MENTION Randwick, and horse racing immediately comes to mind.
Besides the historic track known as Royal Randwick, there’s another landmark in the Sydney eastern suburb that bears the same name, and has held an association with nobility for more than 130 years.
The Royal Hotel’s link to the sport of kings though doesn’t end there.
The grand hotel was established in 1887 at the corner of Perouse Road and Cuthill Street by prominent patron of the turf, Tom Browne, who made his mark on racing with his horse, The Barber.
Barber won the Hawkesbury Handicap and other Sydney races during the 1870s. Browne’s other horses, Centaur, Lord Roberts, and Friction, were also worth backing during the 1870s ands 1880s. While not behind the bar pulling beers, old Tom was a regular visitor to Royal Randwick.
At the age of 51, Browne engaged architect, John Kirkpatrick to design him a two-storey Victorian hotel, featuring decorative wrought-iron balconies. The pub was licensed on July 21 1887.
Browne ran the Royal for many years before his death at the age of 68 in May 1904.
While many licensees’ names hung over the Royal’s door over the following years, the Browne family retained the freehold until December 1947, when it was sold at auction for £100,000.
The corner block, with frontages of 190ft to Perouse Road and 112ft to Cuthill Street, was purchased by Katie Cameron and JJ Carroll, before the pub was again sold to W. Dwyer in January 1949. Sydney brewery giant, Tooth and Company purchased the pub on June 26 1950.
The Royal Hotel has been an integral part of the Randwick area – favourite with locals – and is currently owned and operated by Mrs Margaret Maloney, who bought the hotel nearly 40 years ago.
The Victorian-era building still retains its original period features, with decorative wrought iron balconies and stunning chandeliers on display.