THE magnificent art-deco Royal Hotel at Condobolin was nearly lost earlier in the year when it was closed for business.
David Price, who has been licensee of the Royal since mid 2018, had different ideas though. He had been managing the Royal for Sydney investors.
During the initial Covid pandemic shutdown in March 2020, the pub was purchased by Iris capital, and the pokies were immediately leased to a Sydney venue.
Sadly by June 2020 the Royal, in the central west of NSW, had been closed for business and its future uncertain.
Through negotiations over the following months, and “travelling uncharted waters”, David Price has been able to negotiate a lease agreement with the new owners and has now re-opened the pub, albeit on “a limited budget and a clear direction”.
“Keep the country pubs open, keep the dream alive. For this moment we have a future,”he said.
The TAB and keno facilities will be on line soon, and he is hoping accommodation will increase during Condobolin’s harvest period.
The Royal has been trading from the current site since 1886, although the original pub had operated from another site in the town as early as 1879.
The pub was established by Welshman, David Henry Tasker.
Tasker left Wales at the age of five to come to Australia with his parents in 1853. He married Ellen Boxall in 1874 before the couple left Tichborne in 1877 and journeyed to Condobolin looking to start business.
On Boxing Day, 1878, he arrived at Condobolin, with his wife and two sons, Thomas and David.
In those days, Condobolin was a rural hamlet, and the eastern portion of Bathurst Street was the business centre. There was a billiard saloon, blacksmith shop, post office, a couple of pubs, school, butcher shop and general store.
Tasker decided to establish a hotel in Condobolin and licensed a Royal Hotel in 1879.
Tasker’s original Royal Hotel was a single storey inn, located elsewhere in the town, and wasn’t trading on its current site. His business grew, and in less than 10 years his pub became too small.
In 1886 Tasker built a brick structure on the current site of the Royal Hotel at what is today 71 Bathurst St, Condobolin. The Sydney Evening News reported on October 16 1886:
News from Condobolin.
NEW ROYAL HOTEL. — One of the finest hotels in the Western district was opened here on Monday last by Mr. D. H. Taskar, who has now vacated the old Royal. The building-site and furniture have cost about £7000, and the appointments are of a superior description throughout. There is fine stabling attached, there being accommodation for twenty horses, in addition to twelve loose boxes, which can be utilised as buggy-sheds when required.
Over time, the Royal was extended and enlarged. By 1920 the Royal stood as one of the best appointed and most commodious modernised country hotels, complete with electric light installation and motor garage, and was known through out the length and breadth of the State as Tasker’s Hotel.
In conjunction with his hotel business, in the early days, Tasker ran many sidelines, chief of which was Cobb & Co’s Royal Coach Agencies. Tasker was said to have worked long and arduous hours on coach days, for passengers and parcels were numerous, and all booking was done at his hotel.
Tasker used to tell the tale of how he enjoyed walking 10 miles along the Forbes Road to meet the mail each Sunday, and on one occasion walked to Mulguthrie pub (then conducted by Alf Reynolds), as the coach was delayed. He loved nothing more to mount the coach and take the ribbons and pilot the four-in-hand to the local post office.
In 1892 Tasker leased his pub to Charles Reuben, and retired to a beautiful mansion he had built, known as Goodwill, where he lived till 1902.
Tasker returned as host of the Royal in 1902, and it was there he remained until his death at the age of 67 in 1920. Starting life in Condobolin with £600, he left behind him a huge estate. He owned many properties in the township.
Long before the municipalisation of Condobolin he was an active member of a Progress Association. Then with the incorporation of the town into a municipality in January, 1890, he became an alderman. In 1893, he was unanimously elected mayor, and held that office just four years, when he retired from the council. However, in October of the same year (1896) he was re-elected alderman and on the following December was elected mayor. He held office till 1899. In 1900 he retired from the council altogether.
Interestingly his son David junior was also mayor of the municipality for 16 years during his 18 years on the council. Another son, Tom was also mayor for two years, and town clerk for over 10 years.
After Tasker’s death in 1920, his son Dave Junior took the reins of the Royal.
Dave junior was brought up in his parent’s Royal Hotel. He attended Newington College and served in the Boar War from 1899 to 1902.
Described as a strong and of athletic type in his young days, he was a natural sportsman, a good bike rider and boxer. Like his father, he was an alderman of the municipality for about 20 years and was mayor for 10 years.
As a member of the jockey club and a committeeman he was active and took a prominent part, as he did in many other public matters. He unsuccessful contested the seat of Lachlan for the Labor party in October, 1930.
Dave junior was the largest property holder in town at the time of his death at the age of 56 in 1936. He left a widow and a son.
After his death, the Royal Hotel was sold to Tooheys Brewery in May 1938.
Tooheys brewery demolished the historic pub in 1939, and rebuilt the current art-deco Royal, which was complete on March 5 1940.
The Lachlander and Condobolin and Western Districts Recorder reporter on Thursday March 28 1940:
NEW ROYAL HOTEL
The building line of Condobolin has further changed with the erection of the new Royal Hotel in Bathurst street. The building is providing work for a large number of workmen and is expected to be completed within five or six weeks. Mr. Harry Hoare, who is well known throughout the West, is the new licensee, and he is confident that the new premises will be equal to any outside the .metropolitan area. Modern and spacious lounges will be a feature of the hotel and the accommodation scarcity in the town will he relieved by the provision of many bedrooms. Hot and cold water services will be fitted in every bedroom. There is ample bathroom space and there should be no congestion in this respect. The stables at the rear of the premises are being demolished and up to date garages are being erected.
Today the Royal continues under the stewardship of licensee, David Price who has been at the helm since 2018.
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Categories: NSW hotels