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Railway Hotel (fmr)


Shire of Menzies

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Shenton St Menzies

Location Details

Other Name(s)

now Menzies Hotel

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1902

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 18 Dec 1996 Category 2

Category 2

High level of protection appropriate: provide maximum encouragement to the owner under the Town Planning Scheme to conserve the significance of the place.

Statewide Hotel Survey Completed 01 Nov 1997

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

The place is a landmark on Shenton Street and contributes to the historic and aesthetic character of Menzies, enhanced by a decorative Italianate parapet. The verandah which extends over the footpath, is a dominant streetscape element, typical of hotels at the turn-of-the-century. The place is significant as one of the earliest hotels in Menzies and the only one still functioning as a hotel.

Physical Description

Built to replace the original two-storey, timber framed and weatherboard clad hotel that was destroyed by fire in 1902. The existing two-storey building is of painted brickwork, laid in English bond. A verandah and balcony stretch across the street facade and extend over the footpath. The balcony and balcony lean-to roof are supported on slender posts that divide the facade into bays. The building exterior features a decorative rendered parapet, employing classical motifs, that hides a gabled roof behind. The balcony is protected by simple timber railing. The building exterior features semi-circular openings with wide panelled doors with leaded and stained fanlights,
on the lower level, and French doors on the upper level.
The interior comprises three sitting rooms, seven bedrooms and living quarters for the publican and family. The interior has pressed metal ceilings and cornices. The far end of the entrance hallway features a moulded arch, with a prominent keystone, supported on square pilasters. Behind the arch is a doorway, with panelled timber and glazed doors with etched panes and etched fanlights, that lead to the rear dining room and kitchen, and the stairwell with a carved timber stair. Fireplaces are simply detailed, with the exception of the fireplace in the upper level lounge that has a carved timber mantle and pilasters. The toilets have been upgraded.


Menzies Town Lot 22 was purchased by John William Scott and Robert Wells in June 1896. pOLA - CT 88/46] Resident in Menzies since January 1895, Scott and a partner, Henry James Thorne, had initially set up a billiard saloon in Brown Street in a building that was later occupied as a Mechanics' Institute. Moving to new premises a few months later, Scott and Thorne obtained a wine and beer license and established a public bar in connection with a large billiard room. [MM 11/01/1896, p.6]
With Scott's purchase of Lot 22, the partners built the Railway Hotel, a two-storey timber framed building, on the northern portion of the block. They began advertising it as, "First class accommodation for travellers - Nothing but the best brands of liquors kept in stock", in October 1896. [NCH 13/10/1896, p.3] The opening of the hotel dining rooms under the management of Mesdames Schofield and Waddington was announced in January 1897, with board being set at 35/- per week and meals 2/6 each. [NCH 06/01/1897, p. 1] The following month, Scott and Thorne gave details of the completion of the building by the addition of a new saloon bar upstairs, "a cool and luxurious apartment." [NCH 20/02/1897, p.2]
By this time, the fast growing goldfields town already had eight or nine hotels, a number that would peak at 13 before the turn-of-the-century. Of these, only one, the Grand built in 1897, was originally constructed of brick. [MM 22/01/1898, p.21] The majority of the buildings in the main street were timber or hessian and, like most of the other hotels, the Railway was weatherboard and iron on a timber frame, with the only bricks being in the fireplaces and chimneys. The risk of conflagration in a town that relied on fire for cooking and heating, and on kerosene lamps and candles for lighting, was enormous. The council tightened their building regulations and insisted on brick construction for hotels after the disastrous fire in February 1898 which destroyed both the St Albans and White House hotels. [MM 05/03/1898, p.4]
It appears to have been a common practice in Menzies for publicans to lease out their accommodation facilities and dining rooms as a separate business. Most of the hotels advertised meal tickets which appear to have been popular with the many single men occupying the town. The Railway Hotel dining rooms were taken over by Dave Gordon in March 1898. [MM 26/03/1898, p.9]
Thorne, who sold his share in the business to Scott and returned to Victoria in December 1897 [NCH 20/12/1897, p.2], bought back into it a year later as an absentee owner by taking up Wells' share of the property. Scott continued as licensee, agreeing to pay an annuity of £390 to Thorne for five years. pOLA - CTs 88/46 & 163/94]
On 17 May 1902, the Railway Hotel suffered the same fate as a number of other buildings, in that it was destroyed by fire. Scott estimated his loss at £2,300. The building and furniture were insured for only £1,000. [NCH 17/05/1902, p.2; 21/05/1902, p.2]
Thorne generously relinquished his annuity POLA - CTs 163/94 & 249/198], transferring sole ownership of the property to Scott who, apparently undaunted by the disaster, applied to the Municipal Council for permission to erect a new brick hotel. [NCH 17/07/1902, p.2] The builder was C. W. Arnold and work began immediately. [NCH 25/07/1902, p.2] At a meeting of the council that month it wa decided not to allow cellar openings on the footpath for future hotels, and a cellar entrance at the side is a feature incorporated into the design of the existing building. [NCH 30/07/1902, p.2]
Arnott and his men held a 'smoke social' on 2 October to celebrate the completion of most of the work. [NCH 04/10/1902, p.2], and the new building, containing three sitting rooms and seven bedrooms exclusive of those required by the publican and his family, was opened the following month. [NCH 15/11/1902, p.4; 17/11/1902, p.2]
Occupied with the establishment of the Royal Group Hotel out at Woolgar, Scott leased the new premises, transferring his Railway Hotel license to James Riley for an annual rent of £676. [NCH 15/11/1902, p.4; 02/12/1902, p.2; DOLA - CT 249/198] Riley ran the place until April 1904 when Scott took over again. [NCH 20/04/1904; DOLA - CT 249/198] He announced extensive improvements to the saloon bar which was to be in charge of a new arrival from Perth. [NCH 22/04/1904, p.2] The premises were again leased in November 1906 to Isabell Bell whose husband, Robert Bell, ran the place for about two years until Walter McAdam took over the license. When the Bells surrendered their license in 1910, McAdam took it over. After McAdam, licensees were Janet Aitken (1911-1913), John Green (1914-1915), then Scott himself.
In 1916, the place was purchased by John Joseph Weaver, but it is not known whether he ever held a license for the establishment. Weaver, one of the principals in the well-known cordial and aerated water firm of Weaver & Lock, had the Proprietory Hotel in Menzies many years earlier. Much later, in 1934, he bought up several defunct hotel properties in Menzies, including both the Menzies and Lady Shenton.
Early in 1920, the Railway Hotel was leased by Richard Knight Oates for three years. Since 1923, the Railway has been the only licensed hotel in Menzies, and from that year through to 1934 the licensee was William Collier. A five year lease was taken up by Henry Clement Ray in 1934 and he held the license for 1934-35, then transferred it to Gordon Hack who held it until 1941. James Gibb was barman there from 1929-1941. [Wises Postal Directories and DOLA - CT 249/198]
Weaver, the owner for 25 years, died in 1941 and the property went through the hands of various members of the Weaver family until it was transferred to Cecil Raymond Fuller in 1970. [DOLA - CT 249/198] The hotel has been in that various licensees since this date.


INTEGRITY: High Degree




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 2 20/12/1897,
"Menzies Miner". p6 11/01/1896,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 2 04/10/1902,
"Menzies Miner". p 4 05/03/1898,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 2 25/07/1902,
"Menzies Miner". p 9 26/03/1898,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 2 30/07/1902,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 4 15/11/1902,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 2 17/07/1902,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 2 15/11/1902,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p 06/01/1897,
"North Coolgardie Herald". p3 13/10/1896,

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use COMMERCIAL Hotel, Tavern or Inn
Present Use COMMERCIAL Hotel, Tavern or Inn

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

31 Jan 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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