HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

4 February 2016

Hotel for Tomerong

Traveling through Tomerong today and what do you see…a sleepy little village by passed by the new highway and left to it’s own devices. There are some old buildings still standing but most of the past as been overtaken by modern developments,  the parts that are left speak of a different era,  one filled with new adventures, controversy and sometimes tragedy. It’s worth taking the time to look into the rich history of this once thriving centre of development and industry. Decisions were made at Tomerong that effected the area from Falls creek out to Jervis bay and as far south as Milton…It is hard to imagine that Tomerong was once the centre for our local government.

I come across many articles from Tomerong past.  this one took me on another journey to a time when things moved a lot slower but commerce was still as important then as it is now.

1897 an application was made to the Licencing Court of Nowra by Mr Thomas Mooney of Pambula to re open the original hotel at Tomerong formally licenced to Parnell the original Hotel hadn't operated as such for a number of years and was unlicenced and untenanted.

The application had a number of objectors who lodged a petition signed by 78 persons,  mostly residents of Currumbene,  Tomerong  and Wandandian.

The principal objection raised was that there was no necessity for the proposed accommodation at Tomerong,  There being no objection whatever to the applicant personally.

If the licence is granted it will have to be a 30 pound licence,  as it is within ten mile of the Jervis Bay hotel. The original licence was 10 ponds.



The orignal Jervis Bay Hotel 1901

Licencing board inspection report.
It was noted by the licencing inspector there was no furniture other than two or three beds, the back walls were falling down,  and the place was in a run down condition unfit for habitation.

A licence had already been granted for a hotel at Wandandian,  and since then a wine licence had also been granted to B. Loutit by the Milton Bench.

The board considered the house at Tomerong was not required,
now that the other two licences had been granted,  those being sufficent for the road Nowra to Milton.

Other objections raised.
The Tomerong house was a quarter of a mile from a church and public school and directly opposite the post office, where children usually went for the mail.

The district was very quiet at the present time,  and there were no complaints as to drunkeness of obsene language.

The Tomerong people were not drinkers.  Considered 14 miles to close for a licenced house on that road.

Alex Mattews, one of the objectors, residing 21/4 miles from the proposed hotel, stated that he resided at Tomerong for 40 years,  and he opposed the present application because there was already plenty of accommodation on the road.

The board unanimously refused the application.

Traveller Rest Hotel 1857.
The first hotel at Tomerong was named the Travellers Rest. It was located on the north-eastern corner of the Nowra to Ulladulla Road and the South Huskisson Road, now known as Hawken Road and Pine Forest Road.

The Hotel was opened by John Parnell on the first or April 1857 and operated almost continuously for the next 54 years. The hotels position on the road between Nowra and Ulladulla and at the only junction to access Jervis Bay meant
Tomerong became a focal point for travellers heading north and south.
John Parnell was granted a liquor licence in 1858.
John Parnell was also granted a licence to sell liquor at the launch of vessels at Currambene Creek,  until the Jervis Bay Hotel was opened.

In 1907 Tomerong became the centre of local government when the new Shire Council built it's council chambers in the village.

Thomas Mooney became the licencee in 1890, after John Parnell retired at the age of 87 years,  but the building itself was starting to fall into disrepair and despite the assurances from the owner John Parnell and the current licencee Thomas Mooney to rebuild the hotel, after an inspection by the licencing board, and a scathing report on the hotels condition the decison of the board was to not renew the lease.
After 33 years of operation the hotel was closed.

The Commercial Hotel.


Commercial Hotel can be seen on the right.

The hotel was eventually rebuilt and re opened in 1898 as the Commercial Hotel, despite staunch oposition from locals and other hotel owners at Wandandian, there was a majority of the Licencing Board bench in favour of the application which was accordingly granted, it would be a 30 pound licence.

The licence changed hands on a number of occasions - Henry Dent,  Alfred Dawson,  S.P. Cork and Mrs. Taylor, and John Nowland are some of the licencee's names that are mentioned during research into the hotel.

The hotel operated until it's final closure in June 1911.

The original owner John Parnell, landed at Jervis Bay and became a resident of the shoalhaven for 60 years died at the age of 93 in 1896.

Take a fascinating journey back in time by visiting the Tomerong Past face book page Tomerong Past particuarly interesting are the fascinating video slide show transitions depicting overlay images of how Tomerong and verious other landmarks use to look and how they appear today - definitely worth a look.


Continue to some previous posts about the village of Tomerong.

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