A TERRIFIC explosion shook Nowra’s Empire Hotel in the early hours of a spring morning in 1930 killing an occupant in one of its upstair’s bedrooms.
Now trading as the Australian Hotel, at the corner of Kinghorne and North Streets, Nowra, on the NSW South Coast, the Empire Hotel has been known by at least four names throughout its colourful history.
A bedroom, occupied by 63-year-old James McGregor, was completely wrecked when the explosion shook the pub to its foundations at 3.30am on Friday, October 10, 1930.
McGregor, an employee of Cambewarra Shire Council, was found lying on the floor of his room with an ear blown-off, and a shocking wound to the right side of his body.
While the coroner gave an open verdict to McGregor’s death, after insufficient evidence, some newspapers reported that the council worker had committed suicide.
The Braidwood Review reported: “The cause of the explosion is some what of a mystery, but it is believed that McGregor committed suicide by placing gelignite on the floor and then lying on top of it and applying a match, as he had a match-box in his hand with the top off when picked up.”
The force of the explosion blew a hole about eight inches in diameter in the floor, while a housemaid in another room was thrown out of her bed.
The Government Medical Officer and police were immediately called to the pub, but McGregor was unconscious on their arrival, and never afterwards spoke.
Arrangements were made to take him to Berry Hospital, but he died just as the police were putting him on the stretcher.
Subscribe to the latest Time Gents’ stories
PAYPAL BAR TIP
If you would like to support my work, you can leave a small tip here of $2, or several small tips, just increase the amount as you like. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.
OR TIP BY CREDIT CARD
Instead, you can make a credit card donation towards the publication of The Time Gents website. If you would like to support my work, you can leave a $2.50 donation here, or you can increase the amount after clicking or tapping into the icon below. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs and research.
Categories: NSW hotels