Pieces of history salvaged

26 June 2020

Parramatta’s Royal Oak Hotel, built in the 1800s, was recently demolished ahead of light rail construction. Prior to its removal, heritage specialists identified a range of historic materials from the original building, including exterior tiles, laneway wall bricks and sandstone foundation blocks. These have been carefully salvaged, along with the hotel’s ‘est. 1813’ sign and a sample of pressed metal ceiling panels.

In a surprising find under the floor, the project’s heritage specialists came across newspapers dating back to the 1920s – The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Labor Daily and Daily Guardian, providing a fascinating glimpse into another century and social etiquette of the time.

Advertisements for handkerchiefs and a £250 fully equipped Morris car are among the gems contained in the papers, which throw back to a time when Palm Beach property was a steal at £3 per foot, silent movies were accompanied by orchestra, and Miss Australia hopeful Dora Dale posed in a demure one-piece bathing suit.

Transport for NSW will work with the City of Parramatta Council on the reuse and interpretation of these finds, as a way to commemorate the history of the location.

The Royal Oak Hotel, which is not listed on the state heritage register, was demolished to provide sufficient space for two light rail tracks in the centre of Church Street, and traffic lanes and pedestrian footpaths on either side of the light rail.

The heritage former Cobb & Co Stables at the rear of the Royal Oak Hotel has been retained and protected by Transport for NSW, while a new, reimagined Royal Oak Hotel will open across the road in 2020.

For more information, visit www.parramattalightrail.nsw.gov.au/royal-oak-hotel.