Missing sign mystery: Hotel Victor, Victor Harbour

hotel victor 1920s

The “Hotel Victor” in the 1930s. Picture: State Library of South Australia.

The missing sign mystery

WHAT ever happened to the large Hotel Victor sign that was sold for just $5 at auction in February 1990?

Christina Nixon of Allenby Gardens bought the sign off the pub at Victor Harbour, South Australia, which was perched high up on the hotel’s wall, facing the beach, but soon realised she was unable to get it down.

The sign was sold at a pre-demolition auction, which also included a range of items from bar fridges and dining tables to kitchen utensils and beds. 

The Hotel Victor, strategically located on the beach front, has been a part of Victor Harbour’s history since 1863 when the first stone pub opened to provide for the needs of an expanding workforce creating a town based on farming, and fishing and tourism.

Victor Harbour House

Victor Harbour House, which became the Hotel Victor. Picture: State Library of South Australia.

George Smith was first refused a license for the Victor Harour Hotel in March 1863, but was granted permission at his second attempt three months later in June.

The old hotel has undergone many cosmetic changes over more than 150 years of trading, including its demolition and rebuild by owners, SA Brewing in 1961.

In 1990 the hotel was virtually demolished again to make way for a reconstruction aimed at fitting into the beachside town’s historic streetscape, and that’s where we pick up our tale of the missing sign.

hotel victor 1990

Victor Hotel 1990, showing the sign bought by the Nixons in 1990. Picture: Victor Harbour Times. 

The Victor Harbour Times reported in 1990 that the Nixons went back to Adelaide, returning with a 16-foot ladder to bring down the sign, but soon realised it was too short.

“It was really a bit of an accident in the first place that I even got the sign, because the organisers said it could sell for up to a thousand dollars,” Mrs Nixon was reported to have said in the Times.

When the sign was up for auction nobody made a bid, so to start the ball rolling Mrs Nixon made a $5 bid.

“I made the first bid, but then no-one went any higher, so I ended up with the sign,” she said.

“We don’t know anyone in Victor Harbour so we couldn’t get it down that night — we’re hoping someone locally will lend us a long ladder since we’d like to keep the sign.”

Mrs Nixon was reported as saying that in time the sign would be of historical interest, and wanted to see it preserved.

Almost 40 years later, Time Gents wonders what ever became of the Hotel Victor sign. Let’s hope a local came to Mrs Nixon’s rescue all those years ago.

Hotel Victor Victor Harbour 2017

Hotel Victor 2017. Picture: Google Streetview.


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Categories: South Australia Hotels

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1 reply

  1. John Davoren was the publican from 1930 to 1944 so the caption stating 1920’s is not correct.

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