What is now the Great Southern Hotel was built in 1857 as Barclay and Tea's General Store which incorporated Eden's first Post Office when George Barclay was appointed Post Master. In 1880 it was converted into a hotel and John Hopkins became the first publican.
It is one of only two survivors of a number of hotels built in the era when the Port of Eden was central to both Benjamin Boyd's and the Imlay Brothers' large pastoral, whaling and business empires. The other is the Crown and Anchor further down Imlay Street toward the port, which now offers bed and breakfast accommodation.
The Kiandra Gold Rush (‘up Kosciusko way’) of 1859/60 brought an overnight boom to the port and township of Eden and its population swelled to around 4,000 as many fortune-seekers arrived and were equipped here. However, the boom was short-lived and by the end of 1861 Eden’s town population declined to 265 permanent residents with a floating population of sheltering mariners and these were mostly housed in bark or slab walled huts as well as wattle and daub constructions, as was the way in most frontier towns of the era. Of course, none of these survive today. The few more substantial buildings of stone, rubble or brick were mostly hotels.
This hotel has been renovated and expanded since with a fine restaurant and substantial decking at the rear offering panoramic views across Calle Calle Bay. It continues today as a commercial enterprise (see our 'Pubs and Clubs' Directory).
More detailed information on the Great Southern Hotel from South Coast Time Traveller.
Historic image: Great Southern Hotel prior to addition of the balcony in the 1890s
National Library of Australia - C.E. Wellings collection