The Leederville Hotel - the first place in Leederville to have electric light!

Recent research into the Leederville Hotel has possibly created more questions than answers. Access to the old newspapers on has brought into question whether the Leederville Hotel we see today was the original building on this site or whether it was replaced in 1904.

This evidence also reveals that the original hotel was in fact constructed in 1896 and opened for business in 1897 by James Pearce.

In the Daily News of 8 December 1886, JAMES PEARCE applied to the Perth Licensing Court for a license. The application states that it is ‘for premises already built at the junction of Leeder, Oxford and Newcastle streets, the place being ready for opening at once.’ The ruling was that he was granted a license but was ‘to add three extra bedrooms and have them ready within three months.’

The first mention of a hotel had been six months prior in the Inquirer and Commercial News 5 June 1896, page 10 referring to the applications heard in the Licensing Courts on 2 June,

Two Proposed Hotels for Leederville. — Henry Best asked for a provisional certificate for an hotel he proposed to build at the corner of Redan and Oxford streets, Leederville; while James Pearce applied for a 'publican's general licence for another hotel, which it was intended to erect in Leeder-street, Leederville. The Bench heard both applications before it gave its decision. Mr. Moorhead was the agent for Mr. Best, and Mr. Pearce's interests were watched by Mr. Haynes. The Rev. J. C. Hewson appeared as an objector. Plans of the hotels which both persons were to build were submitted. Mr. Hewson opposed Mr. Best's application on the ground that the site was too close to the church and to the Leederville swamp, and he further urged that the Bench should not deal with the application until the council of Leederville was in a proper position to voice the views of the municipality. He also gave several reasons why a licence should not be granted to Mr. Pearce. The Bench decided that the time had not yet arrived for the erection of an hotel in Leederville. The premises proposed to be opened by Mr. Pearce were not, in the opinion of the Bench, of a character to justify the granting of a licence for them. It was desirable that the municipality should first have time to establish itself before any licences were granted for that suburb, and the Bench considered that no further applications for hotels at Leederville should be made for six months.

Redan Street is now Vincent Street, so this would have been on the corner of Oxford and Vincent, possibly where the Luna or Bankwest now stand. The Leederville swamp, also known as Egg Swamp is the land now under the off ramp of the Mitchell Freeway. (see 1897 sewerage plan below)

 James Pearce transferred the license to CHARLES WINTER in May 1897. His wife, Catherine Ivy Winter had spent her childhood amongst the gold rushes in the Eastern States. The Winter’s became pioneers in Greenbushes, where they prospected for tin, prior to entering the Leederville Hotel. The size of the hotel at this point is listed as containing five sitting rooms and five bedrooms, exclusive of those required by the publican and his family. The West Australian, 17 May 1897

In a Sunday Times article ‘The Whirligig of time’ on 7 October 1928 it stated that Mr Charles Winter, a man with a black beard, was the proprietor of the Leederville Hotel (since rebuilt).

1900: ALFRED R F MEREDITH became the licensee of the hotel followed in 1901 by JOHN PATRICK WALSH.

By 1904 plans were underway to provide electricity to Leederville as requested by the Perth Gas Company. The proposal was placed to the Leederville Municipal Council that the electric light be supplied to the Leederville Hotel, The Home of the Good Shepard and surrounding homes.

The West Australian, 3 January 1905 reported  that J P Walsh’s hotel was erected as a substitute for the old Leederville Hotel suggesting that it was demolished. 'The new building is one worthy of the district, compact and pretentious in aspect. Its completences in modern conveniences, it is claimed, makes it one of the best of suburban hotels.'  The article goes on to state that it is the first place to have electric light in Leederville.

Mr Walsh was 'complimented on his business acumen and faith in the progress of the district which prompted him to erect such a pre-possessing establishment…'

The application for the licence for this new hotel, which appeared in The West Australian on 19 November 1904, stated that it contained 10 sitting rooms and 11 bedrooms, exclusive of those required for the family, to be occupied by me and owned by me.’ This was double the size of the 1896 hotel building.

J P Walsh as the proprietor of the Leederville Hotel from 1901 to 1908.

Researched and written by Michelle Vercoe and Julie Davidson