80 High St, 1882/1908
The first hotel on the site was the Albert Hotel, built in the 1840s. The owner was Capt John Thomas. The first meetings of Town Council were held here, for several years from 1871.
The Hotel Albert was owned and built by John Thomas. The Commercial Hotel was later built on this site. Note gas lighting. The wooden structure next door is William Leach's bootshop.
Text from Fremantle History Centre with photo #2046B.
FHC photo #1325, c. 1900: Originally the Albert Hotel, the Commercial Hotel was built prior to 1888; as an advertisement appears in the West Australian on 13.10.1888 about the sale of the original hotel. It was rebuilt in 1908 with three storeys. The Mulcahys owned the hotel between 1897 and 1904.
The name was changed to the Exchange in 1882 and the Commercial in 1888. The hotel was rebuilt in 1908, to a design by architect John McNeece.
The current Commercial Hotel was built on the site of an earlier hotel (Albert Hotel, owned and kept by Capt John Thomas, [who was] on [the] Fremantle Town Trust 1849-51, 1853-54, 1863-66, 1870, [and] Chairman of Town Council 1873-75. There is a stained glass window in St John's in his memory.) It was known as the Exchange Hotel from c1882 to 1888, then Commercial from 1888, according to rates records. (There are also references to it being called the Southern Cross Hotel c1905 in Daily News 8/12/1976.)
The hotel was rebuilt in 1908 by architect John McNeece; the builders were Bradley and Rudderham. Costing £8, 000, it originally had three storey verandahs and balconies, and stables and coach houses at the rear.
Castlemaine Brewery Co purchased the hotel c1920; later bought out by the Swan Brewery from c1930. Repairs and renovations were carried out in 1941 (Allen & Nicholas Architects), 1963-64, 1985 (James Christou Architect) and 1994 by MRSA, Miller & Assoc. Building Designers. Grande Development carried out these recent changes.
It has been Sun Dancer Resort backpackers' accommodation, with a bar on the ground floor since c2002.
Three storey tuck point brick prominent building, with rendered banding on the columns and pilasters. The decorative parapet has the name 'Commercial Hotel' in raised stucco and central decorative pediment. The first and second floors have stucco architraves and recesses with timber and glass French timber doors and six paned transom windows, some have rounded metal balustrade balconies. The ground floor has an arcade effect veranda with stucco archways and banded columns; the awning (not original) onto the footpath has metal columns. Heritage Council.
Garry Gillard | New: 23 September, 2014 | Now: 19 January, 2017