This beautiful post card picture of the Cronulla Beach Hotel dates from 1908 and is amongst the postcard collection put together by my grandfather Edward Thomas Bailey. It was sent from Gertrude Smith to her mother Mary Ann Smith nee: Whiteman, my great grandmother. I decided on a whim to showcase the postcard this month just because it caught my eye. I love the old fashioned architecture, what could only be beautiful wrought iron fence work around the veranda of the top story, the bull-nosed roofing and the chimney’s that hint of warm and welcoming open fires on coastal winters nights. Just imagine when the proper attire for men when visiting a hotel was a full suite and hat!
I decided to “Google” the Cronulla Beach Hotel and was very disappointed not to be able to find a single photo or postcard from around the same period, but I did find some very interesting facts relating to the hotel from 1903 – 1908 on the TROVE website.
In August of 1903 the original Cronulla Beach Hotel which had been constructed from weatherboard was completely destroyed by fire. How the fire broke out was a mystery but luckily there was no loss of human life, although some canaries and parrots from an aviary did perish. The hotel was re-built as in the postcard above.
In July of 1904 the “Nemesis” Steamship floundered near Bombora Reef off the waters of Cronulla and the body of a man considered to be 35 – 40 years old was washed up on Cronulla Beach. The body was then taken to a room at the Cronulla Beach Hotel until an inquest was held on 20 July. Wreckage from the “Nemesis” also washed up on Cronulla Beach. On 30 July 1904 it is reported that another body from the “Nemesis” washed up on Cronulla Beach and was again taken to the Cronulla Beach Hotel for a Magisterial Inquiry
The Hotel is mentioned in an advertisement under the heading “Cronulla – A Charming Summer Resort” in The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser on Wednesday 23 November 1904. It is noted at this point as having 30 rooms available for accommodation.
The Hotel hosted many events, catering for these with utmost class, and was also very active in supporting local sporting groups including rowing and fishing.
Once again in January of 1908 another ship, the Thode Fagelund, floundered off the coast near Cronulla. Apparently this incident was a great curiosity to the public at the time and many went down to the beach to see the rescue of the ships crew take place
As you can see from the above the Cronulla Beach Hotel had quite an interesting history and it is intriguing to me to think that my family had perhaps visited this landmark from yesteryear. Perhaps they spent time sitting by one of those lovely open fires, rented a room overnight or stood on the top veranda of the hotel looking over Cronulla Beach. What a magnificent old building!