News

Wollongong’s last temperance hotel to be demolished

The former Sea View Guest House at Bulli is threatened with demolition to make way for the extension of the Northern Distributor.

The former Sea View Guest House at Bulli is threatened with demolition to make way for the extension of the Northern Distributor. PHOTO: Warren & Diana Ackary.

By MICK ROBERTS.

ANOTHER one of Bulli’s last two remaining brick guest houses seems destined for demolition.

The former Sea View Guest House joins the nearby former Railway Guest House in Railway Street as being threatened with demolition.

The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has lodged a development application with Wollongong City Council to demolish the heritage-listed former guesthouse to make way for the extension of the Northern Distributor.

The Princes Highway land on which it sits is earmarked for the continuation of the Northern Distributor through to Bulli Pass.

Despite its heritage significance the RMS has applied to demolish what is believed to be Wollongong’s last remaining “temperance hotel”, to prevent it – the RMS says – becoming home to vandals or squatters.

An RMS spokesperson said there had been several break-ins already and its demolition would “avoid unnecessary spending of public money to renovate buildings which will eventually be demolished”.

The property was identified as a heritage item of local significance by Wollongong City Council in 1991.

Council told The Bulli Times it is reviewing the development application for demolition.

A heritage impact assessment, prepared by consultants Godden Mackay Logan (GML) for the RMS, says the house has been altered and is not worth preserving.

Illawarra historian and University of Wollongong archivist Michael Organ said he was disappointed with the proposal to have the building demolished.

“Another sad sad day for all those who care for the city’s history and heritage,” Mr Organ said.

“There is no leadership from Wollongong City Council in this area at all. It is a disgrace.”

The opening of the railway between Sydney and Wollongong in 1887 contributed to the construction of several large guest houses in Bulli to accommodate the growing tourist trade. Among them were the Sea View Guest House and the nearby Railway Guest House.

Former Railway Guest House, Bulli.

Former Railway Guest House, Bulli.

The former Railway Guest House in Railway Street Bulli is owned by Woolworths and is also threatened with demolition to make way for a driveway into a shopping mall.

Godden Mackay Logan, in its heritage impact statement, says the Seaview Guest House was built by coalminer Charles Plimmer in 1889. It operated under the name Ocean View Temperance Hotel for a period before a Mrs Moss took over the management of the property as a guest house between 1913 and 1915.

Mr Plimmer died in 1915, leaving the property to his widow Sarah, who appointed her son-in-law Charles William Wynn and his brother John as trustees of her estate upon her death in 1921.

Control of the property was subsequently handed to Dina Wynn, Hilda Russell and Myrtle Wynn after the Wynn brothers died in 1935 and 1941. In November 1951 the property was sold to Corrimal carpenter Hans Notman, who then on-sold the property to long-term owner Franz Heinrich Rast, a Woonona butcher four months later. Mr Rast rented several rooms to tenants. He owned the house for 48 years until Roads and Maritime Services bought the site in 2010.

Under Mr Rast’s ownership, the place was known to have been leased for various uses including as a Salvation Army opportunity shop.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Wollongong’s last temperance hotel to be demolished

  1. have you heard when the RMS is likely to start building the extension of the Northern Distributor?

    Like

    Posted by Mandrake51 | April 12, 2013, 4:42 am
  2. Very unhappy with this situation. Not convinced at all that the place is not worth (any money, even say the $150k mentioned) of preservation.

    Like

    Posted by Leah | May 1, 2013, 8:43 am
  3. These building are not worth keeping. Knock them down and let Bulli develop.

    Like

    Posted by Peter | October 23, 2014, 6:41 am

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