Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tunnel vision : Railway Hotels of Victoria and New South Wales

Wagga Wagga City Library recently hosted a book launch for the second volume of Scott Whitaker's series on railway hotels in Australia and the library has purchased both volumes for the local studies collection. 

Both of these beautifully produced volumes contain factual information as well as stories, advertisements, maps, photographs, a bibliography, and a very welcome index. 

Railway Hotels of Australia volume one : Victoria, has all the famous (and infamous) railway hotels including Glenrowan, Castlemaine, and Ballarat, which boasted four or five hotels during the heyday of rail travel in the 1800s. 

From volume one, Railway Hotels of Australia : Victoria

Railway Hotels of Australia volume two : New South Wales includes 3 railway hotels for Wagga Wagga, the first being active from 1874 to 1922, the second being a hotel expressly set set for the use of railway labourers circa 1878. Another interesting fact is that Wagga Wagga had "...185 hotels in the electorate, and the statutory number was 76," (p 261 Railway Hotels of Australia volume 2 : New South Wales) so the Licenses Reduction Board had to get rid of 44 of those excess hotels. That's a lot of hotels :-) 

The Astor Hotel which currently stands on the corner of Station Place and Edward streets, replaced the original Kerr's Wagga Hotel, and you can read the story of why railway hotel names in Wagga Wagga were interchangeable at this time.

From volume two, Railway Hotels of Australia: New South Wales

These books are now available for you to look at within the library. 

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