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Hotel Kurrajong Heights - Modern Residential to Cost £25,000

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W&R Gazette.jpg
Type Weekly newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Founded 1888
Ceased publication 1954
Headquarters George-Street, Windsor, New South Wales, Australia

Residents of Windsor, Richmond and other parts of the Hawkesbury district were first alerted to a proposal to build a luxury tourist hotel at Kurrajong Heights on 5th November, 1926 when their local newspaper (Windsor and Richmond Gazette) published an article headlined, "Hotel Kurrajong Heights" (below).

Headline

In the report it stated:

"ANOTHER link with the past is to be severed by the transfer of the license of the historic Black Horse Hotel, Richmond, to a proposed new modern residential hotel at Kurrajong Heights, which is to be erected by a syndicate at a cost of £25,000."

The Black Horse Hotel[edit | edit source]

The Black Horse Hotel was associated with the early history of the Hawkesbury district for 107 years - it was the oldest licensed hotel in the State - and though an objection to the transfer of the license was raised by the licensing inspector (Sergeant Loomes), overwhelming evidence was given concerning the need for a hotel at Kurrajong Heights, and the application was granted.

Mr. W. S. Arnott, a member of the Licenses Reduction Board, held a special sitting at Windsor Court House on Tuesday, 2nd November, 1926, to deal with the application of Bart James Moran to transfer the license, of the Black Horse Hotel, Richmond, to the proposed new premises at Kurrajong Heights.

Mr. H. J. Aspinall represented the licensee, Mr Bart James Moran, and Mr. Ronald B. Walker appeared for the owner of the historic building Mr. A. Tullock, of Double Bay, to consent to the transfer.

The licensing inspector (Sergeant James Loomes) opposed the application on the following grounds:-

(1) That reasonable requirements of the neighbourhood do not justify the grant of the license;
(2) Proper specifications have not been filed;
(3) The plans do not indicate the boundaries of the area proposed to be licensed.

Subsequently proper specifications and a plan of the boundaries proposed to be licensed were lodged with the Court, and the licensing inspector withdraw objections Nos. 2 and 3.

Proposed New Building[edit | edit source]

The proposed new building was a residential hotel, the site of which was on the main road from Richmond to Bell, known as Bell's Line. The site of the hotel was a portion of a property comprising 98 acres, acquired and owned by a syndicate. The western portion of the property was be to devoted to a golf course and the eastern side for the hotel and grounds.

Since the land sloped sharply from west to east, the building's eastern front was to be composed of three stories and the western side of two stories. This allowed the bar to be situated on the lower ground floor level with the drive from which patrons would obtain access to the hotel.

The plans indicated that the lower ground floor would contain a lounge bar, 40-feet by 28-feet, with cellar adjoining, 28-feet by 28-feet, and lavatories for bar customers. A tradesmen's entrance with staff meal room and lavatory, laundry, drying room, fuel house, boiler and engine room, and service staircase would also be provided on the ground floor, which would be approached from a drive on the eastern front by a flight of steps on to a terrace, 70-feet by 18-feet, with verandahs at the northern and southern ends, 30-feet by 11-feet each.

The southern wing of the hotel was to include a dining room, 40-feet by 29-feet, with spacious kitchen, servery, cold storage, and every modern convenience of the time. The dining room, approached from the entrance hall, measured 17-feet by 15-feet, through a lounge, 20-feet by 16-feet. At the rear of the entrance hall was to be situated the principal staircase with separate toilets for men and women on the northern and southern sides. The remainder of the ground floor was be devoted to eight spacious double bedrooms with lavatory and bathroom accommodation for women conveniently situated in the centre of the block.

Approached from the main staircase on the first floor was a sitting room, 17-feet by 16-feet, and twenty-two bedrooms for guests was also provisioned, as well as four bathrooms for men and three for women, with ample adjoining lavatory accommodation.

The southern wing comprised eight cubicles for servants, together with lavatory accommodation, a service staircase, and a doorway at the end of the corridor in the northern wing, gave direct access to the ground level.

The lower ground floor was to be built of freestone, and above the ground floor level the walls were to be of brick covered externally with segmental timber logs. The walls were to be lined internally with expanded metal, then rendered in cement, making the building practically fireproof. The roof was to be covered with tiles.

A permanent water supply was proposed, and hot and cold water service was to be installed throughout the building. A septic system of sewerage was also planned. It was invisiged, the building would be erected and completed as a most up-to-date and modern hotel of the time. The estimated cost of the building was £25,000.

Tourists Turned Away[edit | edit source]

Frank Carl Peck, an orchardist residing at Kurrajong Heights, was the first witness before the Court. He submitted the notice of application to the licensing clerk and the licensing inspector, and was responsible for the posting of a copy of the notice on the proposed site. The notice, signed by the applicant, had also appeared in the 'Windsor and Richmond Gazette' and ‘Hawkesbury Herald,' and both papers circulated in the district where the site was situated. Plans of the proposed building, locality plans, together with a description of the accommodation had also been lodged with the licensing inspector.

Mr Peck stated to the Court that he was born in the district, and knew the proposed site, which was well-elevated on the main road from Richmond to Bell. It was 900 feet above sea level, and the traffic to the locality was unusually heavy, both during week days, week-ends and on holidays. The road leading past the proposed site went on to Bell, and connected with the Great Western Road, which led back through Penrith to Sydney.

"I have been over the road several times," continued the witness, "and though it has been neglected to a certain extent it is quite safe for traffic. A movement is on foot to repair the road and the Main Road Board is to be approached with a view to obtaining a grant for reconditioning the length. The N.R.M.A. and Tourist Bureau are interesting themselves in that direction."

He added that there were at present two boarding houses at Kurrajong Heights, but neither could meet with the requirements of motorists, who were frequently turned away both for meals and accommodation. The railway had been extended from Richmond to Wheeny Creek, the terminus being about three-and-a-quarter miles from the proposed site. The new rail line had been inspected and was ready for opening.

In reply to Sergeant Loomes,

Mr Peck stated: "At the present time the nearest hotel to Kurrajong Heights was at North Richmond, 9 1/2 miles away and the permanent population within a mile radius of the proposed site was about 150."
Mr. Arnott: "That would consist of men, women and children?"
Mr. Peck: "Yes."

Increased Motor Traffic[edit | edit source]

Jams Muir Dunlop, company secretary carrying on business in Sydney, said he knew, the owner of the Black Horse Hotel, Richmond, to whom he served a copy of the notice of application for removal of the license on 9th October. He considered the proposed site of the new hotel was ideal for a first-class residential hotel. It provided a wide, extensive and quite interrupted panoramic view. From a tourist point of view it would be most attractive, in view of the fact that Kurrajong Heights was becoming very popular among motorists.

From information recently obtained at the Traffic Department, Mr Peck declared that the number of motor cars in New South Wales was rapidly increasing. In 1919 there were 23,103 cars registered as against over 100,000 to that day. Motor cycles registered in 1919 totalled 10,236, whereas at that time they numbered over 60,000.

In reply to Sergeant Loomes, Mr Peck said he had no other interest in the proposed new hotel other than company secretary. The object of the hotel was not solely for tourists, as he considered it essential for local requirements.

Better Than Bulli Pass[edit | edit source]

Ronald Bruce Walker, a solicitor, practising in Windsor, gave evidence to the effect that the site of the proposed new hotel and the Black Horse Hotel were within the licensing district of Windsor, and the electorate of Cumberland.

"The site of the proposed hotel is unsurpassed," added the witness, "and the view obtained is equal to anything in Australia. It is a different kind of view than most beauty spots, the flats and farm lands presenting a picture very similar to that obtained, from an aeroplane. I consider the scenery is better than Bulli Pass."

In reply to the Bench, Mr Walker said he did not think the transfer of the license would inconvenience the people of Richmond.

Mr. Arnott: "Is there any objection from Richmond?"
Mr. Aspinall: "I understand not, and I don't think the licensing inspector objects to the license being removed from Richmond."
Sergeant Loomes: "I raise no objection on that point."

Mr Walker added that during recent years traffic to Kurrajong Heights had increased considerably, and with the extension of the railway line to Kurrajong there was less need for the Black Horse Hotel in Richmond.

Mr. Arnott: "I notice that the Black Horse Hotel has done good business - it pays a fairly large license fee."
Mr. Aspinall: "Yes, the business is a good one."

Mr Walker stated that the railway construction camp was in the vicinity of the hotel, and probably accounted for the heavy sales. The Kurrajong people also obtained their supplies there.

An Ideal Site[edit | edit source]

George Herbert Goodsell, a member of the firm Robertson and Marks, architects, Sydney, said he prepared the plans for the proposed new hotel. He presented the plans, and described the hotel to the Bench. “The site is the most beautiful I've ever seen," he declared, “and there are no insuperable difficulties to prevent the hotel being made most attractive for motorists.” Witness added that the road through to Bell was only 30 miles, about six miles of which was really bad. Describing the scenery along the route he said the Western Road was not a patch on it, provided some accommodation could be obtained along the road.

In reply to the Bench, witness stated that the area on which it was proposed to erect the building was two acres, the remainder of the property being devoted to golf links and other sports.

James Sherwood, of “Woodside,” Kurrajong Heights, declared that the site was ideal for an hotel which was badly needed at Kurrajong Heights, Motorists had frequently called at his home for a cup of tea because they were unable to obtain it elsewhere. No attempt was made at Kurrajong Heights to provide meals for motorists, and if they did not bring lunch with them they had to go without.

In reply to Sergeant Loomes, witness expressed the opinion that a hotel was necessary to meet local requirements, though it would be mostly availed of by tourists. He had often been asked why there was no hotel in the locality.

Frederick Lindsay Diggins, orchardist of Kurrajong Heights, gave evidence as to the climatic conditions, and the need for modern accommodation at Kurrajong Heights.

An Experts Opinion[edit | edit source]

William Joseph Lees, proprietor of the Hotel Mount Victoria, said he had had extensive experience in catering for tourists, and was at one time in charge of the Grand Hotel, Rotorua, New Zealand, the most popular tourist hotel in the Southern Hemisphere. The tourist trade at Mount Victoria was 90 per cent, and as an expert he said he knew no site that would excel the one at Kurrajong Heights. It was an excellent locality, and. was quite different from what was termed the usual tourist site. Indeed, there was no better site in the Southern Hemisphere, and from his experience of tourists if accommodation was provided they would go there. The site was 50 miles from Sydney, and 40 from Mount Victoria.

Leslie Charles Peck, orchardist at Kurrajong Heights, said he lived at “Mountain View” boarding house, which was conducted by his late mother, until two or three months ago. During the time he was there they could not afford by one-half all the accommodation that was required.

Mr. Aspinall announced that he had more witnesses who would give evidence regarding the tourist traffic.

Sergeant Loomes, however, said it was not necessary to call further evidence in respect to tourists. He was quite satisfied that there was sufficient evidence for the granting of the application from a tourist point of view, but not from a local stand point.

Mr. Arnott said he would like to hear a few more local residents.

Burton Batley Sampson, an orchardist at Kurrajong Heights, gave evidence on the lines of the previous witness, whereupon Mr. Arnott announced that he was satisfied that the transfer was necessary from a tourist viewpoint.

Mr. Aspinall said that although he had several other witnesses he would base his case on the evidence submitted.

The Inspector's Evidence[edit | edit source]

Sergeant Loomes, in evidence, stated that he inspected the site of the proposed new hotel, on October 27. He made several inquiries from residents, including two clergymen, as to whether there would be any objection to the license being removed to Kurrajong Heights. He found no one, however, who raised a protest against the proposed transfer. From further inquiries made, however, he ascertained that there were approximately 30 householders within a mile radius of the proposed site, and a population of about 150 people. He considered therefore, from a local point of view that a hotel license was not necessary there.

Mr. Arnott: I understand that the Black Horse Hotel was a very old building, but was it a fact that Sir Henry Parkes spent his honeymoon there?
Sergeant Loomes: I think he spent several there! (Laughter)

In reply to Mr. Aspinall, the sergeant said he was not aware that if the transfer was granted it was proposed to build tea rooms and make tea gardens on the present site of the Black Horse Hotel. He admitted that now there was a railway to Kurrajong there was less need for the four hotels at Richmond . He also agreed with the previous witnesses regarding the increased tourist traffic and the proposed site being ideal for a modern residential hotel.

Mr. Arnott said he was perfectly satisfied that the hotel was necessary and granted the application. He mentioned that the building would be required to be erected within 12 months, or an application lodged for an extension of time.

In view of the foregoing decision, Sergeant Loomes intimated that he would withdraw his recommendation for the demolition of the Black Horse Hotel and the erection of a more modern brick building.

""Hotel Kurrajong Heights"". Windsor And Richmond Gazette. 38, (2037). New South Wales, Australia. 5 November 1926. p. 1. Retrieved 12 April 2018 – via National Library of Australia.  [1]

KURRAJONG HEIGHTS HOTEL

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References[edit | edit source]


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