, timber, cattle and champion race horses. They were the first to grow oranges locally and they lived at what is now known as Henry Kendall Cottage.
Ernest White was the founder of Gosford RSL. The first RSL members would meet at the Brisbane Water District Club at the rear of the Anglican Church in Broadwater Avenue. The land was donated by Dr James Paul who provided the premises on the condition that no liquor was to be sold there.
The crafty members complied with this condition to the letter by buying coupons which were then exchanged for beer or spirits at the bar to ensure that no alcohol was technically ‘sold’. The bar was a basement full of beer. Beer was hard to come by so it was transported from Lithgow and Mudgee. It became known as ‘Mudgee Mud’ due to its taste and texture. It was recorded that a blowfly once came out of a beer bottle at the end of being consumed, reinforcing the thickness and mud like qualities of the beer.
Fire gutted the Gosford RSL on 22 January in 1973. The club then purchased the Galaxy Motel in West Gosford which was owned by a Hungarian immigrant, Zoltan Kamenitzky. Originally, the land belonged to George and Agnes Fagan. The Fagan’s stone house on the land was called 'Oak Haven'.
With a strong brand heritage that clearly differentiates Gosford RSL, all current and future brand names sitting within the Oak Haven Brewing Co brand should support its unique history and the characteristics of the founders and members.