The main street of Eden has taken a step back in time with the recent unveiling of the impressively restored façade of the Hotel Australasia.
For 117 years, Hotel Australasia has been an integral part of the social and physical fabric of the township of Eden; its long and colourful history holding a special place in the hearts of generations of locals. Those following the hotel’s restoration progress will be pleased to learn the doors are expected to open once again in March 2022, after its sudden closure in 2010.
Bega Valley Shire Council originally purchased the historic hotel in February 2016 as a civic space. Following strong pressure by community group Eden’s Australasia Inc., the landmark building gained Heritage listing status with a view to restoring the beautiful original façade.
After many changes in ownership, developer Core Asset Development (CAD) identified the potential in the grand old lady of Eden in September 2021. CAD retained Mr Rankin and his team to finish the job.
The heritage renovation has been met with much anticipation from not just those involved in the build, but also the townspeople – many of whom have a deep and personal connection to the building’s history.
Hotel Australasia: a labour of love
To Mr Rankin, Hotel Australasia is more than just another project, it’s a labour of love for him and his highly skilled team of trades. When restoration work began almost two years ago, it was discovered the bones of the building were in remarkably good condition. The 1904/05 front façade inspired the whole project.
“The first task was to rebuild the front parapet as it had been knocked off to install the new façade in 1957,” Mr Rankin said.
Another major task was lifting the floorboards, taking two months to restore. Every little detail has been researched and reinstated – colours, internal timber staircase and front ironbark balustrade.
“The original colours were found around the windows and doors; everything was tiled over. It’s all been about saving and preserving the local history,” Mr Rankin said.
CAD has also bought the Eden Fishermen’s Club and plans to re-develop the site into the Sapphire of Eden, a $100million project comprising of a four-tower complex. When open the building will offer a nine-room, five-star boutique heritage hotel with restaurants, outdoor eateries and ‘Rankin’s Bar’, vodka and gin distilleries plus more.
Mr Rankin said, “It’s the biggest development in the town since Ben Boyd arrived in the area in 1842 with all his gold, Eden is getting a new lease on life.”
For further restoration information and updates join the Hotel Australasia Facebook page @AustralasiaHotel.
Check out this article for more to see and do on Australia’s beautiful Sapphire Coast.