Royal Hotel

1 Earne Street And Broom Street, Naseby

  • Royal Hotel. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shellie Evans. Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 5/08/2015.
  • Royal Hotel. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite. Taken By: PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite. Date: 17/09/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2269 Date Entered 23rd June 2011

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Secs 60 and 78 Blk I Town of Naseby (CT OTB1/862), Otago Land District, and the building known as the Royal Hotel thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Central Otago District

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Secs 60 and 78 Blk I Town of Naseby (CT OTB1/862), Otago Land District.

Summaryopen/close

The impressive false front on the Royal Hotel in the small Maniototo settlement of Naseby in Otago, conceals the makeshift structures, typical of gold field’s towns, that make up this hotel which as been operating since 1863.

The first Royal Hotel was built in October 1863 for Andrew Morrison and Co., one of three constructed in what would become the town of Naseby. As would be expected, the Royal Hotel became a popular venue. That first structure was wrecked in a storm two years later and the rebuilt hotel reopened in 1865. In 1869 Cobb and Co began using the Royal Hotel as its Naseby depot for mail and passengers.

In October 1878 a tender of £1,030 was accepted from George Stephens for additions to the Hotel. In April 1879 the Mt Ida Chronicle announced that the new Royal Hotel had opened, consisting of accommodation that adjoined the existing bar area. It had two sitting rooms, a spacious lobby and twelve single and double bedrooms as well as two bathrooms. The old frontage of the building was taken down and replaced with rusticated weatherboards, with ornamental pilasters surmounted by entablature. The Royal was the first hotel in Naseby to have a separate entrance for guests, whereas all others had the entrance only through the bar, frequently embarrassing for the ladies.

The façade of the Royal Hotel was roughcast in the early 1960s. The roughcast façade had its own significance, often painted bright colours. The façade caught the eye of prominent New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison, who included an image of the green façade in his book From the Road. In 2003 the Hotel underwent further alterations in consultation with NZHPT. Owners Barbara Chisholm and Christopher Spears rebuilt the kitchen and renovated the bar area. They also removed the Art Deco roughcast façade to expose the original façade, removing the 1970s aluminium windows and replacing them with double-hung sash windows.

The Royal Hotel sits on the corner of Earne and Broome Streets at the most eastern point of Naseby. On the west is the former Maniototo County Council Offices (1878), across the road is the Jubilee Museum. The Royal Hotel is a low single storey conglomeration of structures. The main elevation to Earne Street has two timber false fronts with high pediments disguising the two parallel gabled sections behind. There have been a number of different additions to the rear of the building as the structure has been adapted to the requirements of a modern operation. The accommodation wing is behind the second false front. It is L-shaped in plan. The public bar, dining area and restaurant kitchen are housed in the portion of the building behind the east false front. From the public bar a door leads to a hallway connecting the bar with the banquet room.

The Royal Hotel has architectural significance as an example of nineteenth century hotel architecture where accommodation was an essential part of the building. It is a significant example of a hotel building typical of small goldfields towns. The restored false front is typical of goldfields architecture which presented a respectable front to the world which hid the often temporary structures behind.

The Royal Hotel has historical significance representing the importance of hotels in small isolated gold mining communities, and as a building which epitomises a nineteenth century hotel in a gold mining town still used for the same purpose. Hotels on the goldfields were important meeting places, beyond the obvious gathering place. Hotels were used for other social functions: as meeting places for groups such as lodges, sporting and cultural groups, and also for coroner’s inquests. The Royal Hotel is significant as a community meeting place for over 140 years.

In 2010 the Royal Hotel remains a water place for visitors and locals alike, and provides accommodation for the growing number of visitors to Naseby.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Royal Hotel has historical significance representing the importance of hotels in small isolated gold mining communities, and as a building which epitomises a nineteenth century hotel in a gold mining town still used for the same purpose. In 1872 there were 220 licensed hotels on the Otago goldfields, one for every 200 citizens. Hotels were an integral part of goldfields life, and few remain which provide insight into the nineteenth century life in a small town.

Archaeological Significance or Value:

The Royal Hotel has operated on this site since the 1860s and has the potential to provide an insight into the operation of the hotel and the occupation of the site through archaeological methods.

Architectural Significance or Value:

The Royal Hotel has architectural significance as an example of nineteenth century hotel architecture where accommodation was an essential part of the building. It is a significant example of a hotel building typical of small goldfields towns. The restored false front is typical of goldfields architecture which presented a respectable front to the world which hid the often temporary structures behind.

Social Significance or Value:

Hotels on the goldfields were important meeting places, beyond the obvious gathering place. Hotels were used for other social functions: as meeting places for groups such as lodges, sporting and cultural groups, and also for coroner’s inquests. The Royal Hotel is significant as a community meeting place for over 140 years.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The Royal Hotel is representative of the history of small gold mining towns, and the services that grew up to cater for the needs of the residents as well as the travelling public. As part of the wider network of travellers’ accommodation throughout this isolated area, the Royal Hotel illustrates the importance of hotels. As a business that has operated for over 140 years the hotel is an important part of the history of the local community, and has significance. The Royal Hotel is associated with the gold mining period, a series of events in Otago’s history which had a profound effect on the history and the landscape of the region.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place:

The Royal Hotel is identified in Brian Frazer’s publication ‘Naseby Notebook’ (a survey of Naseby’s important buildings) as a significant building to Naseby. In addition it is included in the Naseby Historic Area and can be said to be held in community esteem.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement:

The Royal Hotel has been on this site since the mid 1860s, and is among the earliest structures built in Naseby, being in continual occupation and operation as a hotel since 1863.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The Royal Hotel sitting alongside the former Maniototo County Council Offices is a significant element in the historic townscape of Naseby. Naseby is notable for its historic townscape (recognised by the Naseby Historic Area), which includes much of the historic town centre. The building sits on the main street of Naseby and makes an importance contribution to the town’s wider historic landscape.

Summary of Significance or Values:

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, e, i and k.

Conclusion:

It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Stephens, George

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Maori History:

Maori had settlements in Central Otago, associated with early occupation. Six were known on Lake Hawea (Te Taweha o Hawea, Mahaea, O tu Purupuru, Turihuka, Te Taumanu o Taki and Pakituhi) and one near Cromwell (Wairere). The moa-rich area was known for camps where moa were butchered and cooked (for example there were large sites in the Hawksburn and Happy Valley areas, as well as the Nevis Valley), and there were quarries used for stone tools in the region of Tiger Hills and Mount Benger. The swampy plains in the Maniototo provided eels and other food resources. Though Maori are known to have joined the goldrushes, little is known about their participation in the rush at Naseby. There are no recorded Maori archaeological sites in Naseby.

Hotels in Goldfield Towns:

The history of gold mining in Central Otago began with Gabriel Read’s discovery of gold in Gabriel’s Gully, near present-day Lawrence, in 1861. The following year Hartley and Reilly left this gully and travelled further into Central Otago. They spent the winter prospecting in the now-flooded Clutha Gorge between present day Clyde and Cromwell, finding enough gold in the area to travel back to Dunedin and lodge 87 pounds with the Gold Receiver. Gold was quickly discovered in other parts of the region, including places such as Arrowtown and Queenstown, and in 1862, in the Maniototo, leading to the birth of the town. First known as Parkers, and later as Hogburn, Naseby grew into a bustling town characteristic of other similar settlements, such as St Bathans.

There were an estimated 78 goldfields in Central Otago, boom towns sprung up to service the gold diggings, and disappeared just as quickly as the gold returns for the itinerant miners. Little remains of these places. Historian John Angus writes ‘[when the miners decamped so too did the commercial section of many of the early towns. This pattern was repeated many times, often at remote locations in Central Otago. But some settlements remained, undergoing a sort of metamorphosis to become service centres for the subsequent stages of more stable mining.’

Publicans were important in these developing communities and were among the earliest residents. Goldfields administrator and politician Vincent Pyke wrote that the storekeeper and publican were the start of the community that only became ‘a proper town’ with the government official and the surveyor. Writer Anthony Trollope, a visitor in 1872, commented that there were three successive styles of architecture: canvas, in which residences, business establishments and government ‘buildings’ alike were tents; a corrugated iron period, for it was portable, very easily shaped, capable of quick construction, and it keeps out the rain’; and finally wood and stone. The last were seldom seen in Central Otago towns at the time of his visit.’

Towns developed haphazardly. Historian John Angus writes that gold mining towns were often an ‘incongruous jumble of handsome stone hotels and public buildings, ornate shop facades often masking bare corrugated iron sides, and ramshackle tin sheds.’ These were often ‘frontier towns’: ‘hotels, illicit sly-grog shops, gambling booths and what Europeans called the ‘opium dens’ of the Chinese. Over the towns there often remained an air of impermanence.’

In 1872 there were 220 licensed hotels on the Otago goldfields, one for every 200 citizens; by 1980 there was one for every 2,500. Hotels were an integral part of goldfields life, David McGill notes that it was said that you needed ‘one drinking hole for every thirty miners.’ There were, for example, 22 hotels between Queenstown and Skippers, St Bathans had 13 hotels for its 2,000 inhabitants, Hills Creek had 13 and far less people. Macraes Flat also had 14 hotels, nearby Nenthorn, 22.

Hotels on the goldfields, like those in Dunedin, were important meeting places, and were social centres. Geographer and historian Ray Hargreaves writes that hotels were used as meeting places for groups such as lodges, sporting and cultural groups, and also for coroner’s inquests.

The Establishment of Naseby:

The site of the Naseby goldfields and township was originally part of a depasturing license Run 204 called the Sowburn. After the discovery of gold the Otago Provincial Council cancelled the license and proclaimed the Mt Ida Goldfield.

In May 1863 prospectors working their way across the Maniototo from the Dunstan found gold in the vicinity of Naseby. More gold was found in the gully near the head of the Hogburn close to the location of the later township. By the beginning of July, five gullies were being mined and by the end of the month a canvas town had sprung up. This town, with a population of around 2,000, had a main street with about eighteen stores, two bakers and a butchery. By August 1863 5,000 men were reported prospecting in the Naseby locality.

While the original canvas town was set up in the Hogburn Gully, when the official town of Naseby was surveyed it was situated at the mouth of the gully, about a kilometre from the original location. The name Naseby was evidently taken from the English town that was the birthplace of John Hyde Harris, Superintendant of Otago in the 1860s. Mt Ida was a term used for the wider area.

While Naseby’s fortunes had declined with the ending of the gold mining era, this was further accentuated when the Central Otago railway line was constructed through Ranfurly in 1879, marginalising Naseby from the main transport route.

The Royal Hotel:

The first Royal Hotel was built in October 1863 for Andrew Morrison and Co., one of three constructed when Hogburn was moved to its current site. As would be expected, the Royal Hotel became a popular venue, with the Jewish New Year commemorated there in September 1863, licensees Morrison and Robinson providing a ‘grand supper’. Local entertainment also included Punch and Judy shows, alongside the miners’ meetings and discussions about new gold rushes. That first structure was wrecked in a storm two years later. The rebuilt structure reopened in 1865. Morrison was known for his catering and reasonable board. In 1869 Cobb and Co began using the Royal Hotel as its Naseby depot for mail and passengers.

In October 1878 a tender of £1,030 was accepted from George Stephens for additions to the Hotel. In April 1879 the Mt Ida Chronicle announced that the new Royal Hotel had opened. This is said to have consisted of accommodation that adjoined the existing bar area. It had two sitting rooms 13ft by 16ft (4 by 5m), the ceilings lined with 12" (30cm) Kauri, with cornice mouldings and ornamental skirtings. There was a spacious lobby and twelve single and double bedrooms as well as two bathrooms. The ceilings were 11ft (3.5) high with tongue and groove Kauri boards. The old frontage of the building was taken down and replaced with rusticated weatherboards, with ornamental pilasters surmounted by entablature. The street frontage was now 75ft (23m) wide. The Royal was the first hotel in Naseby to have a separate entrance for guests, whereas all others had the entrance only through the bar, frequently embarrassing for the ladies’.

In a photograph dated 1901 the façade of both parts of the building can be seen with the original windows in the bar area and the ornamental pilasters and entablature.

The Royal Hotel was a venue for celebrations and for entertaining visiting dignitaries. In March 1905, for example, the Minister of Mines, Hon. J. McGowan, was entertained to a banquet at the Hotel by the Mount Ida Miners’ Association. A month later the Leader of the Opposition W.F. Massey attended a banquet at the Hotel attended by townspeople as well as miners, and farmers from the surrounding. Licensee Mr Ryan’s fare was much vaunted.

Licensees changed regularly through the twentieth century. One of the longer serving publicans was Thomas Hotton who held the lease from the 1920s to the 1940s.

The façade of the Royal Hotel was roughcast in the early 1960s. The roughcast façade had its own significance, often painted bright colours. The façade caught the eye of prominent New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison, who included an image of the green façade in his book From the Road. The Royal Hotel is identified in Brian Frazer’s publication ‘Naseby Notebook’ (a survey of Naseby’s important buildings) as a significant building to Naseby.

In 2003 the Hotel underwent further alterations in consultation with NZHPT. Owners Barbara Chisholm and Christopher Spears rebuilt the kitchen and renovated the bar area. They also removed the Art Deco roughcast façade to expose the original façade, removing the 1970s aluminium windows and replacing them with double-hung sash windows. Where rusticated weatherboards remained, these were retained, and replaced with cladding of a like kind where absent. The detailing of the original façade was reconstructed from historic photographs. The low pitched gable end/pediment was to be reinstated to Earne Street. A removable boardwalk was to be constructed on the Earne Street frontage for outdoor seating.

At the same time the bathroom facilities were altered in the accommodation wing to include 3 showers and 3 toilets, retaining original bath and basins where possible. Recycled double-hung sash windows were installed between the men’s toilets and the main fireplace, replacing the aluminium window. The accommodation upgrade aimed at retaining the ‘essential essence of the historic accommodation, undulating floors and all’ and limit changes to that area. A small addition was made to the rear of the accommodation wing to house a laundry. The refurbished Hotel had nine guest rooms (three with ensuites), a 30 seat Banquet Room as well as a bar and with dining facilities.

In 2010 the Royal Hotel remains a water place for visitors and locals alike, and provides accommodation for the growing number of visitors to Naseby.

Physical Description

Construction Professionals:

George Stephens - 1879 Additions

Phil Flanagan and Paul Hart - builders 2005 alterations

Physical Description and Analysis:

The Royal Hotel sits on the corner of Earne and Broome Streets at the most eastern point of Naseby. On the west is the former Maniototo County Council Offices (1878), across the road is the Jubilee Museum, a series of replica nineteenth century buildings in which the transport collection of the Maniototo Early Settlers Association is held. To the south are small houses. To the east is the Hog Burn and the now overgrown remains of the extensive mining that surrounds the town.

Exterior:

The Royal Hotel is a low single storey conglomeration of structures. The main elevation to Earne Street has two timber false fronts with high pediments disguising the two parallel gabled sections behind. The more easterly of the false fronts imitates a shallow pitched gable with a string course and houses the public bar, dining room and associated services (the bar), while the other (the accommodation wing) has a rectangular false front with a string course.

The exterior walls of parallel gabled portions are stuccoed on the side walls, while the façade to the street is clad in rusticated weatherboards. The roof is corrugated iron. The windows on the street elevation are timber double hung sashes. There are a variety of door and window openings on the remainder of the building. There have been a number of different additions to the rear of the building as the structure has been adapted to the requirements of a modern operation.

The accommodation wing is behind the second false front. It is L-shaped in plan. The main door had decorative sidelights, with timber pilasters on either side. Four double hung sash windows run along the street front. The front section (housing the banquet room) has a hipped corrugated iron roof. The rooms are in the long gabled portion. Each room has a double hung sash window. There is a lean-to addition to the rear housing services and ablutions.

Interior:

The public bar, dining area and restaurant kitchen are housed in the portion of the building behind the east false front. Behind the false front are two relatively shallow gabled sections. There services are located in the eastern gabled portion. The public bar runs the width of the front of both gabled portions. The dining area and the kitchen are located at the back of the public bar. The kitchen is at the rear of the dining area. The public bar and the dining area have a low coved ceiling emphasising the small size and form of the buildings. The interior has been rearranged a number of times, with some partition walls removed, but the atmosphere remains of a small gathering place.

From the public bar a door leads to a hallway connecting the bar with the banquet room (formerly the ladies’ lounge). The hall is match-lined. The banquet room is a large open room with four windows facing the street. It is used for private functions or as an overflow space for dining at busy times. This room was originally partition into two rooms, but the partition wall has been removed.

The hall continues into the accommodation wing. There are nine rooms providing guest accommodation. There is a mixture of facilities with some rooms modernised to include ensuite bathrooms. Some original fixtures have been retained.

Construction Dates

Other
1865 -
Royal Hotel rebuilt after storm

Modification
1879 -
Royal Hotel extended

Modification
-
Main façade of Hotel roughcast

Other
2003 -
Roughcast removed and timber façade reinstated. Accommodation wing modernised. Kitchen rebuilt ensuites added to some rooms, Board walk constructed on Earne Street.

Original Construction
1863 -
First Royal Hotel constructed

Construction Details

Timber, corrugated iron

Completion Date

14th December 2010

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Hamel, 1985

J Hamel, Gold miners and their landscape at Naseby. NZ Forest Service, 1985.

Hargreaves, 1992

Ray Hargreaves, Barmaids, Billiards, Nobblers and Rat-pits: Pub life in goldrush Dunedin 1861-1865, Otago Heritage Books, Dunedin, 1992.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Hazel Harrison, Research Notes from Mt Ida Chronicle, Naseby, 1993, NZHPT file 12011-165

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

Various

Otago Witness

Otago Witness

Various

Thompson, 1949

Helen Thompson, East of the Rock and Pillar: A History of the Strath Taieri and Macraes District, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Dunedin, 1949

Hamel, 2001

Jill Hamel, The Archaeology of Otago, Department of Conservation, Wellington, 2001

Angus, 1983

John H. Angus, ‘Goldmining Towns’ in Historic Buildings of New Zealand’ South Island, Reed Methuen, Auckland, 1983

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area Office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.