Work to get underway next month on Clifton’s iconic Imperial Hotel


An artist impression of the restoration of the Imperial Hotel, Clifton

ALMOST three years after an announcement that the historic Imperial Hotel at Clifton would be restored, owners Shellharbour Workers Club will begin the much-anticipated project next month.

While the landmark building will not be relicensed as a hotel, it will instead be restored into a vibrant, multi-level hospitality venue focusing on food.

The Imperial Hotel closed for business in 2003, and has sat empty since that time. The historic pub, built in 1911, was established in 1884. Shellharbour Workers Club purchased the former pub for $2.2 million from WIN Corporation in March 2015.

CEO of Shellharbour Workers Club Limited, Debbie Cosmos said the multi-dimensional venue will include a restaurant across three floors, an all-day-dining café and will play host to a range of lifestyle workshop classes, celebrations and meetings.

Located on Grand Pacific Drive and to the south of the Seacliff Bridge, the venue will include a weather-proofed indoor-outdoor space offering prime views of the ocean. It is expected that the venue will be utilised by cyclists and walkers popping in for a morning bite, diners looking to dine with an ocean outlook and those opting for the shuttle bus drop-and dine service which will allow tourists to explore the coast from their location of choice.

Since purchasing the property, Shellharbour Workers Club has remained committed to bringing to light the story of the iconic building and the town of Clifton.

The essence of the building’s history will be captured through the restoration of heritage features and a number of unique historical interpretations within the venue. CEO of Shellharbour Workers Club Limited, Debbie Cosmos said she was excited to commence construction on what will be a landmark venue and an asset to tourism in the Illawarra.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore a historical gem of the Illawarra. There’s so much history wrapped up in this building and we cannot wait to see the building come to life again,” she said.

“This venue will be unlike any other; it promises to be an extremely unique venue. “It’s our aim to not only restore this building to its original glory but to ensure that we tell the story of Clifton within the walls of the state-of-the-art hospitality venue. We’re focused on giving the historic tales new life.”

Mrs Cosmos said the Club has worked closely with the community to resolve matters relating to opening hours, noise and parking and has captured these within the approved development application to Wollongong City Council.

“Fostering community engagement is a vital component of this venue and we look forward to making Clifton a must visit destination,” she said.

Construction is expected to commence on September 23 with an expected completion in late 2020.

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 Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is 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 managed several community newspapers. He has been 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), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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