We’d like to extend you the heartiest of welcomes to the Capertee Royal Hotel. We are Graham and Catherine and, together with our daughter Reine, we run the hotel and attend to guests’ needs. Originally we bought the hotel so we could continue living in the Capertee Valley. We have such a passion and love for the area that we could never contemplate living anywhere else. When you come to visit, you’ll see why from your very first glimpse.
History of the Capertee Royal Hotel
The first timber version of the hotel was built around 1840 but it tragically burnt down in the early 1890s. The story goes that the ladies of the community were fed up with their men spending too much time at the pub, so they torched it! The original timber building was replaced with the stone building because in 1880, the hotel became a rail head (where a railway line ends). In the old days, it used to be a 3-week trip from here to Sydney but suddenly the railway line arrived and the trip became less than 24 hours. Now that’s progress! Back then, there were more than 3,500 people living here whereas numbers have now dwindled to just 180. Fire seems to be a recurring theme because in 1930, a travelling salesman left a candle next to a window and the curtains caught alight. But just as the fabled phoenix arises from the ashes, so too does the Capertee Royal Hotel….The hotel today.
The Capertee Valley is the largest enclosed canyon in the southern hemisphere and at thirty kilometres across, it is actually wider than the United States’ Grand Canyon. It is situated around 800 metres about sea level. The Valley is home to Pantoney Crown, named after William Pantoney, a member of James Blackman’s 1821 exploration expedition. Way, way back in the Valley’s history, long before the first recorded visit by a European, the area was studded by volcanoes and today remains a picturesque landscape of sandstone cliffs, volcanic rock and true Australian bushland. Prior to white settlement, the Capertee Valley was inhabited by the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people who suffered slaughter and devastation at the hands of the new settlers. In the mid-1820s, Sir John Jamison established a cattle station named ‘Capita’. Two decades later, the Corlis and Gallagher families settled there and farmed sheep for meat and wool. The 1850s brought the gold rush after the precious metal was discovered in the Turon River. Thanks to the plentiful water supply, the village of Capertee was able to be founded and in 1875, the region’s first Post Office was installed. Today, the current police station still carries remnants of the old lock-up which was built in 1897.
Feisty Local Women
The original Capertee Valley Hotel was built from wood in the early twentieth century but was burned to the ground twice. Legend has it that local women were fed up with their menfolk spending time at the hotel and they burned it down to keep them home. The present hotel was built in the 1930s using sandstone recovered from a second building on the property which was thought to have been built in 1895. Originally, the site was a Cobb & Co coaches stop where travellers could stop to enjoy meals and take rest and so that the coach could swap horses for the onward journey. Today, the Capertee Valley Hotel tries to keep the stories alive and encourages locals to relay them to visitors when the opportunities arise.
The Early Days of Settlement
The Capertee Valley was recognised in the mid- to late 1800s for its mineral resources, namely coal, limestone and oil shale. Fast forward to The Great Depression and the area became known as a refuge for people trying to find affordable housing and employment in the mines. The first school was built in 1882 in the village of Capertee and by 1920, had an enrolment of 82 students. The school that exists today was built in 1923 to replace the former property.
The Capertee Royal Hotel
From its tragic early beginnings, the Capertee Royal Hotel has risen from the ashes to become a popular landmark and local gathering point. The stone building was erected around 1880 when the hotel became a rail head, marking the end of the railway line. Instead of a three week trip from the Valley to Sydney, the railway line suddenly came along and turned the trip into a mere twenty-four hours, or even less! With a population of more than 3,500, the area was booming. Today, however, the hotel sits amongst a community of just 180 who frequent the pub to keep up with local news and share a drink with each other. With such a charming history, it’s no wonder the Capertee Royal Hotel is a popular place to stop and rest a while, just as the old time travellers used to. Today, we continue the tradition of treating visitors like welcome members of the family and we look forward to welcoming you very soon.