Century old Sans Souci Hotel fell to the hand of ‘progress’ in 1921

Sans Souci Hotel, Sans Souci, C1920. Inset: William Rust.

BUILT by convict labour about 1815, the large sandstone coaching inn known as the Sans Souci Hotel in southern Sydney met its demise after more than a century of trade in 1921.

The hotel was located just west of the St George Sailing Club, on the elevated parcel of land leading to the bridge. The area was once known as Gun Point.*

During the 1870s one of the hotel’s most popular hosts was William R. Rust.

For upwards of 40 years the publican had hosted the Sans Souci Hotel, the Prince of Wales’ Hotel, or the Sir Joseph Banks’ Hotel, at Botany.

Rust was born in Norfolk, England, and in his early days was a sailor, and once, when in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly succumbed to yellow fever. While he hosted the Sans Souci Hotel, the Governors of the State were frequent visitors.

Rust died in 1913 at the age of 84.

As described in the following story, published in the St George Call on Friday, May 6, 1921, not all were happy with the historic pub’s demolition:

Historic Landmark

By ‘Gorrick’

The demolition of the old Sans Souci hotel has removed from the St. George district a very old landmark. it was built by Mr. Cooper over one hundred and four years ago, during the regime of Governor Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, by State Labor.

The stone was in the vicinity and the timber used in its construction was taken from the trees grown nearby, and hand sawn, for saw-mills were not then available, and at the time of demolition each were in good state of preservation.

In the stone walls and stout beams were quaint ‘hide-holes’ in unexpected places, and a steep stair-case ascending abruptly from what was the living room. By the way, a story is attached to that same staircase.

In the old days when convicts still lived in the scrub on the edge of the bay and the officer in charge dwelt in the stone house on the hill, a “step staircase” existed, which was drawn up religiously each night as a means of security against any marauder; but even in those days a determined cracks man would have found some means of attaining his desire in spite of this precaution. Originally a round tower-like building, the old house was improved by several additional rooms and a verandah, but otherwise it remained as it was when first erected; and it is this house, with its memories and associations that has been threatened and demolished at the hands of that juggernaut, “Progress”.

Such places should not be permitted to become the plaything of departments, but should be preserved as national property, and valued accordingly.

* information supplied by Wayne Pascoe from the St George District (Sydney) Facebook Group.

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Categories: NSW hotels, Sydney hotels


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