Sp029 : Oriental Hotel | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Sp029 : Oriental Hotel

Item details

Name of item: Sp029 : Oriental Hotel
Other name/s: Springwood Hotel; Hotel Sydenham
Primary address: 110-112 Macquarie Road, Springwood, NSW 2777
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
110-112 Macquarie RoadSpringwoodBlue Mountains   Primary Address
1 Raymond RoadSpringwoodBlue Mountains   Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (a)
One of the three hotels established in Springwood by the 1880s, the Oriental has local significance as a century-old residential hotel with a restaurant, catering for locals and visitors alike on the edge of the central business district, competing successfully with the Royal (SP 045). Its significance is enhanced by its half century of ownership by the Lawson family, important as furniture-makers and as developers of their substantial acreage in the heart of Springwood. The requisition of the building during World War II to house the children evacuated from the Burnside Homes in North Parramatta has also historical significance.

Criterion (b)
James Lawson, who owned and rebuilt the hotel after 1890, was a significant Sydney furniture-maker, and his son William Maxwell Lawson, who owned it for twenty after his father died in 1926, was an important Springwood cabinet-maker and donor to the Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church near the Oriental, were both of importance in the cultural life of Springwood.

Criterion (c)
The Oriental hotel has aesthetic significance as a surviving substantial Victorian Hotel in the commercial centre of Springwood. While its original highly decorative character has been compromised by various alterations, it does retain its general form and proportions. With its location at a prominent corner in the town, it is a local landmark and is one of the few buildings left in the commercial centre of Springwood which give a sense of the town’s early history.
Date significance updated: 27 May 02
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1878-1890
Physical description: The Oriental Hotel is a large two storey hotel in a prominent location at the corner of Macquarie Road and Raymond Road.The Victorian origins of the hotel are best seen from the west (Raymond Road) where the hipped slate roof, rendered chimneys and vertically proportioned double hung windows are most visible.Facing Macquarie Road the hotel has a two storey verandah on its main (north) wing terminated by a hipped front. This composition relates to its Victorian origins, but the verandah has lost its original timber and cast iron structure and the windows have lost their highly decorative surrounds.A two storey wing to the east, set back from Macquarie Street, was built around the same time as the main wing.The picket fence to Macquarie Street is a reconstruction of the early fence on the site.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:27 May 02
Modifications and dates: Single storey block on northeast corner 1960s
Various modifications 1990s
Current use: Hotel
Former use: Hotel

History

Historical notes: In 1878 Frank Raymond, the receiving officer of mail at Springwood railway station, purchased a grant of portion 52 (later renumbered 2a) in the parish of Magdala, embracing 32 hectares (80 acres) south of what is now Macquarie Road but was then the main road to Bathurst. (Land Title Office, vol. 346 fo. 120) Towards the western end of this portion, that is to say nearest to the railway station, Raymond at once built licensed premises, called the Springwood Hotel, a long, single-storied, low-browed building with a simple verandah facing the main road. (BMCL, Local Studies, photograph 271) The licensee for Raymond was Mrs Deemer until the late 1880s, when a Mr Ward took over the licence. (Wiggins, '90 Years of Springwood')

Raymond himself was resident, probably in the hotel building and ran a general store in part of the building. He ceased to act as the postal official in the area in August 1878, just at the time he was opening the store: the local belief that the Springwood post-office was for a time located at the hotel (Halliwell) is based on a misunderstanding.

In 1890 Raymond sold 24 hectares (60 acres) of portion 52 (or 2a) to a well-to-do Scottish cabinet-maker and furniture manufacturer of Sydney, James Lawson. (Land Title Office, vol.1419 fo.109) Lawson's land was all the easterly sector of Raymond's portion, from Raymond Avenue east. There had been no development of the land, except for the building of the Springwood Hotel and its stabling to the south-east, and except too for the establishment of an extensive orchard and garden to serve the needs of guests. This orchard-garden area extended from the present Braemar, no.100, eastwards to no.86-88 Macquarie Road. In 1882 it had been described in a tourist guide as:

a very good flower garden and an orchard well stocked with fruit trees of all
kinds, especially those English favourites, the gooseberry, currant,
raspberry and strawberry. (Halliwell)

Lawson acted rapidly to redevelop the hotel and to build a mountain retreat called Braemar for himself on the west end of the cultivated paddock. As early as 22 March 1890 the Nepean Times could report that:

the Springwood hotel improvements are getting pushed along ; The enterprising
owner is determined to have plenty of cellar room - twenty foot by twenty and
about eight foot high. (Nepean Times, 22 March 1890)

Whether any fabric of Raymond's hotel was incorporated into Lawson's two-storied, grander building is unclear. A systematic survey of the present fabric, including the cellarage, may provide evidence which is lacking in the documentary sources.

The first licensee under Lawson's ownership in 1890 was T.F. Vellenouth (Nepean Times, 17 January 1891). His successor, Brandon, took over in January 1891 and at once asked that the name be registered as the Oriental Hotel. (Nepean Times, 17 January 1891). Brandon went bankrupt in 1894 and was briefly succeeded as licensee by George Hildebrandt and then, from 1897 until 1901, by Edmond Choquenot and by H. Alexander from 1904 to 1906. (BMCL, Local Studies, Oriental file)

The grounds of the hotel were developed to provide a tennis court and a croquet lawn by 1914 (Blue Mountain Echo, 30 January 1914), but the licensees during World War I seem to have been unsatisfactory in their relations with the major brewers Tooth and Co., who took over the business of the hotel on 6 January 1919 and put in their own licensee, George Sydenham, from Jenolan Caves House. The name of the hotel was changed to Hotel Sydenham and it remained under this title until the eponymous licensee moved on to the Astoria at Blackheath in October 1919. Thereafter, at the next licensing court in November, it reverted to being the Oriental Hotel. (Selway, 'Oriental Hotel'; Blue Mountains Gazette, 16 January 1991)

Some glimpse of the deteriorated state of the hotel and its surroundings during this time of turmoil is given in letters from James Lawson, who still owned the property, complaining to the Blue Mountains Shire Council on 30 June and 10 November 1919 that white ants had attacked the front of the hotel and that there was a

Great Groth [sic] of Black Berry Bushes now covering about one half of the
width of Raymond Road, Springwood, the Bush had sprade [sic] right over the
high Fence and against the wood Buildings of Coach House and stable of Hotel
Sydenham. (BMCC archives, copies in BMCL, Local Studies, Oriental file)

James Lawson died in 1926, still the owner of the hotel. Richardson and Wrench made a thorough valuation of Lawson's extensive property interests in Springwood at this time and gave a valuable description of the Oriental. The two-storied building was constructed of rendered brick; the roofing was slate. The ground floor contained a hall, bar, parlour, smoking room, dining room and office. The upper storey had eleven guest rooms, with two bathrooms and toilets. The upper verandah was enclosed. The adjoining two-storied building, also of rendered brick with a slate roof, had on the ground floor five sleeping apartments for hotel staff, with a bathroom and toilet, and upstairs five more bedrooms, probably for overflow guests, and a box-room. By this time the coach-house and stable, still in use seven years before, had been replaced by a double garage constructed of weatherboard. (Richardson & Wrench, printed valuation, May 1926, BMCL, Local Studies, Oriental file)

William Maxwell Lawson, James's third son, succeeded to ownership in 1926, made some renovations to the hotel in 1928 and retained it until after World War II.(Land Title Office, vol.1878 fo.137) During the war, Lawson, who was a devout Presbyterian, who had carved the pulpit and communion furniture in the Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church nearby in Macquarie Road (Maddock, 29), was happy to see the disadvantaged children from the Burnside Homes in North Parramatta evacuated from the danger of Japanese invasion to a variety of sites in the Mountains. 94 boys from Burnside, aged between five and seventeen, were billeted in the Oriental, while the licensed bar moved across the road to other premises. (Fleming, Legacy Torchlight, 4; Maddock, 46-9)

The Lawson estate was sold piecemeal after William Maxwell Lawson’s death just after the Burnside children returned to Sydney in 1946. New owners made major changes to the Oriental in the early 1960s, creating its present external appearance. (Halliwell). John Lewis acquired the hotel in 1994 as owner and licensee and in 1995 created a bistro in the front part of the building, with an open-air eating area, as part of his policy ‘to refurbish and up-grade the Oriental Hotel’. (Circular letter from Lewis, 1995, BMCL, Local Studies, Oriental file)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
One of the three hotels established in Springwood by the 1880s, the Oriental has local significance as a century-old residential hotel with a restaurant, catering for locals and visitors alike on the edge of the central business district, competing successfully with the Royal (SP 045). Its significance is enhanced by its half century of ownership by the Lawson family, important as furniture-makers and as developers of their substantial acreage in the heart of Springwood. The requisition of the building during World War II to house the children evacuated from the Burnside Homes in North Parramatta has also historical significance.

James Lawson, who owned and rebuilt the hotel after 1890, was a significant Sydney furniture-maker, and his son William Maxwell Lawson, who owned it for twenty after his father died in 1926, was an important Springwood cabinet-maker and donor to the Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church near the Oriental, were both of importance in the cultural life of Springwood.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Oriental hotel has aesthetic significance as a surviving substantial Victorian Hotel in the commercial centre of Springwood. While its original highly decorative character has been compromised by various alterations, it does retain its general form and proportions. With its location at a prominent corner in the town, it is a local landmark and is one of the few buildings left in the commercial centre of Springwood which give a sense of the town’s early history.
Integrity/Intactness: Fair to reasonable
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLEP2005SP02907 Oct 05 122 
Heritage study SP029   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983SP029Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992SP029Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Springwood, Blaxland, Hazelbrook HA2002SP029Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisRIJ & PH Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008SP029Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Photograph 1890Photograph of Springwood Hotel circa 1880-
Written 1991Blue Mountains Gazette, 16 January
Written 1914Blue Mountain Echo, 30 January
Written 1891Nepean Times, 17 January
Written 1890Nepean Times, 22 March
Written 1890Subdivision Plan of Part of Raymond's Estate, 19 June
WrittenFlorence C. Fleming1995Caring for Kids in Legacy Torchlight, Volume 37, no 2, October
WrittenFrances May Wiggins Ninety Years of Springwood and how it received its name
WrittenHelen Halliwell1994Letter to Damian Goodyear, 12 July
WrittenJames Lawson1919Letter to BM Shire Council, 10 November,
WrittenJames Lawson1919Letter to BM Shire Council, 30 June,
WrittenJohn Maddock1995The Frazer Memorial Presbyterian Church: A History (Centenary Edition)
WrittenNoel Selway Oriental Hotel, Springwood
WrittenRichardson and Wrench1926Printed Valuation of Springwood Property of James Lawson, May

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170543


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