Albany was called Lucas Creek until 1891. It was named after Daniel Lucas, a whaler who’d come ashore and set up a flax mill here in 1840.
The name was changed because upright, decent settlers where unhappy about the reputation the hamlet had gained both for illegal whiskey distilling and for harbouring deserted sailors and other “er do wells” who, it seems, were able to melt into the background here while they earned a bob or two as labourers. The muddy, tidal stream that slides under State Highway No 1 north of the village is still called Lucas creek.
The Albany, which over the years has had several different trading names including The Wayside Inn, the Albany Pub, the Old Albany Pub and The Albany Inn. Today its trading name is The Albany and long may it stay this way.
The building it self is hardly reminiscent of the typical classic historical New Zealand pub however it has a certain solid dignity that gives it distinction and lifts it out of the ordinary.
It is a sort of place inviting with a touch of class about its shape and decor. From its surrounding garden bar and grounds right through to the early 1930’s construction with high pitched roof lines and solid native timber floors and surrounds.
Local history sets 1847 as the year the first pub in Lucas creek. It was called the Warfside Inn. It burned down in 1886; the same year that the first pub was built on what is now the site of The Albany.
It was built by William Stevenson, whose descendants still live in Albany and it was named the bridge Hotel In honour of what turned out to be a succession of bridges which were repeatedly washed away by floods until something more reliable was constructed in 1906, the present, and totally inadequate, concrete “Hotel Bridge” has stood since 1935.
The Albany was built in 1936 so is actually quite young in architecture years. It was rebuilt following a fire and a decision was to redevelop and build a hotel with accommodation. One hopes that it will, in future years, continue to be looked after as well as it is today for it represents that generation of good old Kiwi pubs that will succeed the pioneer classics of the nineteenth century.