More than ‘just another beer house’, Parramatta’s Lennox Hotel was a ‘social centre’

Lennox Hotel Parramatta October 1959 ANU
The recently completed Lennox Hotel, at the south-west corner of George and Smith Street, Parramatta, October 1958. The pub faced George Street and sat next door to the landmark Roxy Theatre. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.
Lennox Hotel bar October 1958 ANU
The public bar of the recently completed Lennox Hotel, Parramatta, October 1958. Picture: Noel Butlin Archives, Australian National University.

THE Lennox Hotel at Parramatta opened for business as a Toohey’s tied house in Sydney’s west on Friday, October 10, 1958, after its license was transferred from the nearby Tattersall’s Hotel at the corner of Smith and George Streets.

Read Time Gents’ history of Parramatta’s Tattersall’s Hotel HERE

A former Mayor of Scone, Mark Cotter was the first licensee of the Lennox Hotel when it opened. On the eve of the hotel’s opening, the Cumberland Argus published a three page feature on October 8, 1958:

PICTURED is the luxury new Lennox Hotel, George St. Parramatta built for £200,000. The hotel is named after one of Parramatta’s most famous pioneers David Lennox, who was responsible for the construction of many bridges throughout Sydney in the early part of the nineteenth century. Inset: Mayor of Parramatta, Alderman D. J. Mahoney, will officially open the £200,000 Lennox Hotel tomorrow evening (Thursday, October 9). Many leading personalities of business, local government, semi-government and prominent organisations will be present.

The Lennox — Parramatta’s Hotel Australia — a building of fine architectural qualities, luxury and convenient amenities and “service paradise” for the public, officially opens Friday (October 10). The Lennox is a further example of the modern trend to establish hotels as social centres rather than “just another beer house”. The building is set back from the street alignment and the forecourt between the building and the street boundary is raised up some 15 inches, paved with Terrapave, steps and flower boxes. The hotel is constructed with reinforced concrete foundations — piers going down 12′ into permanently wet clay. The outside brickwork is in Chromatic bricks. These creamy coloured bricks are accented around the main entrance doorways with colourful glass mosaic tiles. Doors, windows and awning fascias are in aluminium. Underside of the eaves and hoods are painted turquoise, with dark grey gutters and white eaves fascia. The public bar is some 70 feet long with doors from the George Street forecourt, and across also from the car park at the rear. This bar has three separate counters, one of which connects with the bottle dept. A feature of this bar is the large central skylight, which allows natural lighting and ventilation in this long room. The ceiling is acoustic plaster tiles, and the main wall is tiled to the ceiling. The bar fronts and the other walls to 6ft. high are faced with glazed tiles. The saloon bar. also 70 ft. long, has doors to the George Street forecourt, and at the rear doors to the Green Room, which leads to the lounge and car park. This bar has similar sky light as in the public bar, and balance of the ceiling acoustic tiles. A servery window for bottle sales leads into the bottle department, and one end of the longer counter is for food preparation and sales, with its own sink, bain marie, and food hot press….

PICTURED is the Hotel Lennox musical trio. These three top musicians will entertain the large crowds expected at the Hotel Lennox. They are, from left to right: Barrie Chew, Perc Roberts (leader) and Johnnie Fearnley.

These will be three of the outstanding features offered by the magnificent new Hotel Lennox when it opens on Friday, October 10. Music will be provided chiefly by the Hotel Trio, top entertainers in the music field. Blind pianist Perc Roberts, capable of playing many instruments, will lead the trio. Perc Roberts, star of TV and radio, has played with top-line bands. He will be playing on a German piano. His trio includes compere Johnnie Fearnley, who also plays drums, and bearded bass player, Barrie Chew. Barrie is also a trumpeter. Musical entertainment will be extended after a few weeks to include talent quests and performances by some of Sydney’s top artists. Stars will be featured in ‘spots’ on different programmes. A wonderful range of competitions, such as pick-a-box and others, will follow these top artists.

The Lennox Hotel faced George Street, with a forecourt, and sat next to the Roxy Theatre. Sadly the pub traded for less than 30 years before it was closed and demolished soon after.

Barry Tarot, who lived “up the road” from the pub, and who was a regular customer, told me that the Lennox Hotel closed in 1984. The pub was replaced with a Coopers and Lybrand high rise development.

George and Smith Street Parramatta site of Lennox Hotel
The Lennox Hotel was located on the site of the six storey glass and steel building to the left, on the south west corner of George and Smith Streets, Parramatta. The pub faced George Street. Picture: Google Streetview.

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Categories: NSW hotels, Sydney hotels

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