Goodbye Oxford Tavern : lyndal irons

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On August 7, 2013, Petersham's Oxford Tavern closed after offering decades of topless service and free live performances from showgirls 3-7 days a week. 

When I heard The Oxford was closing it was alarming to think it might just vanish. Love it or hate it, the bar was something you could point to in the area, our most famous landmark, a blacked out place you could create your own mythology around. 

My motivation was simple: I wanted to be there in its final moments and record as much as I could. 

Permission was granted to photograph with only two days until the doors closed. The first night was 17 performances from showgirls, a stripper reunion, decades of history, a thousand people I could not possibly know. Faces at every corner that seemed like they could only ever inhabit this place. On the second day just the most faithful staff and regulars gathered around the small amount of beer that hadn’t been drunk the night before.

These pictures are not an attempt to say anything definitive about a complex industry. They are 48 hours before something singular disappeared, grabbing moments where I could, meeting people as a collective before they dispersed. It’s a guestbook for those who frequented and a way of saying thank you – I had the most beautiful time.

For those who never went I hope these images are a window into a windowless place and a reminder to get to know the things in your neighbourhood that don’t exist anywhere else.