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Railway Hotel

44 Tydeman Road (formerly John Street, and before that Pensioner Road) North Fremantle, 1894 (and then 1899?) corner of De Lisle Street

Photo of painting by Toby Leek, courtesy of the artist.

The Railway Hotel is on the corner of Delisle St (also spelt De Lisle) and what was Pensioner Road (later John Street and now Tydeman Rd). Delisle Street used to be a real street several blocks long; now it is really only the driveway to the hotel and its parking area. The building on the site in 1893 was William Waldock's Railway Coffee Palace (a coffee palace was a hotel without a liquor licence), and it was in that year that Waldock's application for a publican's general licence was successful, so it became the Railway Hotel. (Waldock is also spelt Waldeck.)

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4th. [1893]
Adam Oliver, proprietor of the Rose Hotel, and the holder of an hotel license at North Fremantle, and Wm. Waldock, license of the Railway Coffee Palace at North Fremantle, each applied for publicans' general licenses for the premises now occupied by them respectively. Mr. Moss appeared for Mr. Oliver, and Mr. Shaw for Mr. Waldock. In each case the application was opposed by Mr. Kidson (Kidson & Gawler) on behalf of ratepayers; by the Rev. W. H. Peters, Congregational minister, and by J. Hutchings, as a ratepayer. Petitions were presented for and against each application. The main argument in support of the applications were that the population of the locality, which was estimated at from 1,500 to 1,600, had made such increase in numbers that an additional licensed house was required. The opposing arguments were a denial of this contention. The Bench decided upon granting Mr. Waldock's application on the ground that the house was required and that its position was preferable to the Rose Hotel premises occupied by Mr. Oliver. The application of the latter, was therefore, refused. West Australian, Wednesday 6 December 1893, p. 7.

The 1893 building must have been demolished in favour of a new building, which could well be the one that still stands in what is now Tydeman Road on the corner of 'Delisle Street', which is not really a street.

The Railway Hotel, a single storey brick and iron hotel that was constructed c.1898 for Frederick Mason to cater for the needs of the growing suburb of North Fremantle. Frederick Mason was a jeweller by profession but also held significant landholdings in North Fremantle. Prior to the construction of the Railway Hotel, a boarding house, coffee palace and three cottages had occupied the site. These buildings had been the location of the original Railway Hotel. The naming of the hotel was suggested by its close proximity to the Perth to Fremantle railway line and the North Fremantle station. The new building was designed by architect O N Nicholson and constructed in 1898-99. Shortly after construction, the property was transferred to Bertha Hillman [Hillmer]. In 1910, Bertha Sophie Pinbaum [Pirnbaum] contracted with the Castlemaine Brewery for seven years.

Fred[erick Mason] owned the Railway Hotel (freeholder), and eventually married Bertha Hillmer (not Hillman) who was manager/licensee.  Fred either sold or signed it over to her  about the time they married, 1898.   They weren’t married for long, divorced in 1904, and Bertha married another manager of the Railway Hotel whom she had previously left town with - Herman Pirnbaum (not Pinbaum), they married in NSW in 1908.  They later moved to Victoria where Bertha died 1945. (Family member personal communication)

The licensee in 1897 was Bertha S. Hilmer. Daily News, Tuesday 7 December, 1897, p. 4.

In 1898, Dagmar Reimer's publican's licence in respect of the Railway Hotel was renewed. Western Mail, Friday 9 December 1898, p. 13.

The health officer (Dr. Birmingham) reported as follows: ... The Railway Hotel is not nearly so well kept [as the Rose]. The building is a rambling old place, with, a large number of small bedrooms in a very confined space, The yard is small, with no provision for drainage, and we found waste water lying about in pools. The closets are clean and well-kept. The bedrooms are small, pokey places of about 800 cubic feet capacity, with absolutely no attempt at ventilation. I understand that the building is to he pulled down ; and it is about the only thing that it is fit for. I would recommend the board to exercise strict supervision over the rebuilding of this hotel. I think that the site should be raised to the level of the road, and care should be taken that there is sufficient ventilation in the new building. Daily News, Friday 14 April 1899, p. 1.


Photo October 1989 courtesy SLWA # 315406D (from Facebook)

References and Links

Note about the hotel being under threat in Fremantle, the newsletter of the Fremantle Society: March 1996.

Garry Gillard | New: 19 September, 2014 | Now: 19 December, 2020