Here in Mount Gambier our historic hotels shape the city’s CBD. Each one has their own story to tell, so we’ve collected a tale or two to tempt your interest.
And in sharing, we hand the story over to you. Eat, drink and sleep your way through the most history rich areas of the city.
1. South Eastern Hotel
235 Commercial Street East
The South Eastern Hotel was first licensed in 1886 and up for tender in 1894. In 1929, publican Mrs. Aldersey lost her licence after her third conviction and in 1931 publican Terry also lost the licence.
Today, the South Eastern Hotel provides a great space for a hit of pool in the front bar and has a bistro perfect for families.
2. Federal Hotel
112 Commercial Street East
The Federal Hotel was built on the site of the Farmer’s Inn, which operated from 1856 to 1914. The owners were told to re-build the hotel or forfeit the licence. The current building was re-built and opened in 1915 at a cost of £2,500, being renamed the Federal Hotel.
Today, the Federal Hotel is home to the ‘House of Schnitzel’. Enjoy a meal before heading upstairs and spending the night in their accommodation.
3. South Australian Hotel
78 Commercial Street East
The South Australian Hotel first opened their doors in 1860 by the first owner, Robert Long. Further extensions to the building were done in 1861 and 1868. Publican Long died in 1869 and his wife Jane took over as publican. In 1893, there was a proposal to change the name to Tattersall’s Hotel but it never went ahead.
Today, the South Aussie is the perfect place for a feed and a beer while catching up with mates.
4. Flanagan’s Irish Pub
6 Ferrers Street
In 1864, August Pringle converted a wooden butcher shop into a public house and named it the Globe Inn. In 1867, a second storey was added to the building. The town’s first major fire gutted the entire building in 1885 and and was rebuilt in the same year. It was renamed Flanagan’s Irish Pub in 1997, making it South Australia’s first Irish Pub.
Today, you can relax with a drink while watching Fox Sports on the big screen or listening to live music at Flanagan’s Irish Pub, or as the locals refer to it ‘Flannies’.
5. Jens Town Hall Hotel
40 Commercial Street East
Built by Johannes Jens in 1884, Jens Town Hall Hotel was lit by one of only two gas making machines in town. The eastern wing was added in 1904 and the limestone wing facing Watson Terrace added in 1927. A tunnel ran under the road, which staff used to come and go from work to the Jen’s Annexe. Entering from the western side you’re greeted by a magnificent staircase, fireplace and chandelier, which has seen many distinguished guests traverse the steps including royalty, movie stars and politicians.
Today, Jens Town Hall Hotel has indoor dining, a sports bar and a beer garden perfect for summer. Round up your mates and enjoy a drink at Jens.
6. Mount Gambier Hotel
2 Commercial Street West
Mount Gambier Hotel was established in 1862, with extensions added in 1867, 1869 and 1883. A veranda was added in 1902. Holding the earliest hotel licence (1847) in town, it was transferred to this site from Watson Terrace when the building was opened. In 1954, it was sold for the record price of £100,000. £750 per foot.
Today, the Mount Gambier Hotel is commonly referred to by locals as ‘The G’. Visitors can enjoy a meal at the bistro, stay the night upstairs or purchase local wine to take home from the bottleshop.
7. Mac’s Hotel
21 Bay Road
In 1864, John MacDonald converted a single storey home to a hotel, Macs Hotel. It was leased to Archibald McKenzie in 1871, later purchasing it in 1881. He built a new two storey hotel which opened in 1882. In 2000, major renovations were undertaken.
Today, Macs Hotel offers bistro and parlour dining and a cider garden bar suitable all year round for locals and visitors to enjoy. Accommodation is also available.
8. Commercial Hotel
76 Commercial Street West
The Commercial Hotel was built as a single storey hotel in 1868. In 1876, publican Pressey left town in a hurry due to bad debts. Under new ownership, additions were made in 1883 and 1904 turning it into a two storey facility.
Today, the hotel is known as ‘The Commersh’. Enjoy a drink and bite to eat while listening to live music on the weekends.
9. Park Hotel
163 Commercial Street West
The Park Hotel was built in 1886 for C.H. Gaden after the license was transferred from the nearby Shakespeare Tavern. Provision was once made for a veranda but it was never added.
Today, the Park Hotel offers boutique accommodation for visitors to Mount Gambier. The bistro offers delicious meals and a great place to catch up with friends and family.
10. The Western Tavern
178 Jubilee Highway West
The Western Tavern is the newest hotel in the city, first licensed in 1985. It was famous for “Charlies Diner”, an all you can eat restaurant based on Charlie Chaplin. It also included a life size statue of Charlie himself. A new bistro was opened in 2008 and “Charlie’s Diner” was no longer.
Today, The Western Tavern is open for lunch and dinner. They also offer gaming, live sport and trivia night every Wednesday.
To find more dining or accommodation options in Mount Gambier, click here.