Royal hotel for sale in the mining ghost town of Linda in Tasmania
If you’ve ever considered an ambitious tree change on Tasmania’s rugged west coast, this might be your chance.
- The ruins of the Royal Hotel on the west coast of Tasmania are for sale
- The hotel was built in 1901, but has fallen into disrepair since the 1950s
- There was a cafe on the site, but it closed five years ago
In the little-known ghost town of Linda, 10 minutes from the small mining town of Queenstown, you’ll find the blackened concrete ruins that were once the Royal Hotel, and they’re on the market.
A source of fascination with Tasmanians for decades and steeped in a mysterious history, the property is for sale for just $ 149,000.
Real estate agent Wendy Van Balen said there had been “a lot” of interest so far, despite the remoteness and lack of interior design at the property.
“Some Tasmanians but also some people from state to state, basically people looking for peace and quiet,” she said.
Tranquility is essentially guaranteed, Linda having a population of less than 10 people.
Zoned residential, the 2,000-square-foot site once had a cafe, but it was closed five years ago and has been dormant ever since.
Ms Van Balen said a buyer can do anything from arranging site visits to renovating the site to making it a home.
“It’s a pretty imposing building, it has a lot of history and it’s quite peaceful,” she said.
A “most visible” building
Despite its long history, there isn’t much formally recorded information about the history of the Royal Hotel.
According to his obituary in the Zeehan and Dundas Herald in 1910, George Eaves built the hotel in 1901.
Linda Valley was described in a local newspaper in 1900 as “a rapidly growing township, now numbering 600 people”.
In the same room, the Royal was considered one of the “most remarkable” buildings in the city, with “comfort and cleanliness everywhere”.
It was famously destroyed by fire in 1910 under the ownership of Thomas Kelly, who then rebuilt it.
Michael Holmes, historian and author of books on the ghost towns of Tasmania, said it was one of four hotels in the then thriving township.
“They have grown rapidly, with grocery stores, butchers, bakeries, a train station and a school, football teams, a marching band…” he said.
Mr Holmes said that despite Linda being technically part of the nearby town of Gormanston, she had her own sense of identity.
He said the city owed much, if not all, of its existence to the discovery of gold at the North Lyell mine.
The area received national media coverage in 1912, when 42 workers died in a fire in the mine.
A bustling city turned into a “dull colony”
The heyday of the hotel appears to have been relatively brief.
Newspapers show the hotel was the scene of fighting and violence throughout the 1920s and 1930s, including the fatal stabbing of a young man in 1925.
There were also numerous breaches of licensing laws, with publicans caught serving alcohol on a Sunday, which was illegal at the time.
The township was shrinking almost as quickly as it looked as the mines were running out of gold and people were leaving en masse.
“In that article, the Mercury in 1932 described the Linda Valley as ‘a drab colony now almost deserted’, so it began to die out before many other surrounding towns,” Mr Holmes said.
Prominent Australian historian and writer Geoffrey Blainey noted that he dined at the hotel while writing his book The Peaks of Lyell in 1951, but was the only one in the building at the time.
Hotel license holders were required to reapply for a license each year, and the last registered license application for the Royal Hotel dates back to 1952.
It was later abandoned, but what exactly happened next and how it fell into its current state of disrepair remains unknown.
For Ms. Van Balen, the dilapidated site is an opportunity to be seized.
“It’s right up the road from Lake Burbury, and on a clear day here it’s just magical, who wouldn’t want that quiet?” “