The old Mount Keira Inn

Back in April 2012 I posted:


Posted on April 11, 2012 by Neil



West Wollongong/Figtree – Princes Highway, next to the Hellenic Club. Now a trade union has its local headquarters here, but the 19th century / Georgian look suggests an inn. I have heard it was once Figtree Post Office. Does anyone know for sure?

This is an older photo from Trove.


19 February 2015

Now my friend Bruce from City Diggers Wollongong has lent me a 1999 book Tales from Our Streets: A Photographic History of Illawarra by Anne Wood:

Collection of photographs and drawings of Wollongong and the Illawarra district, accompanied by information about their history. Images include the settlement of Old Bulli, Mount Keira Hotel on the Princes Highway, St Michael’s Church, Wollongong, a line drawing of market square, Wollongong in 1851 and a photograph of the square in 1998.

So that is the mystery solved! Here it is in the 19th century:


See the Figtree information page:

Mt Keira Hotel

In 1846 Hugh Higgins built a single storey brick building with a wide veranda on the main road south of Wollongong, now 59 Princes Highway, Figtree. After Higgins returned from the Californian goldfields the building was upgraded and used as an ‘Inn’. The Inn was distinguished by its rose gardens and two fig trees planted by Higgins in 1865. The fig tree on the south side still stands today. (Local Studies Cuttings file)

‘In 1892 the Clarke family took over the old Inn (now Hotel) and George Clarke became the publican in 1901. A second storey was added, along with extensions to the south west corner.’ (Organ, 1991)

In the late 1920’s the hotel’s licence was transferred to the Crown Hotel in Wollongong. Shortly after this the second storey was removed and once again it was used as a private residence. After the site was subdivided a Golden Fleece service station was built in the 1950’s next to the old Inn. During the 1970’s the service station closed and the Hellenic Club was built and the Inn was converted into two flats. Since the 1990’s the flats have been used by small retail businesses whilst still retaining original floor boards, fire places and walls. (Local Studies Cuttings File)

See The Old Mount Keira Inn (PDF).

Introduction A.P.Doyle lllawarra Historical Society THE OLD MOUNT KEIRA INN 59 PRINCES HIGHWAY, FIGTREE

Early in May a young woman from West Wollongong came to the door of the Museum to enquire if the Society knew anything about an old building located on the Princes Highway at Figtree, adjacent to and just south of the Hellenic Club. She suggested it might be the old Mount Keira Inn and pointed to a number of references in Old Pioneer. After initial research by the author and Joe Davis she was proven correct, and an important item of the built heritage of lllawarra was “rediscovered”. Joe was further successful in locating a turn of the century Photograph of the Hotel, plus a second article by Old Pioneer on Hugh Higgins, the original publican . The photo was located after much intelligent searching by Claire White of the Local Studies Library. After visits to the site by Michael Roberts and Ray Brown of Bulli, and later Steve Dillon and David Winterbottom, the Town Planner, the building in question has proven to be the oldest surviving colonial period Inn/Hotel in the City of Wollongong, dating from the early 1850s….