THE Aberdare Hotel at Weston, NSW, was built by Englishman, John Champion who came to Australia at the age of 21 in 1876.
Champion was coal miner, who later went into business, hosting the Rose, Shamrock, and Thistle Hotel at Lambton, and later the Northumberland Hotel in Hunter Street Newcastle, during the 1880s.
Champion made his money though when he established the first hotel on the upper Hunter Valley coalfields, the Tattersall’s at Heddon Greta in 1894.
At the age of 48, Champion started building a grand hotel on what was then the corner of Hall and Aberdare streets at Weston. He owned the land, and had already partly built the pub, spending £750 in material and outside buildings when he was granted a certificate for a conditional license in 1903.
Champion was still host of the Heddon-Greta Hotel at the time, but said he intended giving up the license when his new Weston pub was completed. He completed the Aberdare Hotel at a cost about £2000, opening for business in March in 1905.
Champion was a keen follower of sport and generally had a horse or two in training. He owned Lady Vallin who won the Maitland Cup and Ponnybont, who annexed the Newcastle Cup.
After establishing the Aberdare Hotel, Champion owned many other hostelries in the Cessnock and Maitland areas before his death at the age of 76 in 1931.
The Aberdare Hotel closed for business in January 2016, after the owners began major renovations. The renovations have not been completed and the pub remains closed.