The first Commercial Hotel

My December article for The Local is out, this month on the Commercial Hotel/Snake Gully Hotel/Hotel Amos/Bar 121, on the south west corner of Elder and Grainger Streets Lambton. This soon to be demolished building was erected in 1888, but in researching the article I discovered there was an earlier and different Commercial Hotel in the period 1879-1882, on the north side of Elder St.

The references to it were fairly scant, and I had little hope of determining where it was located. But last weekend, thanks to an 1885 advertisement of sale of an oddly shaped land allotment, and the NSW Globe KML, I’m reasonably confident that the first Commercial Hotel was at 102-104 Elder St, where Raine & Horne Real Estate, and Williams Artisan Bread & Espresso is now located.

102 and 104 Elder St Lambton. Site of the first Commercial Hotel in Lambton.

Lambton Memorial Baby Health Centre

On page 14 of the Weekender section of today’s Newcastle Herald, there is an article about the Lambton Park Tea Rooms (situated at the north west corner of Lambton Park) in which it is stated …

“Originally built in 1935 as a war widows refuge, the building became the Lambton Memorial Baby Health Clinic in the ’70s.”

I don’t know where this ‘information’ came from, but unfortunately it is wrong, wrong, and wrong.

  • It wasn’t built in 1935
  • It was never a war widows refuge
  • It was always a Baby Health Clinic, from the time it was constructed in 1947.

Aerial photography from 1944 shows the site of the former baby health centre to be empty.

Lambton Park, 1944

A quick search of Trove shows that baby health centre was …

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), Monday 1 September 1947, page 4
Lambton Memorial Baby Health Centre, now the Lambton Park Tea Rooms. December 2018.
The bronze memorial plaques on the entrance gate pillars.

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
27 Oct 1944"Lambton, committee of National Fitness has made preliminary plans for a baby health centre to be built by voluntary labour. A sub-committee last night decided to ask Greater Newcastle Council to have set apart portion of Lambton Park for the building."
3 May 1945"The sub-committee of Lambton National Fitness Committee handling arrangements for the building of a baby health centre adopted building plans submitted by Ald. T. Armstrong. It was decided to name the proposed centre the Lambton Memorial Baby Health Centre."
18 Jan 1946"Ald. T. Armstrong, at Lambton National Fitness annual meeting last night exhibited plans tor the Lambton baby health centre, for which Greater Newcastle Council had decided to call tenders."
28 Feb 1946"Greater Newcastle Council last night adopted a recommendation from the Finance Committee for erection of a baby health centre at Lambton."
31 May 1946"Except for the brick ornamental fence, Greater Newcastle Council's proposal for a baby health centre at Lambton has been approved by the Minister for Labour and Industry (Mr. Hamilton Knight.)"
28 Mar 1947"The Baby Health Centre now being erected on Lambton Park, facing Elder-street, is almost completed."
"The centre will serve as a memorial to the men of Lambton and surrounding districts who served during the war."
1 Sep 1947"Lambton Memorial Baby Health Centre, nearing completion in Lambton Park. It will be one of the most modern centres in New South Wales. The equipped building will cost about £3000. The Health Department is bearing half the cost. The remainder will be paid by Greater Newcastle, helped by a residents' contribution of £500."
27 Nov 1947
29 Nov 1947
"The Lord Mayor (Ald. Quinlan) will open Lambton Memorial Baby Health Centre on Saturday, at 3 p.m."
"Three bronze tablets-two memorial tablets for the entrance gates, and a dedication tablet for the front of the building - were bought by the committee."

Platts Hill

While researching the history of trams in Newcastle, I came across a newspaper article from 1900 that mentioned “Platt’s Hill” in Waratah.

A movement was recently made by Lambton people to have a connection with Waratah by way of Platt’s Hill.

I wasn’t familiar with this name and initially wondered whether it referred to the Braye Park hill. But a quick check of my index of historical real estate posters revealed a poster from 1915 that showed Platt’s Hill is where the Mater hospital is located today.

Real estate poster from 1915, showing land for sale on Platt’s Hill. University of Newcastle, Cultural Collections.
1915 Real estate map overlaid into Google Earth

GFail

After months of declining the new GMail interface, Google finally foisted it upon me today. Maybe I’ll get it used to it after a while, but in my opinion that font they’re now using is way too weighty and ugly. I feel like I’m being shouted at whenever I open my mail.