Resurrection of Clifton’s lost pub: return of the Imperial

imperial restored clifton
The former Imperial Hotel under restoration in 2017


We were invited to a ‘meet and greet’ at a derelict looking pub at Clifton, on the NSW South Coast in 2015 to hear plans for its restoration and transformation into an eatery and function centre.

Six years later those plans to restore the imperial Hotel were realised.

There was a good turn-out at the ‘meet and greet’, with old faces and identities sharing stories, enjoying a few drinks (good to see the old bar back in working order), and finger food, as well as a bit of musical entertainment, bringing to life the deserted and dusty corridors of the grand old lady.

The Imperial underwent restoration work after new owners, Shellharbour Workers Club bought the property from the WIN Television Corporation in 2015.

The Workers Club, while not relicensing the Imperial as a pub, have restored and re-opened the historic building as an eatery and function centre.

This is a history of an old pub, where dusty throated coalminers met and socialised over glasses of beer for over a century, and where today day-trippers and tourists gather to eat and drink while taking in magnificent coastal views.

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‘Didyano’ Pub & Beer Trivia

DIDAYNO #183: Sarah Bird is recognised as the first woman publican in the colonies of Australia, having been granted a license in New South Wales in 1797. 

For more Time Gents pub and beer trivia visit HERE

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Categories: Breweries, Illawarra Hotels, PREMIUM CONTENT

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6 replies

  1. I am the daughter of the late Robert [BOBBY] Brown and Janice Brown…….My nan and pop where Cecil and Mary Brown……that resided in Clifton….and raised their family of 4 Doris, Ethel, my dad Robert and Mary…my nan resided right next door to the Clifton hotel and my dad was born in the house on the other side……My name is Anne, I am 55 born in 1963……I resided at 434 main road scarborough….my dad worked at coalcliff pit on dog watch……What a great place….. Valbusa’s….Peles…….Van Loo…..Declouettes……Mitchell”s Cocky Smith…the buzzar Brooks….Harvey’s…Forbes and the nicest of men Mr Dennis Ross……OH and who can forget the larrakin BOWIE from Clifton…..Anne and bob Johnson, Anne and Terry Dodds…Maureen White..what AN AMAZING, EXCITING, NUTURING,UPBRINGING I HAD….I HAD THE BEST PARENTS ANY GIRL COULD DREAM OF. …….I HAD IT ALL……CARING PARENTS THAT LOVED ME….fun….mini bikes….skateboards…..great friends…..fantastic grown-ups around me…..Scarborough and Wombarra was the best thing to have been in my life….crochet bikinis….sunburn…sand….leeches….coal dumps… boards and wax…..!940’s Willy jeep to cruise in thanks to the hands of a true master at work….not too much Bobby Brown couldn’t build or fix, mate……I attended Scarborough school….under William Straker….Bulli High under EC lynch……And a teacher that is responsible to this day for my desire and love of learning..MR Bill Waterhouse…..his influences are a major contributing factor to the character and traits I have today..I haven’t turned out to bad SIR..Now he is still caring for wombats….brilliant man. So, talk more about your past….enjoy all the great things of our yester years….life has sadly changed……I was once an adventurous little girl in all sorts of strife fun and games…WOW how we mellow…’s short and getting slower…enjoy it….think of your youth and SHARE…thanks for the chat…..see ya all Annie….nee Brown

    • Hi Anne, I don’t know if you’ll ever see this but we are in fact family! Doris was my nan, which I suppose makes you my great aunt? I also went to Bulli high and I know the Lynch family through school! how cool!

    • Phil Hiles Witney Oxon UK

      Just come across an old Illawarra article dated 31st December 1983 showing the “Imperial Hotel” toasts the century. My uncle, Frank Wilson with his wife Margaret and son Ted having just acquired the Imperial which celebrates its 100 anniversary in 1984. Interesting photo of all three of them in front of the Imperial which looks impressive. The other interesting aspect is that Frank I believe is in the photo group showing Jack Hargreaves the publican back in the 1960s and is stood center back next to Eric Chennel. My my, I just wondered how did Frank become involved with the Imperial and of course working there he had first choice.

  2. I thought the exterior renovation looked sensational and cant wait to see inside

  3. I am a retired Police Licensing Sergeant. We had Police records dating back many years on all the hotels in the area. I recall reading one on the Clifton Hotel where in the 1930’s the licensee was fined for having all the toilets and sewer outlets linked up to a pipe that went untreated directly over the edge into the ocean. Not sure what the Council requirements were in the day but that was a no no.


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