ON a road trip to the upper Hunter, we stopped at the bandaged Chelmsford Hotel at Kurri Kurri.
The poor old lady was undergoing a bit of a facelift, and she wasn’t in the best state to be photographed. Nevertheless, we snapped a picture for prosperity, hoping that when the bandages are removed, she looks as beautiful as she did in the 1930 photograph I’ve also posted. I’ve also included a Google Streetview image, just so we can do the obligatory “before and after” comparison after she’s all healed.
The three-storey Chelmsford Hotel was built by George Charlton at a cost of £6,700 in 1914. He bought property at the corner of Cessnock and Victoria Streets, Kurri Kurri, for £800. Charlton opened the pub for business in January 1915, and he paid an annual licensing fee of £55.
Arthur Freeman can be credited with being the first person charged for drunkeness within the Chelmsford’s bar. Maybe he deserves a plaque on the wall. He appeared in the Kurri Kurri Police Court charged with being drunk and disorderly, and was fined £1, or seven days behind bars. To top it off, he was also charged with having made use of indecent language, and copped a £2 fine, or seven days in the lock-up.
Shortly after the pub’s completion, Charlton sold the pub to Tooheys Brewery. He remained as host for six years, selling the business to Clywdd Wilson in 1921.
The landmark pub continues to dominates the Kurri Kurri township’s streetscape, and will continue to do so after her much deserved facelift.
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