NOOJEE HOTEL – ITS ENDURING HISTORY
The Noojee Hotel was built in 1925 in the middle of the bush by owner and publican Sydney Wentworth Smith. It was an enormous building for a small town but one that catered for the growing timber industry providing accommodation, and for the consumption of beer.
In 1926, a year after its establishment, and again in 1939, bushfires destroyed the town of Noojee. The hotel however, was the only building that survived through both fires and served as a community meeting place during the emergencies.
After the 1939 fires, the hotel took on the role of most other general businesses in the town until they were re-established and also the role of a local school where lessons were taught on the verandah.
During the early 60s, while the hotel was owned and managed by Clem Dunn, Jack Kelly a local Powelltown man sculpted a series of dinosaurs from bull ferns and they stood amongst the greenery alongside the river behind the hotel. Over the years they deteriorated and are now long gone but one that remained for many years was the well-known and well-loved 12 foot T-Rex dinosaur that stood outside the front of the hotel until the late 90s.
In 1998, while the hotel was owned and managed by John Williams, a fire broke out in the upstairs part of the building believed to have been started by a faulty power point or lamp, which caused significant damage.
The owner decided not to rebuild the upstairs rooms but instead refurbished the downstairs area and covered it with a new roof creating the Noojee Hotel we know and love today.
The hotel’s current licensee is Simon Duck who during the hotels 90th year will add another page to its history with the resurrection and restoration of its iconic dinosaur.