New development proposal lodged for Bulli’s much-loved Denmark Hotel

An artist impression of the restored and redeveloped former Denmark Hotel at Bulli.

AN agreement seems to have been reached on the future of Bulli’s much-loved Denmark Hotel, with a solution found to the festering problem of gaining access to the site.

The redevelopment proposals for the former Denmark Hotel have been entangled in red tape for over a decade with the building falling into disrepair in recent years.

The current owner of ‘The Denmark’, as it is affectionately known, has resubmitted a development application to Wollongong City Council to transform the heritage listed building into residential apartments.

A plan, originally lodged with Council by different owners in 2002 for a re-adaptive use of the building as a restaurant with bar, accommodation and retail outlet, was caught-up in similar red tape and failed to eventuate.

The current owner, Sean Hannon bought the building a decade ago, and has had an ongoing battle with bureaucracy to have the building readapted as residential apartments. One of the main problems for Mr Hannon arose from gaining government approval for access from the busy Princes Highway.

Council in December 2015 approved in principle the establishment of a ‘right of carriageway’ over the Bulli Miner’s Cottage to the Denmark Hotel, with a car park stretching over the two sites, servicing both properties.

The 2015 access plan for the Denmark Hotel to allow for its redevelopment as residential apartments

The Bulli Miner’s Cottage is owned by Council. The proposal was subject to a number of conditions, including the adaptive reuse and long term conservation of the Denmark Hotel. Part of the plan was for Council to “call for proposals” for the re-adaptive use of the heritage listed miner’s cottage, which has sat empty for over 10 years and – like the Denmark – is rapidly falling into disrepair.

However, those negotiations stalled and the Denmark and the miner’s cottage have fallen into further disrepair in recent years.

Last month there was a break through in negotiations between Council, the RMS, and Mr Hannon, allowing a fresh development application to be lodged on April 24.

The latest proposal will allow access to a rear car park for three residential apartments provided through a drive way on the north of the miner’s cottage site.

The Denmark Hotel, built by Jens Peter Orvad was established in 1876, with parts of the original timber slab inn remaining to the rear of the property. The two-storey brick frontage was built by Orvad in 1886 to cater for increased business with the opening of the South Coast Railway. The building ceased operating as a pub in 1907 and became a boarding house for many years before a private residence.

The unusual cockatoo window on the roof, architecturally known as belvedere, was built by Orvad to watch for steamers mooring at Bulli Jetty, and for coaches descending Bulli Pass.

For more on the history of the Denmark Hotel and Jens Peter Orvad visit the Looking Back website story: The Little House on the Hill: Bulli’s Old Denmark Hotel

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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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