Imperial a step closer to re-opening


The Imperial Hotel when it was trading in 1992

WORK has started on the revitalisation of Clifton’s landmark Imperial Hotel, with preparations beginning for restoration works and repairs beginning this week.

The owners of the former pub, Shellharbour Workers’ Club, bought the property from WIN Corporation in March 2015 for $2.2 million, and plan to transform the heritage landmark into a licensed eatery.

Security fences will go up this week, and workers will begin minor demolition works and repairs to the pub which closed in 2003.

A spokeswoman for Shellharbour Workers Club said the repair works were approved under a development application when WIN owned the Imperial.

WIN was given the green light by Wollongong City Council in 2010 for a $1.6 million renovation in 2010, which included two new outdoor decks. The development application proposed the restoration of the hotel’s facade, public bar and an original timber staircase, with the upstairs accommodation to be converted to office space. 

At the time, Clifton residents strongly objected to the re-opening of the pub, citing noise and traffic congestion as the reasons. A compromise was found in 2011, with Council allowing the pub to re-open with reduced trading hours and noise barriers.

Sydney architects Welsh and Major have designed modified plans to be lodged with Council at a later date. These plans, says the club, are well underway.

For a history of the Imperial Hotel visit: Time Gents, Australian Pubs.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and 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 Australia 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 writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed 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 Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.


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