Royal Hotel | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Royal Hotel

Item details

Name of item: Royal Hotel
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Location: Lat: -33.4185534231 Long: 149.5802544840
Primary address: 108 William Street, Bathurst, NSW 2795
Parish: Bathurst
County: Bathurst
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Bathurst
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT9 DP1056382
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
108 William StreetBathurstBathurst RegionalBathurstBathurstPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Strata Plan 72755Private 

Statement of significance:

The Royal Hotel operated for approximately 120 years and forms a major part of the social history of Bathurst and has been a participant in or the backdrop to, many of the historical events of the city (Havenhand & Mather, 1985). It is also the only example of an elaborate three storey verandah hotel surviving in Bathurst and is prominently situated near the south-eastern end of King's Parade making a distinctive contribution to the townscape of the Bathurst Urban Conservation Area.
Date significance updated: 03 Jul 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.


Physical description: The Victorian verandahs and pediment added in the 1880s was in 1985 still largely intact and featured excellent cast iron posts and railings - including a personalised 'R' to the shield on each bay (Havenhand & Mather, 1985).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is excellent.
Date condition updated:24 Jul 00
Modifications and dates: 1840s - constructed
1878 - addition of verandah
1880s - addition of third storey and cast iron decoration on verandah
1940s - tiled facade added
1993 - restored with funds provided by the Heritage Assistance Program
Further information: supported by Bathurst/Evans focus group 27/3/2002
Current use: Accommodation and has cafe on ground floor.
Former use: Guest accommodation


Historical notes: Aboriginal people and colonisation.
Aboriginal occupation of the Blue Mountains area dates back at least 12,000 years and appears to have intensified some 3000-4000 years ago. In pre-colonial times the area now known as Bathurst was inhabited by Aboriginal people of the Wiradjuri linguistic group. The clan associated with Bathurst occupied on a seasonal basis most of the Macquarie River area. They moved regularly in small groups but prefered the open land and used the waterways for a variety of food. There are numerous river flats where debris from recurrent camps accumulated over a long period. European settlement in this region after the first documented white expedition west of the Blue Mountains in 1813 was tentative because of apprehensions about resistance from Aboriginal people. There was some contact, witnessed by sporadic hostility and by the quantity of surviving artefacts manufactured by the Aborigines from European glass. By 1840 there was widespread dislocation of Aboriginal culture, aggravated after 1850 by the goldrush to the region (HO and DUAP, 1996, 88).

Prior to European settlement in Australia, the Wiradjuri Aboriginal group lived in the upper Macquarie Valley. Bathurst was proclaimed a town by Lachlan Macquarie on 7 May 1815, named after Lord Bathurst, Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies (Barker 1992:25). Bathurst is Australia's oldest inland township. It was proclaimed a town in 1815 with the discovery of gold.

Governor Macquarie chose the site of the future town of Bathurst on 7 May 1815 during his tour over the Blue Mountains, on the road already completed by convict labour supervised by William Cox. Macquarie marked out the boundaries near the depot established by surveyor George Evans and reserved a site for a government house and domain. Reluctant to open the rich Bathurst Plains to a large settlement, Macquarie authorised few grants there initially, one of the first being 1000 acres to William Lawson, one of the three European explorers who crossed the mountains in 1813. The road-maker William Cox was another early grantee but later had to move his establishment to Kelso on the non-government side of the Macquarie River (GAO, 2005, 8).

A modest release of land in February 1818 occurred when ten men were chosen to take up 50 acre farms and 2 acre town allotments across the river from the government buildings. When corruption by government supervisor Richard Lewis and acting Commandant William Cox caused their dismissal, they were replaced by Lieutenant William Lawson who became Commandant of the settlement in 1818 (ibid, 8).

Macquarie continued to restrict Bathurst settlement and reserved all land on the south side of the Macquarie River for government buildings and stock, a situation that prevailed until 1826. In December 1819 Bathurst had a population of only 120 people in 30 houses, two thirds being in the township of Kelso on the eastern side of the river and the remainder scattered on rural landholdings nearby. The official report in 1820 numbered Bathurst settlers at 114, including only 14 women and 15 children. The government buildings comprised a brick house for the commandant, brick barracks for the military detachment and houses for the stock keeper, and log houses for the 50 convicts who worked the government farm. Never successful, the government farm was closed by Governor Darling in 1828 (ibid, 8).

Governor Darling, arriving in Sydney in 1825, promptly commenced a review of colonial administration and subsequently introduced vigorous reforms. On advice from Viscount Goderich, Darling divided colonial expenditure into two parts: one to cover civil administration, funded by New South Wales; the other for the convict system, funded by Britain (ibid, 10).

By this time, J.McBrien and Robert Hoddle had surveyed the existing grants in the vicinity. Surveyor James Bym Richards began work on the south side of the river in 1826. But the town was apparently designed by Thomas Mitchell in 1830 and did not open until late 1833 after Richards had completed the layout of the streets with their two-road allotments. The first sales were held in 1831 before the survey was complete (ibid, 10).

In 1832 the new Governor, Major General Sir Richard Bourke, visited Bathurst in October. He instructed the Surveyor General Major Thomas L. Mitchell to make arrangements for 'opening the town of Bathurst without delay' and he in turn instructed the Assistant Surveyor at Bathurst J.B. Richards to lay out the blocks and streets. This was done in September 1833. It is believed that Major Mitchell named the streets, with George Street being named after King George III.

The Royal Hotel:
The Royal is one of the oldest surviving hotels in Bathurst. The original building was constructed in the 1840's. The hotel was gradually enlarged and embellished during the latter part of the nineteenth century. This development culminated in the three storied balconied facade to William Street with its rich cast iron decoration added in the 1880's. This facade is largely retained on the two upper floors and could be seen as the ultimate aesthetic development of the building (Havenhand & Mather, 1985).

The land on which it was built was granted to George Kable on 7 May 1805. In October 1842 the the Hotel was purchased by Nicholas Read. On Reads death in 1863 the property passed to his son Richard who in 1869 mortgaged the property to Blunden and Meyer (Havenhand & Mather, 1985).

The hotel was offered to let by tender in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal of Wednesday, 4 December 1872. The tender notice indicates that at the time the Royal was a twos torey establishment with 8 parlours, 30 bedrooms, a dining/assembly hall seating 300, billiard room, kitchens and 2 stables accommodating 40 horses.

In the Bathurst Times of Saturday, 25 March 1878 it was noted that 'improvements' had been carried to the Royal. These included alterations and additions to the verandah and 'tastefully arranged open work screen with circular headed doorway abutting the footpath. They were apparently a great success as their effect was 'not as of a mere improvement but that a new and handsome building has been erected'. The hotel was still a two storeyed building.

The hotel was put up for auction by Blunden and Meyer in 1880 and was purchased by George Denny for 5,010 pounds. It was probable that George Denny added the third level and cast iron verandahs that appear in the 1880 photograph.

Noted in the Bathurst Guide, 1893, the Royal had added its third storey and provided accommodation for 75 people. The dining room appears to have reduced in size from the 300 capacity noted in 1872 to seating for 80 people.

The present tiled facade of the ground floor was added in the 1940s. The Royal closed in the early 1960s.

In 1982 the substantial buildings, including portions of the original structure with the staircase, to the rear of the remaining 'primary building' (Havenhand & Mather, 1985). The National Trust of Australia (NSW) and the Bathurst community expressed concern for the future of the building. In recognition of the buildings State significance and to ensure its future the heritage Council of NSW recommended to the Minister the making of a Permanent Conservation Order. A Permanent Conservation Order was placed over the building on 7 October 1983.

The Department of Planning in conjunction with Bathurst City Council purchased the property with a view to restoring the building. A Conservation Policy was prepared by Havenhand & Mather Architects in 1985.

In 1987 the building was offered for sale through tender. The building was sold and the restoration of the building, in accordance with the Conservation Policy by Havenhand & Mather Architects, was a condition of sale. In the early 1990s the Royal Hotel was restored. (Heritage Office files)

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 Innkeeping-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Places important in developing conservation processes-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Providing a venue for significant events-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Royal Hotel has formed and played a continuous and significant role in the history of Bathurst for over 140 years (Havenhand & Mather, 1985).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The fine Victorian verandah facade of the Royal Hotel is the last remaining example of a style once common to Bathurst. The Royal Hotel makes an important contribution to the streetscape and urban environment of Kins Parade, the heart of the urban and civic area of Bathurst. (Havenhand & Mather, 1985).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It was the leading Bathurst hotel of the nineteenth and early twentieth century and was important in the social development of Australia's oldest inland city (Havenhand & Mather, 1985).
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Record converted from HIS events

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
In respect of the carrying out of an activity by the Bathurst City Council pursuant to an order made by the said Council under section 317B of the Local Government Act, 1919, in respect of the building referred to in Interim Conservation Order No. 77, known as the Royal Hotel, situated at No. 108 William Street, Bathurst, but not otherwise: Provided that the said Council shall not carry out any such activity unless and until it has obtained the approval of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.
Aug 8 1980
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Record converted from HIS events

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
In respect of the carrying out of an activity by the Bathurst City Council pursuant to an order made by the said Council under section 317B of the Local Government Act, 1919, in respect of the building referred to in Interim Conservation Order No. 77, known as the Royal Hotel, situated at No. 108 William Street, Bathurst, but not otherwise: Provided that the said Council shall not carry out any such activity unless and until it has obtained the approval of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.
Apr 10 1981
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0011102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0011107 Oct 83 1404627
Local Environmental Plan 08812 Dec 97 14610000
Local Environmental Plan - Lapsed  27 Mar 87   
Potential Heritage ItemA    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGovernment Architect's Office2005Bathurst Hospital Conservation Management Plan
WrittenHavenhand & Mather - Architects1985The Royal Hotel - William Street, Bathurst - Conservation Policy
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)1982Former Royal Hotel

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045494
File number: S90/07543 & HC 32274

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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