Hotels of Bega

  1. The Metropolitan Hotel

The Metropolitan Hotel

The Metroplitan dates from the late 1800’s and was opened by James Hutton formerly of the Royal Hotel. Some of the known early licensees were: Walter St Leon 1892, Charles Wynne 1901 and F Russell in 1902. During the tenure of Charles Wynne water tanks were erected for use by the fire brigade on what is now the Coles site.

1. The Royal Hotel


(No longer Standing)

The Royal Hotel was situated in Gipps St. on the site of the present BP Service Station. Built by Nicholas Bouquet it ceased operation in 1917 after approximately 40 years of trading. The Royal had a strong association with the racing fraternity with a number of its publicans being racing men. The Royal was frequented by large gangs of road workers who came to work in the district. At one point, the Royal was selling the cheapest beer in town which in  turn forced the other hotels to lower their prices. It was later used as a boarding house and private home. The building was still standing in August 1946 when a strong gale damaged part of the roof.

2. The Central Hotel

The Central Hotel – 2

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Architecturally, the Central shows evidence of Victorian, Federation and Art Deco styles. The two major periods of construction were late Victorian, when the building was first constructed (1895), then Art Deco alterations during the 1930’s, principally to the facade. The Victorian roofing pattern and chimneys can be seen behind the current facade.

Of particular note is the archway leading from the street to the stables at the rear of the building. “The stables (built of brick) which are 88ft x 25ft, contain 4 horse boxes, 8 stalls and 2 harness rooms. The boxes and stalls are paved with wooden blocks. There are lofts over the whole length of the stables, and an extensive buggy shed along the side.” Bega Standard 2 July 1895.  The yard accommodation was so great that an eight-in-hand could easily turn in it. The stables remain in good original condition.

The site, including Connelly’s store built 1887, was purchased by Daniel Gowing, an important early settler to the district. The store was then reconstructed into the larger hotel by Thatcher and Underhill.

At the turn of the 20th century the Central was an important stopping point for commercial travelers. During 1907, 1908 and 1911 it also enjoyed the patronage of the Govenor-General and was described as the leading commercial house of the South Coast, (Bega Budget 1907, Southern Star 1911).

By 1930, extensive renovations were completed when the bar was removed to the lower portion of the building and by 1937 over 7000 pounds was spent in transforming the appearance and renovating the interior. Most of this occurred after Tooheys Brewery purchased the license. From 1947 to 1992 the Central operated as a private hotel and has at various times since, operated as a function centre.

3. The Bega Hotel


Mr Charles Fox Hotel Begs is building extensions to the hotel. He purchased the buildings of the Hergenhan Estate adjoining and will have them reconstructed and added to the hotel. The Hotel Begs will then be one of the most commodious and up-to-date on the coast.

Club Hotels

The Club Hotel was a two storied wooden building on the corner of Carp and Church Streets built in the late 1800’s. It was often referred to as the Rose Hotel as it had a prolific rose climbing up the side of the building. The Club was first operated by the McNamara family changing hands a number of times afterwards. In 1887 a fire started in the hotel stables which was extinguished by a bucket brigade after Edward Brown raised the alarm by ringing the Bell of St. Johns (Anglican Church) at theother end of Church St. The Hotel closed on Friday 10th September 1909 and the building housed a drapery run by Rodd and Cheg until the Depression. It was subsequently remodeled and operated as the Neon Cafe for many years. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the building was further remodeled to the building that exists today.

5. The Imperial & Club Hotels


The Imperial & Club Hotels – 5a & 5b

(No longer standing)

The Imperial Hotel (formerly known as Victoria House) in Carp St. was a three storied wooden building, run by the Murphy family. In 1882 the building boasted 21 rooms. On 16th April 1910 the following advertisement appeared in the Candelo Guardian. “Sale of the Imperial Hotel on account of the estate of P Cahill (dec). Centrally situated, valuable. Lot 39 sub division of Lot 17. Presently occupied by Mr J H Beresford, the license expires 26 May 1911. A large wooden 3-storied building containing 20 rooms. detached wooden building of 5 rooms. Also slab stables and outhouses. Rental 208 pounds p.a. Frontage to Carp St. 49ft x 134ft depth.

The building became Morgan’s Imperial Store until demolished.

4. The Commercial Hotel

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In January 1882, the Commercial Hotel was opened by Mr Edward Brown, being taken over by Maria Brown in 1893. In July 1896, the Commercial Hotel license was transferred from Maria Brown to Marcus Hume from New Zealand and was called Hume’s Commercial Hotel until November 1899. In August 1904, contractors, Underhill and Thatcher constructed a wooden addition to the Commercial. In August 1906, Mr H. A. Watson became the proprietor, coming from the Delegate Hotel. He ran the Commercial until January 1916, when he was replaced by joseph Solomon of Cathcart. In January 1921, Joseph Solomon was replaced by Mr Monty Burke. A new roof was finished in October 1935. The Commercial Hotel was known as Brady’s Commercial Hotel for 50 years.

6. The Bank Hotel


The Bank Hotel is one of the mainstays of the Bega commercial landscape, established in the 19th century with the position of proprietor changing frequently. Mr William Rowley is recorded as the licensee in 1882. In February 1897, a new proprietor, Mr F. A. Hall made additions of a dining room, lounge and six new bedrooms with Mrs Ann Kelly buying the business in November 1899. In October 1912, the Bank Hotel was carried on by Miss Underhill after her brother Henry Underhill’s death, with a private sale of the license, lease, stock and trade in December 1912 to Mr J. C. Behl. In December 1923, it was sold to Mr and Mrs Jim Kelly, who sold to Mr Clancy before moving to Sydney. Mr R. W. Thatcher and Sons began to build more bedrooms on the hotel, and in March 1924, Mr Clancy was complimented on the improvement of the appearance. In July 1928, Mr Clancy sold the business to Mr Tom De Gruchy of Sydney. Mr Clancy and family had been at the Bank for some years and made many improvements to the hotel. The Bank has a bistro, seating up to 90 in comfort, with two open fires and a ully airconditioned bar area.

7. The Family Hotel

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Built speculatively c1858 by Surveyor Bransby, the Family Hotel soon became a popular  establishment with James Rixon (from the Crown and Anchor at Eden) as its first proprietor. In the early 1860’s Rixon sold to Thomas Underhill with the Underhill family running the hotel till about 1922  “A most striking and serviceable addition to the old Family Hotel approached completion in January 1900.It formed the front of the old house occupying the triangular frontage ground, giving it a south and west entrance to the bar, which is of the O.G. (ogee = S) shape and approached through a vestibule; and the bar room would be fitted with the latest style of mirrors etc. The lantern light, the most striking portion of the improvements from a distance, gave a flood of light to the main corridor… The house was now able to struggle with the large patronage that is bestowed upon it, besides having a most presentable appearance and we congratulate the popular owner of the business. The improvements were in the hands of those most competent tradesman, Messrs. Underhill and Thatcher.” In 1977 the Bega Valley Historical Society purchased the building from the Estate of Harry Scanes.

Family Hotel

A most striking and serviceable addition to the old Family Hotel is

just approaching completion.It forms the front of the old house occupying the triangular frontage ground, giving it a south and west entrance to the bar, which is of the O.G. (ogee – S-shaped) shape and approached through a vestibule; and the bar room will be fitted with the latest style of mirrors etc  The lantern light, the most striking portion of the improvements from a distance, gives a flood of light to the main corridor. “Borrowed lights” are also introduced to the corridor, and the “augmenters” assist in diffusing light throughout.A parlour and a bed-room occupy the respective sides of the bar.Of course the old bar is now devoted to other use. The house will now be able to struggle with the large patronage that is bestowed upon it, besides having a most presentable appearance and we congratulate the popular owner of the business. The improvements were in the hands of those most competant tradesmen, Messrs. Underhill and Thatcher.

Bega free press. Friday 12 january 1900

8. The Victoria Inn


The oldest extant building in Bega.

The first substantial building on the northern side of the river, the Victoria Inn was built by Mrs Annie White in 1858. It was the first brick residence with the bricks being kilned on site by William White , Annies son. The Inn effectively served as ?Bega’s Civic Centre? as meetings, church services and at times Court were held there.

In 1860 the Inn was advertised for sale in the Sydney Morning Herald as boasting: ?five bedrooms, tap room, kitchen with servants room, stables, cow bails, pig sties, [and] wash house?. No sale eventuated.

The name of the Victoria Inn changed to the Queens Hotel in 1888 and was sold to James Cochrane in 1901. James divided the building into two separate private cottages down the central hallway. The separation can be clearly seen today. Part of the Inn (now building no. 38) served as the Senior Boy’s Hostel for the Bega High School. In later years Mumbulla Shire occupied part of the building. It is now a private residence.

9. The Grand Hotel

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 Originally the site of the Occidental Hotel, a two storey wooden building, constructed in 1875-76.  It was built by Nicholas Bouquet and Pat Maher for William Britten. The Premier, Sir Henry Parkes, stayed at the Occidental when in Bega. It ceased trading in 1908 when the license was surrendered and later opened as the Phillip’s Temperance Hotel, also known as the Bega Hostel and the Occidental Guest House . In December 1937, the Occidental was demolished to make way for a new hotel being built by Tooheys Ltd subsequently known as the Grand.  Mr Maurice Stevens, the last licensee of the Family Hotel gave up the license to the Grand Hotel in 1939. The hotel features Art deco detailing and a central round corner tower. The building contains sixteen motel units and five ordinary motel rooms, with a Chinese restaurant accompanying the hotel’s bistro.

This walk is designed to start from Littleton Gardens between the main car parking areas, and complete a loop of the CBD.

Meals are available at either:

the Bank Hotel (Australian Menu) or the Grand Hotel – Asian Menu


History of Bega, W. A. Bailey

Bega Valley Historical Society Archives

Bega Heritage Study

Historic Pubs of the Bega Valley – Heritage Significance Assessment, Glenn Shaw

Voices From The South, Margaret Evans

PicMan – State Library of New South Wales


The Royal Hotel, Bega, which has just closed up in accordance with the Local Option Court, had many licensees during its career of nearly 40 years. It was opened by the late “Jimmy” Kiss, who sold to Mr. Thos. Mooney, who later on passed it on to his brother “Mick.” Then Mr. James Hutton had it for years. Those were the days in which Rixon and Macleod’s sale yards were situated just above the hotel and it used to be a very busy spot on market days. Later on Mr. Hutton moved out and opened the Metropolitan Hotel, the Royal passing to Mr. Plowright (from Bombala). The late Tom. Dunn (also from Boinbala) next took it, and did a lively business for some years, navvies and others coining from long distances to knock their cheques down at Dunn’s and they used to make big cheques in those times. Mr. Dunn later on came down to the Occidental, and sold the Royal to Mr. “Joe” M’Kee (now of Towamba), who in turn sold to Mr. “Jack” Deanelly. Then came the late “Jack” Gay, who was killed at Cooma a few years back, and from him it passed to Mr. Brice, and later on to Mr. Hill (who died there). It was Mr. Hill who brought the price of beers down to 3d in Bega, and the other hotels, although holding out for some time, soon followed suit. Mr. P. M’Guinness and Mr. D. Lambert followed as licensees, and then Mr. Ralph Kavanagh held it for sowa time, and Captain Wilson was the last to grace its halls. The old place has seen some lively times,

The Central Hotel
This splendid hotel was opened on Saturday night last. The lessee is Mr Dickson, who is an experienced hotel manager.The site of the Central is Connelly’s old store in Gipps Street, which was purchased some time ago by Mr D. Gowing, of Jellat Jellat.In addition to the store the premises, properties adjoining were also acquired and used for building purposes.In the main building, on entering the vestibule and turning to the right, are bar parlor, bar and office, while opposite these are dining room 25 x 14 and parlor.In a passage leading from the dining room, are two bedrooms, pantry, kitchen, scullery, and store room, and at the rear are two other bedrooms.Going upstairs, in the front is a commercial room and a drawing room, which are connected by folding doors, and can be thrown into one room, 46.5 x 15 feet. There are two bathrooms, which are supplied with cold water from a tank in the roof, or with hot water supplied by a gas apparatus.Facing Gipps street is also the billiard room. This room is 34.6 x 26.3 and has two oriel windows.The right of way between the main building and the sample rooms are 13.5 feet. The sample rooms are three in number and are each 17 x 17 feet, adjoining these is a shop 20ft x l2ft, and at the rear of the shop is a sitting room 13ft x 12ft.
The architect of the building is Mr Thatcher who deserves great credit for the convenience of the design.Messrs. Underhill and Thatcher the contractors have executed their work in their usual trustworthy style. Axel and Smith were the sub contractors for the brickwork and put in good substantial work, while Lever the sub contractor for the plastering deserves the highest praise for the excellence and for the beauty of his cornice designs.The painting was in the hands of Mr Surplice who has performed his part faithfully. Mr Dickson has displayed great artistic talent in the decorating of the vestibule and bar. Entering the latter, the first impression one has is that he is in the marble bar. The stables which are 88ft x 25ft, contain four horse boxes, eight stalls and two harness rooms. The boxes and stalls are paved with wooden blocks. There are lofts over the whole length of the stables, and an extensive buggy shed along the side.The yard accommodation is so great that an eight-in-hand could easily be turned in it. Water iS supplied by huge underground tanks.Without doubt the hotel is one of the most commodious outside Sydney, and we trust it will be a paying concern not only to the owner but also to the Lessee.The Bega Standard, Tuesday, July 2, 1895

History of Bega

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