Created By: Uki and South Arm Historical Society
The land was originally owned by Henry Sweetnam. Mr Wern had a share farm there, and it was farmed in 1903 by Mr George Barnes and his family.
The original Mount Warning Hotel was built in 1914 with Fowler Fitzhenry and his uncle Fowler Askew. In 1916 Fowler Fitzhenry bought Fowler Askew out. Fowler Fitzhenry took a petition around Uki and had 75% of the population sign to meet the licensing board's requirements. He also intended to supply accommodation and meals for travellers and their horses.
When Mr Fowler Fitzhenry applied in January 1914 for a publicans licence to build the hotel at Uki, the local licensing police sergeant objected because he believed the quiet and good order of the neighbourhood would be disturbed.
At that time, the proposed hotel did not have any road access, and when the Rowlands Creek bridge was to be built. The new road put through the hotel would abut on the proposed road, but the local licencing court granted him permission.
The hotel officially opened on December 22nd 1914, costing £1,500. The first beer was delivered by Mr J. H. Faulks with his four horse-drawn wagons. Sonny Brims always said he had the first beer at the hotel when he was 8 or 9 years old. The first publican was Fitzhenry's uncle Fowler Askew.
Stables were built at the back of the hotel with hitching rails at the front. The hotel had some permanent borders. Most of the boarders were people who worked at Loder's store, the bakery, or just men who didn't have a home and worked locally.
Guests would receive a cuppa in bed each morning. Those who required a cut lunch would have one ready. Occasionally there would be travellers or school doctors, and in flood time, those unable to get home because of crossings and low bridges being flooded.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were served with a three-course meal mid-day and evenings. The dining room had six-seater tables with starched damask tablecloths and folded napkins with a waitress with a menu to take orders. You had to put a kero tin to heat on the back of the wood-burning stove for baths and carry it up all those stairs. The ladies' salon and a piano were downstairs on the hotel's right.
Walking out the door of the dining room into the hallway, on the right was a locked room, a scullery, water tanks, and the back stairs. Upstairs on the left was a sitting room, the licensee family used the front bedrooms on the left, and the permanent boarders used the bedrooms towards the back of the hotel. P. Collins had a billiard room, and a barber shop was next to the hotel.
When the women from the Perch Creek and Kunghur area rode a horse into Murwillumbah and returned to Uki Fowler, Fitzhenry would put their horse in the hotel yard and give them a room for the night and breakfast next morning at no charge as he said the ride was too long for them to continue home in one day.
In 1924 a house painter at the hotel was found unconscious at the foot of a ladder. He was admitted to the hospital but died shortly after.
In 1943 while listening to the wireless at the Hotel, Mr Alfred Modini, aged 30, sneezed suddenly, then collapsed and died.
Approx during WW2, there was a laundry woman, but she used to drink the metho for the irons. She'd get a bit wobbly towards the end of the day. WW2, you couldn't get spirits. Bunny Ebbsley made lantana rum, we believe he had his still somewhere on Rowlands Creek, that was sold at the hotel. It was, according to those who remembered it "pretty rough".
In 1958 there was a quiet horse in Uki that would eat anything. One day, the horse walked up the sloped landing to the hotel's second floor, and Stan Young gave him a plate of bacon and eggs which the horse downed with relish. The next day the performance was repeated with the "Daily News" on hand to record the event.
Stanley James Young became the publican on September 28th 1958. We were told that a fight occurred in the hotel, and a customer punched Young. He fell backwards, hit his head on the bar, and died; his wife Laurel Young took over as publican on September 14th 1961.
On Saturday night, February 23rd 2013, the Mount Warning Hotel was destroyed by fire. The publican and his staff were closing for the night when the fire started. It started in an electrical board with sparks, flames and smoke billowing out, and as it was at the base of the stairwell, it just went straight up like a chimney. When the top level let go, there was a huge fireball.
Fire trucks came from Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads, and local fire brigades kept pouring so much water on the flames they emptied the village reservoir, but it was all they could do to contain the fire. Luckily no one was hurt. The fire reignited in the early hours of Monday morning February 25th and further burnt the back of the hotel that had been left standing after the first fire.
The new Mount Warning Hotel opened on Saturday, August 22nd 2015, with crowds of people flocking to see the new building. The official opening ceremony took place on Saturday, September 5th 2015. Tony Ellis from Doon Doon had the first official beer after the opening.
Stop in for a bite to eat and a drink - you deserve it!
We thank the Tweed Regional Museum for their cooperation on access to the audio and images for this walking tour.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Uki Village - Walking Tour