Hotel useful at 21, dies worth millions

The Hotel Alexander, Melbourne.

The Hotel Alexander, Melbourne.

jimmy richardson“Jimmy” Richardson, the biggest figure in Australia’s hotel trade, died yesterday, aged 87.

True to his life long principles of hard workand frugality, he worked at his accounts and signing of cheques until the eve of his death. He died in his bed at the Hotel Alexander at 10am,after a month’s illness.

He was worth approximately £2 million.

James Richardson arrived in Australia from Ayrshire,Scotland with just £20.

He worked as a hotel “useful” in Sydney, and then as a barman in the Hotel Windsor, Melbourne.

So carefully did he save that after only six years in Australia he had enough money to buy the lease of his first hotel.

The hotel, at the corner of Bourke and Russell sts., still bears his name.

Six years later, at 33, he bought the freehold of the hotel.

By working round the clock, keeping close watch of all profits and takings, and by most frugal living, he had built this one-hotel business into a chain of seven, with four wine and spirit shops,within another 24 years.

In 1928 his one extravagance, the Hotel Alexander, was opened to be the showplace of Australia, and the first hotel with a bathroom and hot and cold water to every bedroom.

In 1944 he sold five of his hotels, but continued the rest of his business himself – including his first hotel and the Alexander.

He is survived by a sister and a brother. The funeral will leave Sleight’s funeral parlor tomorrow afternoon for the Brighton Cemetery.

– The Argus (Melbourne), Monday 13 August 1951, page 1.

Categories: Melbourne Hotels, Victoria hotels

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