The presence of an old English pub in the dry, dusty goldfields of Western Australia, must have had a few inhabitants of Kalgoorlie scratching their heads when it first opened for business at the turn of last century.
The Duke of Cornwall Hotel was a departure from the common styles of pub architecture in Kalgoorlie.
The Duke of Cornwall was owned at the outset by a ‘syndicate of gentlemen’ and was managed by local identity, Paddy Whelan, a well known storyteller, poet, politician and astute businessman.
Another Kalgoorlie identity, ‘Shorty Western’ is believed to have set a world beer drinking record at the pub in 1953, by sinking 12 pots while the Kalgoorlie Post Office clock struck 12.
The challenge originated in the early days of the goldfields when wagers were set by placing a dozen pots of beer on the bar counter, and drinkers attempted to sink one for every stroke of the town clock as it chimed at midday.
Today, sadly the Duke of Cornwall is no longer a pub and trades as a night club.
The Kalgoorlie Western Argus reported the opening of the Duke of Cornwall on Thursday, May 17, 1900:
BUSINESS enterprise and high confidence in the future of this town and district have just endowed Kalgoorlie with a new hotel, which distinctly adorns the upper end of Hannan Street. This new house, the Duke of Cornwall (pictured) has been built for a small syndicate of gentlemen, who have ventured to invest some £6000 in their hotel property, and who plainly took care to see that their money was well spent.
Brick and stone have been employed throughout, and a departure from locally common styles of architecture has been made in having the facades of old English type, suggestive of ease and comforts within. The hotel is two stories in height. Portion of one Hannan-street frontage has been used for two shops, while the whole of the upper story has been apportioned into rooms for the use of visitors to the hotel.
The ordinary public bar is at the south-western corner of the building, with a main opening behind a section of brickwork, and further along, on the southern side is a saloon bar with billiard-room attached. Space will not allow of detailed descriptions of all the apartments – designed and constructed to meet up-to-date requirements. Suffice it to say that things have generally been done in a manner that is bound to command the approval of the public, which has thoughtfully been catered for.
One of the notable provisions to make the Duke of Cornwall a favorite residential hotel is that the means of entrance to the living rooms has been separated as well as can be from the bars. A survey of the bedrooms, sitting rooms, etc., shows that light, ventilation, and a full measure of conveniences and comforts have been provided. A big thing about the hotel is that it is a free house – not under the thumb of any brewers or dealers in liquor, so that patrons can ask for what drinks they like best, in confidence that whatever they want will be supplied if it is reasonably procurable.
The dining-room department has been made the subject of special care, and the public are assured that in this connection no room will be found for faultfinding. Mr. D. Lammas, who is well and favorably known here by his previous connections with other hotels, has the management of the hotel, which, designed as it is to thoroughly meet requirements of local residents and visitors to the fields, seems destined to enjoy heavy and continuous patronage.
The chambers at the 417ft in the old shaft on Block 45 have been cut, and crosscutting east and west is just starting. The west crosscut will connect with the workings of the new shaft, thus ensuring good ventilation.
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Categories: Australian Hotels, Western Australia hotels
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