Central Hotel, Dargaville
Date of Construction: Circa late 1901 replaced the previous Kaihu Hotel (est.circa 1874) destroyed by fire 16 February 1901.
Architect: John Currie
Owner: Trustees of the Dargaville Estate
Licensee: Edmund Fitzgerald Moriarty
The Central Hotel at Dargaville has always been an iconic building in the township, situated just across from the shores of the Northern Wairoa and the historic band rotunda where ducks gather to take bread from any passing visitors.
Going through one of my many sets of images I have taken of the area I came across some from a trip to the Dargaville Museum a couple of years back. I had taken a photo of the information that came with an old historic photo of the hotel that stated it had been built during the 1870's.
|Information panel at the Dargaville Museum states that the Central Hotel was 'built some time in the 1870's'|
A search of the Historic Places Trust Register stated that the building was around circa 1890. The building is registered as a Category II Historic Place Reg No: 3825. It was registered in June 1983.
My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to have a bit of a look into when the construction of the Central Hotel actually was. After a bit of research, I located the hotel which was not constructed in either of the decades indicated by either the Dargaville Museum (noted as 1870's) or the Historic Places Trust register (noted as circa 1890). To be fair both organisations can only go on the information available that was provided to them at the time. A search into Papers Past has now resolved the year of construction for this iconic building.
Originally the first hotel was known as the Kaihu Hotel (circa 1874) until it burned down on the morning of Saturday 16 February 1901. One man James Carmody, a pensioner didn't escape the fire. The victim's bones were discovered amongst the ashes after the fire and an inquest later held to determine the cause of death. The hotel itself was completely destroyed. The licensee of the hotel Edmond Moriarty, had previously been the publican of the Pahi Hotel which coincidently had burned down in September 1897, when he had been in charge of that establishment.
THE DARGAVILLE FIRE.MAN BURNED TO DEATH(By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.)DARGAVILLE, this clayDuring the fire at Moriarty's Kaihu Hotel on Saturday morning a man named James Carmody, a pensioner, was burned to death in his bed. He was found to be missing after the fire, and a search among the ashes by the police resulted in the finding of a number of bones, which Dr. Purchas pronounces part of a human skeleton.Carmody was very feeble, and had been under the care of Dr. Purchas for some time.The names of the injured men who were sent to the Auckland Hospital were Barry and Gemmell. Both were badly burned. They were attended to by Dr. Purchas, who ordered their removal to the hospital. Mrs. Moriarty got out by means of the fire escape. which was at the time so hot that she had to let go her hold, but was caught by those below. The servants had narrow escapes.The cottage adjoining the hotel, occupied by Mr. A. Mills, tailor, was completely destroyed. There was no wind at the-time, or the Masonic Hall and nearly all the adjoining buildings would have been destroyed. Temporary premises will at once be erected. Nothing was saved. An inquest was to be held this afternoon on the remains of James Carmody.
Auckland Star Monday 18 February 1901
|Tender for the construction of the new hotel by John Currie Architect Auckland Star 22 March 1901|
Edmond Moriarty was granted a license renewal in June 1903 (Auckland Star 9 June 1903) by the Kaipara Licensing court under the name of 'Central Hotel'. By 1904 the license holder was under the name of Walker. In July the hotel almost again became a victim of a fire. The Thames Star (7 July 1904) reported the fire had been discovered in a downstairs bedroom then occupied by an invalid. Only the efforts of the hotels occupants prevented the hotel from again being burned to the ground.
I'm still researching this building so this post will be updated as more information is found.
The list of Licensees I have so far are:
1901 - 1904 Edmund Fitzgerald Moriarty
1904 -? Mr Walker
19? - 1916 Samuel Thompson
1916 -19? W. J.G O'Dowd