History of the Tathra Hotel
Tathra’s first hotel, The Brighton, owned and run by Mrs Jane White in 1875, was situated just above where the hall is now, and was in its infancy in 1870 when William J. White conveyed guests between The Brighton and his Victoria Inn, Bega. Members of the White family, who arrived in the Colony in 1842, and this district in 1852: White Snr was killed by lightning in 1854, his wife Ann died in 1888. The family at Tathra were called to an inquiry following the mysterious destruction of The Brighton by fire in 1881. Jane was tried for arson and found not guilty.
A second hotel, the original Tathra Hotel, once stood adjacent to the present post office. There are records of an inquest being held there in 1883 following the death of Alfred Swansen at the wharf the previous day. It was a requirement under earlier liquor laws that hotels had to be able to store dead bodies awaiting inquests, funeral arrangements etc – probably because of limited refrigeration at the time.
The existing Tathra Hotel was built by J.W. Twyford in 1888, who named it The Ocean View. It became the Tathra Hotel at a later date, probably after the Tathra Hotel closed. Mr Twyford apparently kept guns and boats for use by guests. In early years Tathra was a transport hub for passengers and goods – everything went by boat in those days.
Various additions were made in the 1960’s and the red brick motel added in 1975.The hotel was a popular place to see the live bands of the day during the 1980’s and 90’s.
In 2015 Cliff Wallis and Sayaka Mihara purchased the hotel, which at the time was structurally in very poor condition. They operated the hotel for six months before embarking on a full renovation of the bar, bistro and upstairs rooms. The 12 poker machines and TAB were all removed. The hotel was closed for eighteen months and reopened in November 2017. Stage 2 will include a microbrewery, ten more rooms on the ocean side and a small theatre. Their vision for the hotel integrates heritage and contemporary features with environmental initiatives to create a destination for locals and visitors, free of poker machines and gambling.
On March 18, 2018 a wild bushfire swept through Tathra, destroying many houses. The bush at the back of the hotel was all burnt but thanks to the efforts of firefighters the hotel was not damaged and continues to be an important hub for the community.