Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow

In March 1891, Thomas Williams purchased land near Broadmeadow station, and submitted an application for a a conditional publican’s licence “for premises proposed to be erected at the intersection of the Adamstown and Newcastle-Wallsend roads to be known by the sign of the Jersey Hotel.” Williams engaged James Henderson, the eminent architect of the ornate Victoria Theatre in Perkins Street Newcastle, to design a three storey, 15-room brick hotel.

With the building completed in early 1892 and after a change of mind on the name, Williams applied for the publican’s license he needed for his Premier Hotel to commence trading. On Thursday 17 March 1892 the Licensing Bench approved his application, but instead of downing drinks in celebration, Williams found his hotel in the drink due to inundation.  That very night the heavens opened and Newcastle was drenched with torrential rain, with flooding reported at Wallsend, Waratah, Lambton, and New Lambton.  At Broadmeadow “the flat between Adamstown and New Lambton and down to Lambton-road was one sheet of water on Friday morning.” Ralph Snowball photographed the newly licensed hotel, an island of refuge in an expanse of water.

The deluge had tragic consequences when “an elderly man named Edward Atkinson fell into a waterhole while looking for cows in a paddock near Adamstown and was drowned.” Once again, citizens called on the government to get on with its long-promised drainage scheme for the area.  The main stormwater drain through the Broadmeadow flats was completed in 1895, but the area around the Premier Hotel continued to be impacted by flooding until the completion of the Adamstown branch of the drain in 1899. In 1939 the hotel was rebuilt as an attractive two storey structure in the art deco style. Having survived a natural disaster in 1892, the hotel suffered damage in the 1989 earthquake and was repaired as a smaller, simpler building. Plans for a $34 million redevelopment of the site are now before Newcastle Council, for a nine-storey apartment building with ground floor pub.

Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow, NSW, 18 March 1892. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Living Histories.
The Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow, 2023.

The article above was first published in the October 2023 edition of The Local.


Ed Tonk’s book “No Bar to Time, The current Hotels of the Newcastle Local Government Area” was a useful source for some of the details in this article.

Additional Information

Details from Land title Vol-Fol 1021-71, showing purchase of portion 2101 of the Newcastle Pasturage Reserve by Thomas Williams on 11 March 1891.

Pages 227-229 of “Early Architects of the Hunter Region” by Les Reedman shows three drawings by James Henderson of “New brick hotel, Newcastle Pasturage Reserve, near Broadmeadow Station, 1891”. The inscription on the top of the facade shows the originally proposed name of “Jersey Hotel”.

Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow, 18 March 1892 – looking westwards along Denison St. Photo by Ralph Snowball. University of Newcastle, Living Histories.
Denison St Hamilton, August 2023. (The present day Premier Hotel is hidden behind the building with the blue awnings at the end of the street.)
Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow, 13 September 1902. Photo by Ralph Snowball. Newcastle Library, Hunter Photobank, Accession Number 001 001055.
Nineways, Broadmeadow, with Premier Hotel in the background, September 1923. University of Newcastle, Living Histories.
Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow, 1959. Newcastle Library, Hunter Photobank. Accession Number 460 000055.
The Nineways, Broadmeadow, NSW, Australia [c.1960’s]. University of Newcastle, Living Histories.

2023 Development Application

In a curious coincidence, just a week after I had completed writing this article for “The Local”, news emerged that the owners of the Premier Hotel have submitted a Development Application (DA2023/00886) to Newcastle Council for a $34 million development to demolish the existing structure and erect an nine-story building with hotel on the lower floors, and 48 apartment units on the upper floors.

Proposed re-development of the Premier Hotel at the intersection of Brunker Road and Chatham Street. Image from the architectural plans for DA2023/00886.

Update 20 Feb 2024: The Hunter Central Coast Regional Planning Panel has rejected the proposed development, stating that “The proposed development does not respond to its current context and is out of scale with surrounding development.”

Newspaper articles

Article Date Event DateNotes
20 Mar 1891"I, THOMAS WILLIAMS, of Carrington, Landholder, do hereby give notice that I desire to obtain, and will, at the next Quarterly Licensing Court, to be holden at Newcastle on the ninth day of April next, apply for a Certificate, authorising the issue of a Conditional Publican's License, for pre mises proposed to be erected at the Junction of the Adamstown-road with the Newcastle- Wallsend-road, to be known by the sign of "Jersey Hotel," and to contain fifteen rooms, exclusive of those required for the use of the family."
10 Apr 1891Licensing court … "Thos. Williams applied for a conditional publican's license for premises proposed to be erected at the intersection of the Adamstown and Newcastle-Wallsend roads to be known by the sign of the Jersey Hotel." Despite objections from the police "the Bench said the plans showed that the house would be a good one; and, as there was nothing against the character of Mr. Williams, the application was granted."
6 Jun 1891James Henderson, architect, tenders invited for “the Erection and Completion of extensive BRICK HOTEL PREMISES at Adamstown, near Broadmeadow Railway Station, for Mr. Williams.” Tenders close 20 June.
29 Jan 1892"The Premier Hotel, the property of Mr. T. Williams, situated at the intersection of Adamstown. Lambton, and Waratah roads, is near completion.” [This is the first mention of “Premier Hotel” in the newspapers.]
18 Mar 1892
17 Mar 1892
"Thomas Williams was granted a license for premises situated at the junction of the Adamstown and Wallsend roads."
18 Mar 1892
17 Mar 1892
At "he Licensing Bench yesterday … an application for a license for new premises situated at the junction of the Adamstown and Wallsend roads was also granted."
19 Mar 1892
17 Mar 1892
"Waratah. The heavy rain which fell during Thursday night again caused a considerable overflow in the streets, and particularly in the vicinity of the station."
19 Mar 1892
17 Mar 1892
"New Lambton. THE HEAVY RAIN. The heavy rain, which fell during Thursday night, flooded the properties on the Lambton Road, adjoining the tramline. The large drains overflowed, and across both the road and the tramline was one sheet of water. Some of the residents had to leave their houses to take care of themselves, and seek shelter in the tramwaiting shed at the Raspberry Gully line crossing."
19 Mar 1892
17 Mar 1892
"Plattsburg. STORM WATERS. The exceptional downpour of rain early on Friday morning very soon flooded all the low-lying land, and the result was that the residents of Nelson-street, from John-street to the bridge, were again flooded. On this occasion the water rose some 9in higher than the former floods."
19 Mar 1892
17 Mar 1892
"Lambton. During Thursday night the heavy rains caused a good deal of damage to the streets of the municipality by washing gravel and other road material away. Pearson and Howe streets were flooded, but fortunately not high enough to enter the houses. A thorough system of drainage at the lower end of the district from New Lambton downwards, through Hamilton, is necessary to prevent these periodical floods, as the water then would have an opportunity of free access to the main channels to the sea. But at present it is a source of trouble and expense to the whole of these municipalities, and the sooner the proposed scheme of the Hamilton, New Lambton, and other councils is carried out the better for everybody concerned."
19 Mar 1892
18 Mar 1892
"It was reported yesterday morning that an elderly resident named Edward Atkinson was missing, and supposed to be drowned in Yates' paddock, between Adamstown and New Lambton … which proved to be correct, for after some time the body was brought to the surface, at about 10.30 am. The deceased was 72 years of age."
19 Mar 1892
18 Mar 1892
"An elderly man named Edward Atkinson fell into a waterhole while looking for cows in a paddock near Adamstown yesterday morning and was drowned."
21 Mar 1892"In common with other parts of the district the rain has done a deal of damage to the roads in the municipality. The low lands have suffered considerably. The flat between Adamstown and New Lambton and down to Lambton-road was one sheet of water on Friday morning. Numerous dwellings were flooded. People who have lived on the Lambton-road for 17 years say that they never knew the water to be so high as it was on Friday. The proposed high drain will be a blessing to the district, and till it is completed the low lands between Adamstown, New Lambton, and Broadmeadow will continue to be under water in wet weather."
10 Aug 1895"One of the finest pieces of work done in this district is the much-spoken-of Commonage drain. The other day we visited the work and were greatly surprised at the proportions of the huge drain. In fact it is— or will be in rainy seasons — a regular canal. It begins half way between New Lambton and Hamilton, and runs in a fairly straight line towards a creek flowing into the Hunter. The drain will easily carry off the storm waters from the large area of country comprising the Commonage."
25 Jan 1898
24 Jan 1898
"BROADMEADOW. Last night at 9 o'clock the flood waters were over Brunker-road, and people from Adamstown who wished to got to the tram were forced to wade through a foot deep of water on the road. A large number of dwellings in the locality, including the Premier Hotel, were surrounded by water."
30 Nov 1898"The construction of the Adamstown branch of the Commonage drainage work has been delayed while the culvert under the Government railway was in course of construction. With the exception of a small portion near the railway culvert, the drain is completed to near the Adamstown-New Lambton road."
29 Apr 1899"The Adamstown branch of the Commonage drain has stopped within a few chains of the Adamstown-New Lambton road near the railway station. The cause of the drain stopping at that point is in consequence of it being found necessary to carry it through private property, and as the authorities have not come to terms with the Waratah Company and other property holders work is suspended and the municipality suffers."
26 Aug 1899Report on how the flooding in the Broadmead area was not as bad as former times “which is directly due to the Adamstown branch of the Commonage drainage works being opened cross the Lambton-road, and the Adamstown water thus being given straight course to the main drain.”
28 Sep 1900
27 Sep 1900
"Mr. M. S. Love, Acting S.M., yesterday granted Thomas Williams permission to transfer his license of the Premier Hotel, Broadmeadow, to Henry Joseph Denney."
5 Nov 1938"The Premier Hotel at Broadmeadow, is to be demolished. On the site will be erected a modern hotel, in two storeys, the cost of which will be £20,000. The architect is Mr. C. Ruwald, of Sydney."
5 Oct 1939"To-morrow an official opening ceremony will be held at noon at the Premier Hotel at Broadmeadow to mark the completion of a most attractive and modernly designed addition to the hotels of the district. The new building has a frontage to two main roads and a striking architectural treatment coupled with most up-to-date interior facilities and furnishings provide an outstanding example of a modern trend in hotel design"

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