The National Hotel has had an eventful history since it’s opening in 1868. However, what this iconic building is worst known for is it’s awful luck with fire. 4 fires have hit this beautiful heritage icon, with their level of severity increasing over the years.
In 1929, the first fire broke out. Fortunately there wasn’t too much damage as it was confined to the rooftop, with a kitchen spark causing the outbreak.
Another fire broke out in 1951, this time in the basement on a Saturday afternoon. Some sacks of coal stored down there caught fire. Similar to the 1929 fire, it was swiftly brought under control and there was only minor damage.
In 1975, a more serious fire took hold in the upper levels of the hotel, it was fortunate no-one died that night. The damage from the water used to put out the fire contributed immensely to the overall repairs required on the building.
In 2004, The National Hotel closed down for a major renovation. It was planned to restore the hotel and put back the beautiful verandahs removed in the 1950’s. The hotel was a significant way through these renovations when 2 teenage boys broke into the property one night. On the 11th March 2007 at around 9.30pm, the boys managed to set fire to the building. Fire ravaged the entire property and hardly any part of it was spared, over 40 fire fighters were in attendance that night and over $5 million worth of damage was caused. There was doubt over whether the building could be saved, but fortunately buildings of this era were built to last and the all clear was given to re-open the roads the following day.
The National Hotel reopened in its current form in December 2013. We have created a modern bar and restaurant venue in a beautiful heritage building in the heart of Fremantle.
Open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner. The ground floor comprises a traditional style pub, with a 60-seat alfresco area on High Street, a 4-metre high back-bar display replete with an extensive selection of premium spirits, cocktails and wines complimented by a lengthy array of tap beers. Check out the detailed ornate ceilings, the beautifully restored lead light windows or the bar counter made from re-cycled railway sleepers. Moving up to the first floor there is a huge wrap around verandah split into a relaxed drinking and snacking section or the more formal restaurant setting. The main bar is split into a restaurant and a bar area with restored fireplaces and a 3m screen to catch up on all your favourite sporting action.
Undoubtedly the best place south of the river to hold a function, we cater for everything from small groups to a 250 person gathering, great for wedding receptions, office sun-downers, birthday parties or anything other reason you can come up with to have some fun.
For more information call us today on (08) 9335 6688 or e-mail email@example.com
The site was first used as a shop in 1868, then during the 1870s became the National Bank. In 1886 the branch relocated to lot 30 High St, opposite Sandover’s store.
By late 1886 the National Hotel opened, taking its name from the bank that occupied the site. The site and building was then owned by J. J. Higham, a local merchant and businessman. In 1895 the building underwent a major reconstruction.
Some-time later the hotel was acquired by Michael and Daniel Mulcahy (Messrs. Mulcahy Bros.), who came to Western Australia to prospect for gold and enjoyed great success, then went on to become prominent Hotel proprietors and pastoralists. In 1902 they enlisted the architect Mr Louis Pearce to prepare plans to rebuild an up to date and commodious hotel, worthy of its position in the centre of Fremantle.
The original two storey hotel was to be replaced with a new prominent hotel of five levels including a basement. The hotel was to be constructed of stone and brick with stone forming the foundations and the lower portions of the walls with the brick above. The plans included a right-of-way from Market Street, and balconies totalling 450ft in length and about 9 foot in width. The wall height was 45 foot, extending to 70 foot from the ground to the top of the dome, the flag pole being a further 21 foot high. Internally, there was to be a total of between 50 and 60 rooms with provisions of 13 foot ceilings on the ground floor to 12 foot ceilings on the other floors as well as spacious stairways and corridors. The basement contained a large kitchen, three cellars, two wine store rooms, a scullery, storeroom and servants’ dining room.
The West Australian in 1902 stated that “The architect has, throughout, apparently, striven to produce something which will reflect the highest credit upon his profession, and when the building is completed, it should form a valuable addition to the architecture of Fremantle.” The National Hotel was anticipated to cost between 7,000 and 8,000 pounds. Michael Mulcahy died in 1917 and until at least 1933 the hotel was still owned by Daniel Mulcahy. By 1948 ownership had changed to Mr. T. Dean who also owned the Central Hotel in Perth.
In 1953 Allen & Nicholas carried out works, including erection of suspended awnings. On 15th February 1975 the top floor was destroyed by fire. In 2006 the hotel was closed for a major upgrade. Prior to the completion of development works, on the 13th March 2007, the hotel was vandalized and set on fire which seriously gutted the interior and the roof, however the exterior remained just about intact. The hotel has changed ownership a couple of times since then and in 2010 received the city of Fremantle heritage award for the conservation including restoration and reconstruction of the exterior of the hotel building. The building was purchased by the Carnegie’s International Group in 2012 who set about restoring it into the magnificent venue you see today.
The National Hotel is a substantial and highly decorative, four-level, prominent corner hotel, expressing the affluence of the gold boom and designed in the Federation Free Style of Architecture.