White Horse Inn | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


White Horse Inn

Item details

Name of item: White Horse Inn
Other name/s: Commercial Bank of Australia; Rosebank; Oldbury's Inn; Holsberry Inn; Mail Coach Inn; Royal Mail Coach Inn
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Inn/Tavern
Location: Lat: -34.4911390881 Long: 150.3338145740
Primary address: Market Street, Berrima, NSW 2577
Parish: Berrima
County: Camden
Local govt. area: Wingecarribee
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Illawarra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOTA DP378459
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Market StreetBerrimaWingecarribeeBerrimaCamdenPrimary Address
Market PlaceBerrimaWingecarribeeBerrimaCamdenAlternate Address

Statement of significance:

The White Horse Inn is significant because it retains the evidence of the period of the early settlement of Berrima when convicts were locked in its cellar at night. It has associations with important phases in the foundation and growth of Berrima because of its various uses over time to the present day and in particular, its use as a coaching inn and traveller’s hotel. It is a sizable and well detailed early building which shows the prosperity and early pretensions to style. Much important early fabric remains and the essential original form of its Georgian styling is relatively intact. It is also valued by the community as a prominent building in the Marketplace contributing to the historic character of Berrima.
Date significance updated: 31 Aug 07
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.


Builder/Maker: Edward Davies
Construction years: 1834-1850
Physical description: SITE
The setting of the White Horse Inn sets it apart from the Coach & Horses Inn (former) and the Berrima Inn (former) opposite. The two storey White Horse Inn sits prominently on the rise above the Old Hume Highway with high exposure to passing traffic. This constributes significantly to the aesthetic appreciation by the casual observer of the Berrima village and the predominantly Colonial/Victorian Georgian architecture of the village. (Webb, 2008, 35).

The site comprises an irregular shaped allotment approximately 5,914 metres in area that has frontage to Market Place and to the Wingecarribee River. Existing on the site are the White Horse Inn - a sandstone circa 1830's building and barn, stone coach house, circa 1970's motel and fibro outbuildings.

The site is traversed approximately half way down its length by a sewer main and the one in hundred year flood frequency level contour. The site is visible from the Berrima Market Place, the bridge over the Hume Highway and the opposite bank of the Wingecarribee River

INN (1834, extended 1850s and 1970s)
The inn is a ;arge, two storey building with sandstone block walls and a corrugated iron roof. It has a two storey timber verandah on the street frontage. The facade is formally coursed sandstone with well-proportioned windows and doors typical of the Georgian/Regency architectural style. It generally has a high level of architectural detail.

COACH HOUSE (1865; rebuilt/restored 1979)
To the south east of the Inn is the 'coach house', a similarly constructed building to the inn.

Behind both Inn and Coach House, c.40m from the frontage, is a 1980s single storey 4 room motel in fibro and brick with a tile roof.
Modifications and dates: early 1850s: addition of high pitched gabled roofed structure in Victorian Gothic revival style to the west of the 1834 building. Also at this time a two storey stone store room was added to the rear of the original building.

1979: fire severely damaged the coach house, but it has been rebuilt and restored in its original position (Webb, 2008, 34).
Current use: Restaurant, Accommodation
Former use: Inn, commercial bank, residence (Rosebank)


Historical notes: Berrima is the second oldest (European) settlement in Wingecarribee Shire and the oldest continuing settlement in the shire. The first town settlement in the district was in 1821 at Bong Bong, 8km south-east of Berrima on the Wingecarribee River (Webb, 2008, 9).

The site of Berrima was selected by Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1829 on a visit planning the route for a new road alignment from Sydney to replace the old Argyle Road, which had proven unsatisfactory due to a steep hill climb over the Mittagong Range and river crossing at Bong Bong. In 1830 Mitchell instructed Robert Hoddle to mark out the town based on a plan Mitchell's office prepared, along the lines of a traditional English village (with a central market place and as many blocks as possible facing onto the WIngecarribee River), and using the local Aboriginal name. The new line of road came through the town (Allman Johnston, 2007). Berrima was to be established as the commercial and administrative centre for the County of Camden.

Following the approval of Governor Bourke in 1831, the period 1824 to 1841 saw significat flourishing development as mail coaches changed their route to this new line of road. Early town lots were sold in 1833, predominantly to inn keepers and around Market Square, including the first town Lot sales to Bryan McMahon (Webb, 2008, 9).

Governor Bourke designated Berrima as a place for a courthouse and gaol to serve the southern part of the state (Webb, 2008, 9). With construction of the Jail from 1835-9 and its Court House in 1838 to serve the southern part of the state the town flourished into the 1840s as mail coaches called, public buildings including churches in 1849 and 1851, establishment of many hotels and coaching houses to service local resident needs and passing trades, persons and commercial travellers. Its 1841 population was 249 with 37 houses completed and 7 more in construction. Research has indicated there were some 13 hotels or grog houses in Berrima at the one time in the early days before the coming of the Southern Railway to the Moss Vale area, which by-passed Berrima (Allman Johnston, 2005).

In April 1838 Michael Doyle and his wife purchased Lots 2, 3 and 4 Section 1 and Lot 3 Section 4 (now known as the White Horse Inn) to expand their business including providing more accomodation for travellers and taking on the mail delivery service. In 1839 permission was granted to Doyle of the Mail Coach Inn (on Lot 2 Section 1, now called the Coach & Horses Inn, Jellore Street) to transfer his liquor licence (Webb, 2008, 14).

The earliest building (on the Coach & Horses Inn, 22 Jellore Street, Berrima) site (opposite the White Horse Inn, across Berrima Market Square) operated under the sign of the Mail Coach Inn, from 1837-9, as a licenced public house and staging post for travel and delivery of mail. The Mail Coach Inn was one of the first inns to operate in Berrima, along with the Surveyor-General Inn and the Berrima Inn. The licencee, Michael Doyle, transferred the Mail Coach Inn liquor licence to the opposite side of Market Square in 1839 to operate from the property he and his wife had purchased, the site now known as the White Horse Inn (Webb, 2008, 5).

The Mail Coach Inn (now known as the Coach & Horses Inn) operated at 22 Jellore Street from 1837-9 as a licenced public house and staging post for travel and delivery of mail. It was one of the first inns to operate in Berrima, along with the Surveyor-General Inn and the Berrima Inn. The licencee, Michael Doyle, transferred the Mail Coach Inn's liquor licence to the opposite side of Market Square in 1839 to operate from the property he and his wife had purchased, now known as the White Horse Inn (Webb, 2008, 5).

By the 1840s there were four licenced premises including the Berrima Inn, Surveyor General Inn, Mail Coach Inn and Crown Inn. Prior to the coming of the railway to the Moss Vale area, there were 13 hotels in Berrima. The first licensed inn for Berrima was the Berrima Inn, perated by Bryan McMahon, in 1834. Seven of the early hotel buildings remain today with the oldest (surviving) being the Surveyor General Inn, its first licence granted to James Harper on 29/6/1835. The Breen family, who later bought McMahon's Inn and the Coach & Horses Inn (unlicenced), were involved with two other hotels (Webb, 2008, 9).

It is understood that that the original stone Georgian inn was constructed between 1834 and 1850 during ownership of Edward Davies. It later became known as 'Oldbury's Inn' during the ownership of Ben Marshall Osborne when an additional gabled room was added to the western facade. The building operated as a Coaching Inn in its early years and its original underground cellars were often used for the housing of convicts during their conscription to labour at Berrima Bridge and Berrima Gaol.

The 1851 census showed the number of buildings remained the same but the population had dropped to 192. During the 1850s Berrima experienced another boom period after the discovery of gold. When the Great Southern Railway bypassed Berrima in 1867 the town again began to decline as Mittagong, Moss Vale and Bowral developed. Berrima remained virtually unchanged for the next 100 years, preserving the town as an almost intact colonial village (Webb, 2008, 10).

It is uncertain when the building was renamed the White Horse Inn. During its life the building has been used as a Commercial Bank of Australia as well as a private home known as Rosebank. The historic building operated as a restaurant and accommodation inn over many decades and currently a licensed restaurant with separate motel accommodation.

The earlier freestanding coach house has been utilised for other commercial uses over time and is used as part of the motel operations. In 1979 the building was substantially damaged by fire and was subsequently reconstructed and restored (Allman Johnston, 2005).

In 1948 the Berrima Training Centre, a minimum security correctional centre opened at the Berrima Gaol. In the 1960s the National Trust of Australia (NSW) started to classify and seek to protect heritage properties (Webb, 2008, 22).

Since the classification of a number of buildings in Berrima by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) in the 1960s, the popularity of Berrima has increased, particularly as a tourist destination. Recent developments in the town have seen the emergence of bed and breakfast accomodation facilities, reflecting the early years of the town's development that provided accomodation for travellers through the construction and operation of various inns (Webb, 2008, 10).

In 1992 the Sydney to Canberra Freeway (F5) bypassed Berrima (Webb, 2008, 22).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Working for the Crown-
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 Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Coaching Inns along roads-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Accommodating travellers and tourists-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Role of transport in settlement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the pub-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
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 0010602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0010613 Mar 81 411586
Local Environmental Plan  06 Jan 84  35
Local Environmental Plan  12 Jan 90   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAccommodation Homepage2007White Horse Inn View detail
WrittenAllman Johnston Architects Pty Ltd2005Statement of Heritage Impact
TourismAttraction Homepage2007White Horse Inn View detail
WrittenBanksia Heritage and Archaeology Pty Ltd, May 20052005Archaeological Assessment and Excavation Permit Application
PhotographHeritage Office1978(not stated)
TourismTourism NSW2007White Horse Inn, The View detail
WrittenWebb, Chris and Charlotte2008Conservation Management Plan: Coach & Horses Inn, 24 Jellore Street, Berrima

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

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045616
File number: S90/03245

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