The Blue Post Hotel

JHP1609 Blue Post Hotel circa 1925. George Hart possibly in doorway, right.

From the mid-1850s onwards, the Blue Post Inn was the nucleus of the settlement at Gannons Forest which was to become Hurstville.  Initially the inn was a weatherboard structure built c1855 for carpenter Richard Fulljames who became its publican.  It stood in Forest Road, opposite where the public school was built later.  Outside there was a hitching-post, painted blue, which gave the inn its name.  The blue hitching-post was still to be seen in the 1920s.  Richard Fulljames died only three months after becoming licensee in 1857, and after his death, his widow Harriet married Samuel Lovelee, a veteran of Waterloo, who held the license to 1867. 

At the rear of the inn was William Chappelow’s paddock, which was used as the local racecourse, although it was only incompletely cleared of tree-stumps.

The inn, or hotel, is mentioned occasionally over the next half-century as the venue for coronial inquests on sudden deaths in the Georges River area, and as the place where electoral meetings were held, such as one in January 1858 where Michael Gannon introduced Thomas Holt as one of the candidates for the South Riding seat.  Occasionally auctions were held at the hotel.  The Forest Road Trust met there, and meetings took place relating to the incorporation of the municipality of Hurstville, and for the establishment of the public school, and the coming of the railway.

Sadly, the hotel was where an inquest was held in 1874 into the death of Samuel Lovelee himself, who drowned in a waterhole near the hotel.

In 1880, the hotel, “an old-established house”, was put up for sale by R Fulljames, presumably Richard Fulljames jr, (1848-1923), the son of Richard and Harriet.

The first election of aldermen to Hurstville Council on 18 June 1887 was held at the Blue Post Hotel.

One local recalled the hotel as it was in the 1900s: “Every Friday night there was nothing but carts there, as it was market day, and there were three horse-troughs there.  Mr Joe Parsons told me his father used to tie his horse up at the hitching-post and give him a glass of beer.”  Quoits were played at the back of the hotel, and pigeon-shooting matches sometimes took place.  A nine-pins bowling alley was also located at the back.

LMG14-009. Forest Road, c1926, Blue Post Hotel at left, with Tooth’s delivery lorry in front

At some point Tooth and Co became owners of the hotel; in October 1918 the brewery applied to bring under the Real Property Act the land on which the Blue Post Hotel stood, ‘being part Lot 12 of the Gannons Forest Estate’.

Extensive improvements were made to the hotel in early 1921, to designs by the architects Copeman and Lamont.  Our photo of the hotel taken in circa 1925 shows the date “1921” in a shield on the building’s pediment.  George Daniels Hart, the licensee at this time, took over in August 1921, but had his share of difficulties.  On Christmas Eve 1923, he found that three fifteen-gallon kegs of beer had been stolen from the parlour – two men were subsequently arrested and fined £1 apiece. On 20 November 1925, George was assaulted when he answered the door of the hotel to an angry patron who had been barred earlier in the day.  His assailant was heavily fined.

In April 1925 George’s wife Marie died at the hotel, leaving him with two young boys.  One of her sisters was married to Samuel Wallington, licensee of the Carlton Royal Hotel, and Samuel took over the license of the Blue Post Hotel from George Hart in March 1926.

The following year, Samuel Wallington transferred the license to his new hotel, the White Horse, adjacent to the Propeller office, opposite the railway bridge.  On the Blue Post’s closing, the entire contents of the hotel were offered at auction in July 1927.  It was then possibly run as a boarding house for a time, and survived in one capacity or another until 1962, when it was demolished.

An archaeological excavation of the site was carried out in 1990, and a number of artefacts were unearthed from the cellars.

JHP302 Hurstville Historical Marker no 6, Blue Post Inn, Gannons Forest

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