HOTEL HISTORY RECALLED
[Centralian Advocate (Alice Springs NT) Friday 3 September 1954]
ON Saturday evening the Hotel Alice Springs celebrated the 25th anniversary of the opening of a small grocery store by Mr. Ly Underdown, from which eventuated the massive hotel still in the course of completion.
Twenty-five years ago Mr. Ly Underdown opened a tiny 40 ft. by 20 ft. tin shed with a flat roof. Then, in 1933 he and Mrs. Underdown snr. opened the first “Hotel Alice Springs.”
Ly recalled this week that they went into the hotel business because the only hotel then in town, the Stuart Arms, decided to go into the grocery business as well. “If it was okay for Joe Kilgariff to sell groceries it was okay for us to sell beer,” Mr. Underdown said with a grin.
To celebrate the occasion, the new upstairs bar and beer garden was opened. The man who officially declared it open, Mr. Creed Lovegrove snr., was the man who, when he was Sgt. of Police in 1933, declared the first Hotel Alice Springs open.
Mr Lovegrove recalled that in 1933 there were only about 300 people in Alice Springs — now there are 3,000. He paid tribute to the Underdowns for taking on the massive project of building the new hotel. This project began about seven years ago. The old building was pulled down in 1948.
The hotel will have over 55 rooms, 36 with bathrooms attached when completed. The new open beer garden seats over 100 at tables on the huge verandah. Always a tremendously keen follower and practical supporter of all sport in Alice Springs. He is president of the cricket association and football association, and donates many trophies, Ly Underdown has plans to attach sporting facilities to the hotel. He wants to establish a bowling green on the site.
“We will have one there whatever comes or goes, because I think it would be a great asset to the town,” he said.
Last Saturday night was also Ly Underdown’s 50th birthday. With others we congratulate him on both anniversaries — he has come a long way and achieved much since he first banged up an old tin shed to sell groceries in 1929.
Categories: Northern Territory hotels