Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pubs of the past - Pambula's Club Hotel.

Although now home to only two hotels, the small far south coast tourism hamlet of Pambula was at one time or another able to boast more than a dozen licensed premises. Just one of the many was the Club Hotel.

Located in Monaro Street, the building was constructed around 1890 in response to the population explosion caused by gold discoveries at Mount Gahan and Pipeclay Creek. Local resident J. J. Teir took on the lease and had his application for a license “…for a house at Pambula…” granted by the Eden Court in late 1890. In January the following year, it was reported that “Today (Saturday) the Club Hotel in Monaro Street – the same street that the Court House stands in – for which a license was recently granted, was opened by Mr. J. J. Teir. From inspection of the house, which is most commodious, we can say that it is well and comfortably furnished, in both dining rooms and bedrooms, every article being new. Under the care of Mr. Teir and his estimable wife, nee Miss Lovell, the Club should do a fair share of the business. All wish the new host and hostess good luck in the new hostelry.”

Although business was booming in the early days of the local gold rush, not everyone benefited from the improved economic outlook. By 1893, the freehold owner was facing bankruptcy and his creditors placed the hotel building and land up for auction. Licensee J. J. Teir, recognising an opportunity when he saw one, stepped up and purchased the property.

The Club Hotel, C. 1894.

He immediately moved to improve on his investment, calling for tenders the same month for construction of a billiard room. In January 1894, completion of the work was reported, it being described as “…a comfortable building, standing on the north side of the hotel and is 22 foot by 24 feet.” Placed under the management of John Renwick, the billiard section was granted a license to serve alcohol in 1896. The following year, the Club Hotel received the honour of being made a “touring cyclists house of call” by the NSW League of Wheelmen.

Pambula's Club Hotel in Monaro Street, C. 1897.

Just four years after taking over the freehold, tragedy struck when licensee J. J. Teir was reported to be “…in a very critical state and his death is expected at any moment. He lies at his mother’s resident at Merimbula.” Passing away soon after, his wife continued to carry on the business and in March 1898, new local medico Dr. C. W. Morgan advertised that he “…may be consulted…at Mrs. Teir’s Club Hotel, Pambula.” By 1899, Thomas Schafer had taken over the business and during his time as publican, Sisters of St. Joseph founder Mother Mary Mackillop stayed in the premises. Schafer was followed by Mr. A. J. Ward, who took over in September 1901, only remaining until the following year, when M. C. Beck became licensee.

Mother Mary Mackillop was amongst those who stayed at Pambula's Club Hotel during it's life.
Between 1905 and 1913, the business was operated by the Turbett family, who in 1907 undertook renovations, including the addition of large verandahs which it was noted “…greatly improves the appearance of the house.”

The hotel was placed on the market in 1911, with prospective buyers reportedly inspecting the business, but when satisfactory arrangements could not be arrived at, the deal collapsed. Two years later, the business changed hands, a Mr. Farr taking over until 1914, when Sydney L. Curran Smith took over. Just a year later, another change took place, when Walter Leopold Rudd became licensee. By 1916, J. F. Abbott had purchased the business, but after he took over the Railway Junction Hotel in nearby Wolumla, the doors appear to have been closed. Local auctioneers Messrs. English and Wilkins advertised a sale at the Club Hotel in July 1916 of “…the whole of the furniture, household, linen, crockery, billiard table, etc…” Later that same year, a similar advertisement appeared for the land and building.

When the property failed to sell, tenders were invited in 1917 and then in 1918 William Rixon auctioned off various portions of the building - the stable and outhouse bringing £100; the main hotel premises £129 and a residence further up the hill £66.

So came to an end yet another piece of the district’s history. Today portions of the building remained scattered throughout the district, at South Pambula, Lochiel and even as far a field as Cathcart on the Monaro.

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© Angela George.

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