Someone on the footpath could be forgiven for not realising that 79 Market Street is actually one building - and it's in Mudgee, so of course it used to be a pub.
Town Hall Hotel
Built in 1871 the two-storey structure was previously freestanding, as oppose to today when it now meets the now Elton's building on the western side and the Town Hall Arcade [constructed in the 1960s] at the rear. It was also narrower previously, having been extended in a westerly direction up to its neighbour and the upstairs balcony was replaced by a wider verandah.
Originally named the Farmers' Arms Hotel, it would take on the moniker of the local landmark across the road shortly after the turn of the last century. The old lease agreement listed; 19 hotel rooms; sitting room; private room; downstairs and upstairs vestibules; two parlors; hall; bar; two dining rooms; kitchen and servery.
It ceased trading as a hotel in the 1960s. And was sold to Arthur Brackenrig and Mudgee Newsagency Ltd in 1966.
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Colonial Mecca Building
After the building changed hands it was renovated extensively both inside and out. The street frontage would be divided up to house multiple businesses - today that includes Market Street Café, Honey Pot Boutique, and The Quick Brown Fox - with a doorway providing access to internal offices.
It was also during this work that the stone overlay was added to the building's ground floor facade. This coordinated it with the look of the Newagency on the otherside of the laneway and the pair became the entry to the adjoined Town Hall Arcade behind them.
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Off with their verandahs
In the 1960s Mudgee Municipal Council called for the removal of verandahs in the CBD. This included the former Town Hall Hotel/Colonial Mecca Building, much to the chagrin of the then-new owner.
In an article from the Mudgee Guardian about restoring the verandah in the late-1990s, Brackenrig said he vehemently opposed taking it down in the first place. Nevertheless, "[Council] forcibly removed it then had the hide to charge us $100 for the removal".
He also said in the article that the project to re-add the verandah "will help the beautification of Market Street". To that end, "the main reason I am having it restored back is to conserve the beauty of our town".
Similarly, Tom Adams also had plans to do the same at the nearby Woolpack Hotel. And said in the article, "it will be good to improve the look of the place".
The now Cobb and Co Court building was also stripped of its verandah, it has one now but it's not as big as in its time as the Post Office Hotel. Around two decades ago the former Sydney Hotel - now Kelly's Irish Pub - had its restored too.
- This article was produced from the archives of the Mudgee Historical Society, including John Broadley's Historic and Architectural Study, and the Mudgee Guardian/The Weekly.