Dictionary of Sydney

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The Prince of Wales Hotel, Sandringham

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The pub on the point

[media]The Prince of Wales Hotel, at Sandringham Point at the mouth of the Georges River, was a place of recreation for locals for over eighty years. Many interesting publicans ran the hotel, some returning more than once. Among the many characters were Ernest Tollemache, who had previously run temperance taverns, and Charles Hecht, a 'colourful Sydney identity'.

An excellent family hotel

William E Rust originally purchased Thomas Holt's grand house on Rocky Point Road in 1866. Rust turned the house into a luxurious hotel but as the land was cleared down at Strippers Point he realised that there was an opportunity to build a hotel.

Due to his strong royal leanings, Rust renamed the area Sandringham and established the Prince of Wales Hotel, named after Edward VII and the royal's new residence in England. His inaugural, and only, Sans Souci horse race meeting was held on Boxing Day 1868 and included a grand luncheon, Highlanders playing bagpipes and post lunch games. [1] The reputation of noted restaurateur Rust's venue was that of an 'excellent family hotel'. [2]

During Rust's time as hotelier the hotel appeared to be the venue for an inquest on more than one occasion. In 1871 a hunting tragedy occurred out on the bay and the inquest was held at the Prince of Wales. [3] Eight years later, after a fatal boat accident, the body was placed at the hotel to await the inquest. [4]

By the 1880's the area was well-known as a recreational venue and the site included such period interests as a zoological garden, a dam and surrounding gardens, two dance halls and a sweet shop for the children. The shady picnic grounds encouraged people to laze, feast and promenade in the fresh air and sun.

Opening of the Illawarra railway

On the 12 December 1883, the licence of the Prince of Wales was transferred from William Rust to Ernest D Tollemache. With his background mainly in running temperance coffee taverns, catering companies, buffets and cafes, it would have been a cultural shock for Tollemache to move to the Prince of Wales Hotel, and he possibly was a bit out of his depth with his new venture.

When the initial section of the Illawarra Railway was opened in 1884, the Prince of Wales Hotel was chosen as the venue for the official luncheon. Over two hundred attendees listened to speeches and watched a regatta on the water in front of the hotel. [5]

But by November 1885, just over a year after his taking over the licence, Ernest found himself in the insolvency court. [6] As of 4 August 1886, the hotel is listed as being run by Thomas Ridgeway. The hotel's licence was transferred to Edward M Byrne, along with a billiard licence, on the 14 September 1887. Ernest's time at the pub on the point was over for now but he would be back again.

Experience not always an advantage

Not much is known about Thomas Ridgeway. He ran the hotel for just over a year while Tollemache gathered himself financially. In 1898, he was a candidate in the Cook Ward Municipal elections. [7] Eventually, he moved to Farr Street, Rockdale in 1891.

Two other men had the licence of the Prince of Wales during this decade: Messrs Whelow and Tidswell. At least Edward Jules Whelow had a history of running public houses but this experience did not save him from legal proceedings. In 1879, he was involved in a court case involving a steamship that had run into his wharf at Sandringham. [8] Frederick Charles Tidswell, another experienced publican, had dealings with the Prince of Wales during this tumultuous period of licence changes. Frederick appears to have come from an extended family of publicans and, as well as his publican income, had business interests as a stock and share broker and mining agent. [9]

Waning patronage

The hotel licence was transferred to French-born Aristide Cauvarel on the 21 May 1888. Cauvarel heavily promoted the Prince of Wales in the press as a venue of enjoyment, society and class. Cauvarel was a caterer of some note, so he was not just the publican, and there were plenty of positive comments regarding his hospitality and his hosting of Mayoral picnics.

Despite the apparent success of the venture, Cauvarel put the hotel up for sale on the 17 August 1888. [10] The ongoing transport issues, and the absence of evening trams, could have possibly been a factor for the sale. Other problems faced by Cauvarel included dealing with dud cheques as well as the occasional drunken patron. Obviously he did not sell the business at the first attempt as he was still listed in Sands at the hotel at Sandringham in 1889.

End of year picnics

The next publican to run the Prince of Wales Hotel, if only for a short time, was Mr Frederick Evers. Sands lists him as the proprietor of the hotel in 1890. [11] There were still many social events occurring at the hotel with a steam tram operating between Sans Souci and Kogarah allowing people to enjoy bathing, boating and fishing. Many companies held their end of year picnics at the hotel and within its grounds.

Victorian delights

Following Mr Ever's short reign, the next publican to be listed at The Prince of Wales is Carl H Luicke (later Anglicised to Charles Lincke), with his licence being renewed on the 1 July 1891. [12] Lincke generated a lot of positive publicity in the press, promoting the first class facilities and encouraging visitors to the venue with moonlight promenade concerts and bands as well as hosting a variety of social events. Some were quite particular to Victorian times such a paper-chase with harriers, as well as picnics, concerts, cricket and rugby games. Mr Lincke always provided a feast of delectable food at the conclusion of such gala events.

Dubious characters

Charles Hecht, the next publican to run the Prince of Wales, appears to have been what is commonly known as a 'colourful Sydney identity' or maybe just a bad businessman. He fronted court on many an occasion, mostly connected to his business dealings. By 6 October 1892, Hecht was a known bankrupt, which would have been common knowledge in hotel circles. [13] The question must then be asked, how did a certified bankrupt get the hotelier licence of the Prince of Wales hotel by November the same year? The next mention we have of Mr Hecht in anything of note is with regard to him being in possession of a stolen gold watch. Sands lists him as living in Ferry Street, Glebe in that year, so he is no longer residing at Sandringham. [14] His time at the Prince of Wales was over.

Pleasure grounds

There is little to be found regarding the licensees of the hotel in the next five years between the time of Charles Hecht and Tollemache taking back the licence in 1898 after leaving the Forest Lodge City Buffet. The area became known as Tollemache's Pleasure Grounds, as he provided festive food for many events. In all, Sands show ED Tollemache back at the helm of the hotel from 1898 to 1902. In 1908 Mr Tollemache was also listed as a Justice of the Peace, as he was such a respected member of the community, in direct contrast to the previous publican. He died in 1910, after a short illness, with his death registered at Glebe. [15]

Not all beer and skittles

The Prince of Wales appears to have had a way of luring back previous licensees. The year 1902 shows the return of Charles Lincke to the hotel after a sojourn at Brighton. Charles was to have an eventful fifteen years stay at the Prince of Wales before his final departure in 1917.

The social aspects of the site came into its own during this period. The Linckes were deeply involved in all types of sporting and social events, awarding and presenting the prize money in sailing competitions, playing competitive lawn bowls and being involved in the swimming clubs of the area. Lincke's summer seasons were heavily advertised in the press and improved transport enabled visitors to make the most of the beauty of the beachside. [16]

However, not everything ran smoothly for Mr Lincke at the Prince of Wales. In 1906, he was in court facing charges of having people in his hotel drinking after legal hours of trade. Obviously, the concept of 'staff drinks' did not exist at this period of time, despite the magistrate recognising the quality of the establishment and Lincke claiming his flawless hotelier's record of twenty-two years as defence. [17]

For the visitors and the staff, the water surrounding the Prince of Wales Hotel brought with it its own special dangers. A daring rescue of a drowning child was reported as far away as Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, as well as in the Sydney press. [18] The wildlife of the area also had an impact; along with pigeon shoots being held there regularly, native marine life made its appearance, with sharks often being found in the waters of Botany Bay.

During 1914, the hotel was at risk of closure due to licence reductions but Lincke persevered, thinking of ways to increase patronage through entrepreneurial promotion of sports such as boxing. The great American middleweight Eddie McGoorty was at the height of his popularity and a large amount of money left Australia as a result of his fights with the famous Australian boxer, Les Darcy. McGoorty was knocked out by Darcy in two fights in July and December at the Sydney Stadium. [19] McGoorty was ensconced at the Prince of Wales and was heavily promoted during his two stays. It was a charming spot, and evidently the American preferred to be far from the madding crowd when in training. The boxing was a success and brought a new clientele to the hotel that continued into the 1950's.

Sadly, the cruelty of World War I was starting to influence the social events of the Sandringham locals. The Prince of Wales Hotel hosted many fundraising events for the war cause, providing a venue for military gatherings and recuperative excursions. For those still at home in Australia, these events helped rally support for the troops overseas and fundraise for the troop comforts. As well as being the picturesque venue against which the Volunteer Regiment could have their photograph taken, there were outings to the pleasure grounds for injured returned soldiers.

A seaside home away from home

Charles Lincke finally handed over the licence of the Prince of Wales Hotel for the last time in 1919. William Longton is listed as the new licensee of the hotel, having come to Sandringham after seven years as publican at the Warren View Hotel in Marrickville. He was advertising his parties, luncheons and dinners at the Prince of Wales and was encouraging patrons to visit the venue, a 'seaside home away from home.' [20] William transferred the hotel licence three years later to Albert Magull. Magull took over the lease and the family settled in to the Prince of Wales in time for Christmas. [21]

Violence and affray

Albert Magull had nine years experience in hotel management, having held the licenses at Donnell's Hotel [22] and the Quarrymaster's Hotel, both in Harris Street, Sydney from 1910. The Magulls eventually arrived at The Prince of Wales from the Imperial Hotel, Rooty Hill [23] after a grisly train accident inquest that was held at that hotel.

Magull had to deal with the local imbibers and often with the violence that was the final result of a big night out. One gentleman, Edward Steele, had a very memorable night at the Prince of Wales, but for all the wrong reasons. A massive fight broke out when he took on three other drinkers in an alcohol-fuelled brawl. [24] By 1924, Albert Magull was suffering from ill health. He died at Glebe Point Private Hospital on the 24 July 1937, just a matter of days after his beloved wife's death, thus ending both a successful hotel business partnership as well as a marriage. [25]

The last to run the Prince of Wales under that name was the larger than life hotelier, Lesley Howard Ritchie. Before Ritchie's takeover in 1924 there was a violent affray where the local constabulary came to save the day. [26] This sort of behaviour obviously did not faze the Ritchie family from taking up the licence of the bayside hotel. The electoral rolls for the district of Barton and sub district of Ramsgate showed Leslie residing at the Prince of Wales Hotel during the period from 1930–1954.

Ritchie had a rough welcome to the Prince of Wales. After being assaulted he proved himself to be very fit, a good shot, and able to take matters into his own hands until the police arrived. [27] The life of a publican is never boring and the violence that welcomed Ritchie escalated in January of the following year after the publican refused service to a patron at closing time. There were several dramatic accounts of the 1931 event and its aftermath in the press, from as far away as Western Australia and Tasmania. [28] Ritchie's 'dying deposition' led the one-legged man's trial for attempted murder. [29]

On a more positive side, the venue had a variety of entertainment with bands, boxing and wrestling matches, as well as the usual hotel frivolities. However, in 1944, Ritchie was in trouble with the Australian Taxation Office for lodging a false income tax return. [30] In 1948 Ritchie left the Prince of Wales to establish a new hotel on the corner of Rocky Point Road and Ramsgate Road at Ramsgate, [31] taking the publican's licence with him. The building and site were sold without a licence to Mick Moylan in 1952 for £56,000, a considerable amount of money for the time.

Last days

The final proprietor of The Prince of Wales, Michael Eugene Moylan, turned the hotel back into a family friendly place of entertainment. In 1961, Mick and his wife and partner Mavis demolished the Prince of Wales and built Hotel Sans Souci, popularly known far and wide as Moylan's throughout the community. The hotel had accommodation, as the old Prince of Wales had done, which the Moylan family hoped would encourage visitors from all over the world to stay at the beautiful venue. There was a spacious public bar, dining room and an extensive saloon lounge overlooking the water. However, Mick Moylan died of a heart attack aged only forty-nine on the 19 April 1969. [32] Such was his legacy, the hotel remained known as Moylan's long past his death, run by his widow, Mavis.

The building was demolished and the site is now occupied by an exclusive housing development located roughly east of Clareville Avenue and south of Lena Street, on the bay front side of the avenue. Sadly, there is no longer a venue for people to gather to enjoy food, music and friendship at Sandringham Point.



[1] 'Cooks River Nineteenth Century Sporting Life', St Peters Cooks River History Group: Our Region and Our Church, Since 1838 website, http://stpeterscooksriverhistory.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/cooks-river-nineteenth-century -sporting-life-2/, accessed 26 February 2014

[2] 'Foundation of a Church near George's River', Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 27 January, 1869, p 4 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13189079, accessed 26 February 2014

[3] 'Coroner's Inquest', Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 31 March 1871, p 2, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28418002#pstart1458160, accessed 25 February 2014

[4] 'Fatal Boat Accident', The Argus, Melbourne, Thursday 2 October 1879, p 7 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/5957706#pstart253361, accessed 25 February 2014

[5] 'Opening of the First Section of the Illawarra Railway', Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 16 October 1884, p 11, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13580710, accessed 27 February 2014

[6] 'Insolvency Court – Thursday', Sydney Morning Herald Morning Herald, Friday 18 November 1887, p 4, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13676850#pstart1392927, accessed 27 February 2014

[7] 'Municipal Elections Cook Ward', Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 26 November 1898, p 9, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/14187026#pstart1356018, accessed 27 February 2014

[8] 'Metropolitan District Court', Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 25 February 1879, p 7, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13429841, accessed 27 February 2014

[9] 'Notices', Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 3 March 1890, p2, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13761435#pstart1382183, accessed 27 February 2014

[10] 'For Sale', Evening News, Tuesday 7 August 1888, p 1, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/107329052#pstart11927988, accessed 27 February 2014

[11] Sands Directories Sydney Morning Herald and New South Wales, Australia, 1858–1933, accessed 27 February 2014

[12] 'Annual Licensing Court', Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 1 July 1891, p 7, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28271137, accessed 27 February 2014

[13] 'In Bankruptcy', Evening News, Sydney, Thursday 6 Oct 1892, p 6, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/113315340?searchTerm=%22hecht%22%20insolvency&searchLimits=#pstart12043727, accessed 27 February 2014

[14] Inspector-General New South Wales Police, New South Wales Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime 1893, p 359 and 25 March 1896, p 76 in New South Wales Police Gazette compendium, 1800, Archive CD Books Australia, Modbury, South Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/20954196, accessed 27 February 2014

[15] 'Death of a Well-Known Caterer', Evening News, Sydney, Wednesday 27 July 1910, p 7 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/115262652?searchTerm=Ernest%20Tollemache%20Death%20&searchLimits=#pstart12165642, accessed 27 February 2014

[16] 'Amusements', Evening News, Sydney, Saturday 22 November 1890 p 1, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/113750345#pstart12050645, accessed 2 July 2013

[17] 'Police Courts - Breach of the Liquor Act', Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 8 December 1906, p 10, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/14824742?searchTerm=prince%20of%20wales%20hotel%20sandringham&searchLimits, accessed 27 February 2014

[18] 'Telegraphic – Rescued from Drowning', Kalgoorlie Miner, WA, Tuesday 3 February 1903, p 8, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/89056825?searchTerm=prince%20of%20wales%20hotel%20sandringham&searchLimits, accessed 27 February 2014

[19] Mike Hitchen, 'Les Darcy – Australian Icon, Died an American Soldier', The Old Tin Shed – Sydney Stadium: The Story of the old Sydney Stadium. A Story of People, A Story of an Era blog, http://sydneystadium.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/les-darcy-australian-icon-died-american.html, accessed 27 February 2014

[20] 'Advertising' Arrow, Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 28 March 1919, p 3, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/103523916?searchTerm=%22prince%20of%20wales%20hotel%22%20%201919%20sandringham&searchLimits=#pstart10874415, accessed 27 February 2014

[21] 'Publican's Licences', Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 9 Dec 1922, p 17, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16040265?searchTerm=%22prince%20of%20wales%20hotel%22%20william%20longton&searchLimits=#pstart1235426, accessed 28 February 2014

[22] 'Hotels Change Hands', Evening News, Sydney, Thursday 28 May 1908, p 5, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/112962208?searchTerm=albert%20magull%20&searchLimits, accessed 28 February 2014

[23] 'Doonside Fatality – The Inquest', Nepean Times, Saturday 4 March 1922, p 3, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/104675111?searchTerm=albert%20magull&searchLimits=, accessed 1 March 2014

[24] 'Human Skittles – Two Out of Three', Evening News, Sydney, Wednesday 11 February 1925, p 8, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/117978112?searchTerm=%22human%20skittles%22&searchLimits=#pstart12321037, accessed 1 March 2014

[25] Albert Magull, death search, NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website, Department of Justice New South Wales Government, http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/cgi -bin/IndexSearch?form=IndexingSearch&SessionID=44490598&sname=magull&gname=albert&fname=&mname=&event=deaths&frange=1937&trange=1937&place=, accessed 1 March 2014

[26] 'Attacked by Gang – Man Brutally Assaulted', Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 27 September 1924, p 18, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28071993#pstart1223692, accessed 1 March 2014

[27] 'Publican Assaulted – Three Men Fined', Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 8 August 1930, p 7, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16703197?searchTerm=ritchie%20licensee&searchLimits=l -australian=y#pstart1348443, accessed 1 March 2014

[28] 'Hotel Licensee Stabbed – Crippled Man Arrested', The West Australian, Perth, Friday 23 January 1931, p 5 http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/33238863#pstart2862308, accessed 1 March 2014

[29] 'Man Stabbed – Dying Depositions Taken', Advocate, Burnie, Tasmania, Friday 23 January 1931, p 7, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/67698459?searchTerm=prince%20of%20wales%20hotel%20sandringham&searchLimits=, accessed 1 March 2014

[30] 'Stop Press', Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, Thursday 24 August 1944, p 8, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49551137?searchTerm=prince%20of%20wales%20hotel%20sandringham%201918&searchLimits=#pstart3761023, accessed 1 March 2014

[31] 'Public Notices', Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday 5 February 1948, p 9, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/18059985, accessed 1 March 2014. This hotel is now known as the Intersection and still remains on the same site.

[32] Michael Eugene Moylan, death search, NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages website, Department of Justice New South Wales Government, http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/cgi -bin/IndexSearch?form=IndexingSearch&SessionID=44499655&sname=MOYLAN&gname=michael+eugene&fname=&mname=&event=deaths&frange=1960&trange=1970&place=, accessed 1 March 2014