*Harry’s Cafe de Wheels for an “Australian Meat Pie” on Australia Day
Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is an iconic pie cart located in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on Cowper Wharf Road, near the Finger Wharf and Fleet Base East of Garden Island Navy Base, opposite the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel.
Harry’s Cafe de Wheels i(pictured above) s an iconic pie cart located in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on Cowper Wharf Road, near the Finger Wharf and Fleet Base East of Garden Island Navy Base, opposite the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel.
They are best known for their dish “Tiger Pie”, a type of Australian meat pie named after the original founder of Harry’s.
(Other Harry’s Cafe de Wheels operate in Burwood, Darling Harbour, Haymarket, Liverpool, Newcastle (using a converted Sydney R-Class Tram), Parramatta, Penrith, Ultimo, Wetherill Park, Woodbine and Tempe. There is also an outlet in Shenzhen, China.)
Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is a moveable food van, similar to those found at funfairs, with a hung awning. It has been moved a number of times in its history but the van is now permanently fixed on a masonry base. The caravan walls have been decorated with custom painted murals by Alan Puckett, a motoring art specialist. The inside walls of the cart are decorated with pictures and murals of famous visitors.
The site is considered a Sydney icon and an institution in the local area. The significance of the location is reflected by its inclusion on the New South Wales National Trust register.
The 1945 version of Harry’s Pie Cart, retired after 40 years of use, is now located in the Powerhouse Museum collection.
Harry’s pies are supplied from Hannah’s Pies, its factory in the inner city suburb of Ultimo.
Harry “Tiger” Edwards opened the original caravan cafe, named simply Harry’s, near the gates of the Woolloomooloo Naval Yard in 1938. He served with the Second Australian Imperial Force in World War II, during which time the cafe was not operational. The cart re-opened upon his return from the war in 1945.
The name Cafe de Wheels came about because of the requirement from the city council that mobile food caravans had to move a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm) each day. (The cart has been moved to various locations on Cowper Wharf Road, mostly due to re-development work in the Woolloomooloo Bay area. Local legend tells that the name was temporarily changed to Cafe de Axle at one point when the wheels were stolen.)
As the years passed, ‘Harry’s Cafe de Wheels’ gained new fame as a tourist attraction.
A visit to the caravan became a ‘must’ for visiting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, and Marlene Dietrich. In 1974, Colonel Sanders stopped at Harry’s and enjoyed the food so much that he ate three ‘pies and peas’ while leaning on his walking stick in front of the caravan. A picture of Sanders taken during the visit still hangs in the caravan today.
Harry’s specializes today in the same basic food that was popular back in the 1940s, such as pies and mushy peas. During the 1970s Harry’s introduced hot dogs, mostly to appease the American sailors.
The pies and hotdogs available on the menu include:
- The famous Tiger pie and its variations (Bacon and Cheese Tiger, Veggie Tiger)
- Pie and peas
- Seafood pie
- Hot dog with veggies
- Hot dog de wheels
- Chilli dog
“Today on Australia Day,..or any day for that matter,…You can treat yourself to a Tiger Pie… rich succulent pie topped with creamy mashed potato and mush peas all smothered with a rich gravy. Absolutely divine and excellent value for money. Down by the naval base too so some nice views.”
*The Sydney Times editorial team acknowledge the use of Wikipedia Resources in this article