# 40026

Photographer unknown.

View of the St. Kilda Hotel, Armidale, New South Wales, taken between 1881 and 1886.

$330.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, 140 x 200 mm, laid down on a 19th-century album leaf of thin card, with a pencilled inscription in the lower margin: ‘St. Kilda Hotel (present residence of M.C.), Armidale (as taken by an Amateur some time ago)‘; the print has excellent clarity and tonal range, and is in fine condition; the mount has scattered foxing.

Originally called the Freemason’s hotel, the two-storey building on the corner of Rusden and Marsh Streets in the New England town of Armidale opened in the middle of 1863. In 1870 the pub was taken over by Mrs Mary Ann Brady of St. Kilda House, Sydney, and was renamed the St. Kilda Hotel. When Brady left in 1875 the building briefly became part of the Armidale Grammar School, but when this closed at the end of 1877 Mrs Brady returned to resume proprietorship of the renascent St. Kilda Hotel. In 1881 Brady sold the pub to 86-year-old James Ewen, formerly owner of the Australian Arms Hotel at Carlisle Gully, near Uralla.

The signage running across the bottom of the upper-storey verandah in the present photograph can clearly be read: ‘St. Kilda Hotel, M. Ewen’. This firmly dates the photograph to between 1881, when James Ewen died, and 1886, when his widow Mary, who had inherited the hotel from her late husband, passed away. The hotel was then run by her children, Alfred and Miss J. Ewen, up until 1892. The next decade saw ownership of the hotel change hands no fewer than ten times; in 1902 it ceased to be a pub and re-opened as the St. Kilda Boarding House. Modifications and refurbishments in 1912 rendered the original building virtually unrecognisable.

We can locate no other photograph of the St. Kilda Hotel from this era (1880s) in Australian collections. The present photograph – ‘taken by an amateur’, as the caption states – is probably a unique image, adding to its significance as a visual document of Armidale’s social and architectural history.