, , , , , , , ,

One of the many striking features of The Great Northern Hotel is the new buffet at which is destined to be the Mecca of diners.

One of the many striking features of The Great Northern Hotel is the new buffet at which is destined to be the Mecca of diners.

Last Word in Hotel Service and Comfort


Rebuilt after 70 years Rebuilt after 70 years without the sparing of expense, the Great Northern Hotel, on the corner of Scott and Watt streets, Newcastle, may be regarded as being in the front rank of Australia’s best hotels. Dignified in design, and with appointments emphasising solid comfort and beauty of finish, the hotel immediately impresses the visitor by its perfect layout and facilities which it offers.

The first impression of the beautiful interiors is gained when the visitor walks into the spacious foyer from the Scott-street entrance, an impression which Is strengthened when the reception office, elevators and Service Bureau are approached. Inviting settees and lounge chairs make the foyer an attractive rendezvous.

A feature of the foyer Is the carpets, which are also to be found in all the public rooms and the bedrooms.

Opening from the foyer is a lounge room with service from the saloon bar. The dining-room, reception room, the main lounge and the kitchens are on the first floor.

The dining-room itself is most attractive, with its high ceilings and old ivory colored walls, with the beautiful frieze and heavy drapings. Cosy chairs and tables furnish the lounge, where drinks, teas and suppers are served. The reception room has a sprung floor, and is most popular for dinner dances. All these rooms are conveniently placed to the kitchens, which are the last word In utility and equipment.

The second, third and fourth floors are planned with external recessed light areas, so that all bedrooms and lounges open to the outside air.

Panoramic Views

These floors contain 52 single and 24 double bedrooms, 24 of which have their own private bathrooms and toilets, while three rooms form self-contained suites. There is plenty of bathroom accommodation on all the floors.

The fifth floor has a large roof area, with a smaller one on the sixth floor. From these vantage points, vast panoramic views of the ocean and harbor are seen. Facilities for commercial travellers are provided amply, in that five sample rooms are provided, with appointments which facilitate the effective display of samples.

The magnitude of the construction work in connection with the hotel is shown in the quantities of materials used during the period that elapsed since the old hotel was demolished in 1936. Details are: —

Excavated soil, 2400 cubic yards; concrete, 1900 cubic yards; steel, 120 tons: suspended awning, 211 feet; flat roof area, 180 super yards; bricks, 100.000; plastering and cement rendering. 18,398 super yards. Tiling: Floors, 700 super yards; walls, 1894 super yards. Capping: Angles and bands, 4905 lin. feet; painting, 19,396 square yards; glazing, 9000 square feet; timber firring to false ceiling of coffee room, dining-room, and foyer, 2140 super feet: floor area, 25,000 square feet; floor bearers and joists, 3300 super feet.

Service Bureau

The hotel’s service bureau is proving to be very popular. It is adjacent to the lift, and visitors may obtain there any local information they desire, and a shopping service is instituted and for the convenience of guests who suddenly find that they require something, the bureau is at their service.

The buffet, or ‘Aboriginal Room’ is interesting. The walls and ceilings are faithful reproductions of aboriginal rock drawings. A special licence enables the hotel to serve liquor with meals until 9 p.m. A special ‘between meals’ service is arranged.

In planning the Great Northern Hotel, consideration was given to all the facilities that a modern hotel should provide.

A lounge-room with service from saloon bar, a writing-room, telephone booths, letter posting facilities, porter’s luggage-room and men and women’s toilets also enter on to, or are easily accessible from, the entrance vestibule.

The saloon bar, having direct access from Watt-street, is also accessible from the entrance vestibule in Scott street, and the buffet, for quick service of meals, entered off Scott-street, is also connected to the main entrance vestibule.

The public bar, bottle department, and public lavatories are situated at the corner of Scott and Watt streets, but are not accessible from the main hotel, except by staff. Men and women’s cloak-rooms and lavatories are entered from the stair landing and crush space, and a large kitchen, fitted with every modern convenience, having stainless steel cooking equipment of the latest and most hygienic type, and fitted with powerful ventilated, and an electric servery lift from this kitchen feeds a smaller servery kitchen on the ground floor at the rear of the buffet. Housemaids’ pantries are provided on each floor for the convenient service of morning teas, and on the third floor, an ironing and drying-room is provided for the convenience of women guests.

The cellar is provided under the bar section for the cool storage of drinks, and a large refrigerating plant is provided so that all drinks can be served at a desirable temperature. Adjacent to the goods lift and back servery stair is a second smaller cellar containing hot water boiler, fitted with automatic stoker, and a second boiler to provide steam for the heating units placed throughout the hotel. Connecting passage is provided between these two cellars, so that the bar staff can gain access to the service stairs and their lounge-rooms without crossing the main vestibule and public spaces. The exterior of the hotel Is faced with terra-cotta up to the underside of awning, and the remainder with semi-glazed textured bricks. Many Cooperate Many firms cooperated in making the Great Northern Hotel the fine structure it is, no small part being played by the Newcastle Gas and Coke Co., Ltd. This well-known firm, in addition to Installing a heavy duty cooking range, griller and toaster, a Jackson water heating appliance and gas coppers for the laundry, provided a special clothes drying room, the first installation of its kind in Newcastle. The equipment of the ‘Unitair’ Laundry Dryer consists of: An insulated drying room,

A series of sliding clothes’ racks with ample line space. A gas-heating unit, fitted with a safety pilot control, and an automatic fan to keep the air In rapid circulation. This laundry dryer is the first installation of its kind in Newcastle and it is claimed that within five minutes of their entry into the drying chamber, light clothes will be ready to iron. Other advantages of this dryer are: The protection of the clothes from dust and smuts and the prevention of tearing by the wind. The dryer obviates the necessity for large drying areas and enables drying work to be carried out satisfactorily under all weather conditions. It saves building space and building costs. John Bridge and Co., Newcastle water installation engineers and plumbers, were responsible for the whole of the installation of water, steam heating in the kitchens, and hot water supply for the hotel. Malleys, Ltd., engineers, of Mountain-street, Sydney, designed, manufactured and installed the kitchen equipment, including the stainless steel and porcelain enamel units. Northern Chromium and Electro-Plating Co., of King-street. Newcastle, who specialise in chromium, nickel, copper-oxidising, silver and the like have many beautiful samples of their art in all parts of the hotel. Bricks were supplied by the Waterloo Brick Co., whose works are at Thornton, the cement by Stevenson’s Ltd., of Mayfield, timber by Andrew Cook and Sons, and sand and metal carting by H. H. Chadwick. Other firms who assisted were H. and E. Sidgreaves, shop and shop front fitters, of Sydney, Tylers Ltd., of Sydney, bath and toilet accessories, and Mauri Bros, and Thompson refrigeration.

The Newcastle Sun, 10 Feb. 1938

Research by Matthew Ward