In the 1870s Captain Charles Smith, a shipping magnate, bought part of country residence built in the 1870s by the Hon John Lucas, M.L.A. (1818 - 1902), a controversial Sydney politician, financier and Secretary for Mines in the Robertson Ministry. In the 1880s Smith built a house, called ‘Logie’, higher up the hill, above the railway and beyond Lucas’s cottage. When Charles Smith died in 1897, Logie was inherited by his son, Colin (1879 - 1939). Colin Smith was an eccentric and kenspeckle figure in Glenbrook who established a bacteriological laboratory at ‘Logie’.
In 1921 Logie and its estate were bought by Herwald Kirkpatrick and his brother-in-law, G.H.D. Morris (known as Jack). After a period of bad relations between the joint owners, Morris moved out of ‘Logie’ and in 1923 built his own house, ‘Briarcliffe’ on another part of the estate.
Kirkpatrick, who was a well-known architect, then proceeded to convert ‘Logie’ and the surrounding 12 hectares (29 acres) into a high-class hotel, retaining the stone foundations of Charles Smith’s house.
On 23rd July, 1928 a company called, "Lapstone Inn Ltd" issued a prospectus offering shares in a venture to buy old ‘Logie’ for £20 000 and convert it into an up-to-date residential hotel. "No site more picturesque could be imagined, the view across the Plains in all directions is unequalled, the climate for many months of the year is very like that of the South of France", the prospectus enthused.
There were 15 acres, mostly in beautiful gardens; and there were plans to pipe water from the Nepean River as everyone in this district still depended on tanks for water.
|'Decoration' journal, Feb. 1936|
The directors were Herwald Kirkpatrick, Sydney architect, who had designed the Glenbrook School of Arts; Samuel Farey, wool expert; and John Gordon Huston, hotel proprietor of Dubbo. The company was not free of financial problems, apparently, for according to some early Council correspondence, it was in liquidation in 1930, however it appears to have survived.
Using the interior designers, Ricketts and Thorp of Rockdale and Industrial Arts Ltd, Kirkpatrick created a major Art Deco luxury hotel, which attracted admiring articles in the professional journal Building in 1930, 1936 and 1937.
The Lapstone Hotel became a very fashionable place to stay and a road house bar was built at the entrance to cater for passing traffic. However there is no indication that it ever operated as a drive through bottle shop.
The Hotel originally had 57 bedrooms; this extract from a Blue Mountains promotional publication of 1939 gives a good, if rose tinted, description of the facilities it offered.
LAPSTONE HILL HOTEL…
Only 40 miles from the G.P.O. - offers Visitors unique features - the convenience of a city hotel set amidst mountain scenery. Within an easy 80 minutes’ drive along the perfect surface of The Great Western Highway. Around this Hotel is a wealth of romantic and historical interest from its spacious, cool verandahs looking out over the terraced gardens, so reminiscent of Italy and the Riviera, can be seen the places which figured so prominently in Australia's early history.
Set like a brilliant ribbon of silver, threading amidst orchard groves, the glorious Nepean River flows in the foreground. The very name Lapstone itself is romantic - a river bed flung to mountain height millions of years ago, but still the earth holds evidence of that former era in the river stones which abound - the Cobbler's Lapstone was just such as these.
When heat reigns in the city, up here the cool North East breezes refresh and stimulate. After a strenuous set of tennis or a long round of golf, the crystal river water of the bathing pool incites you to swim.
When night descends you gaze away over the plains and in the distance twinkle there lights of old world Penrith, Richmond and Windsor, and beyond those of Parramatta, and like a Nimbus, the glowing radiance of the Metropolis on the sky line.
Mr. Fred Poppelwell, the well-known professional, a golfer of the Australia Golf Club, has laid out a fine 9 hole course. Lockers and showers are provided at the Hotel.
Of a standard unexcelled in Australia. The finest kitchen in the Commonwealth, specially designed for a la carte meals. The most modern refrigerator equipment combined with Electric and Oil Burner Cooking, assures patrons of excellent meals at any hour of the day or night.
An ultra-modern combination of Fashionable Hotel and Country Club, exquisitely decorated and luxuriously appointed. Carpeted floors in all rooms and hallways, and furnished after the manner of an English gentleman's home. Replete with every modern home convenience. Running water in bedrooms, telephones and central heating.
Lapstone is approached by the Great Western Highway a pleasant 40 mile journey along a concrete bitumen surface road, which brings the hotel within 80 minutes of the city. Situated 40 miles from Sydney – three-quarters of a mile from Glenbrook Station - a car meets train.
|ECAFE conference 1948|
|ECAFE Conference 1948|
All images from the Local Studies collection.
Thanks to Barbara Higginson for access to research notes and photos.
References and Links
"GOLDEN RAY" MIRRORS (1933, March 15).Construction and Real Estate Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1930 - 1938), , p. 9. Retrieved August 3, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222910923
"POLITICS DISRUPTS E.C.A.F.E." The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) 10 December 1948: 4. Web. 2 Aug 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2780061 .
ECAFE CONFERENCE OPENS AT LAPSTONE (1948, November 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18099418
Nepalese In Black Pillbox Hats (1948, November 30).The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18099390
Housing Trouble For ECAFE At Lapstone (1948, December 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 2. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18101365
UNRRA Delegates in Informal Pre-Conference Scenes (1945, February 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), , p. 9. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1111130
POLICIES FOR U.N.R.R.A. (1945, January 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), , p. 3. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17941064