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Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

Re-visiting the Ebor Hotel – Can we solve it?

Acknowledgements to Lila and Tom Vincent and William Oates

Those who follow our Moments in Time series may remember one that was devoted to the Ebor Hotel (pictured below). There was a lot of back and forth about the date and the difference in location between the Ebor Hotel and the Grosvenor Hotel, it’s predecessor.  In terms of the date, agreement was reached that the photograph was taken post 1912 although we hadn’t been able to narrow it down further.


William Oates the University Archivist at the University of New England and Regional Archives was recently contacted by relatives of a former owner of the hotel Lila and Tom Vincent. It turns out that they had a lot to add to the story! 

Lila and Tom Vincent write:

My great Aunt, Mary May Hillier nee Phillips, a sister of my grandfather, owned that hotel with her husband Henry (Harry) Hillier in the early 1920s, unfortunately Harry died after a motor vehicle accident near Hillgrove in 1922, and Aunty May later married Bruce Miller, and they continued to run the hotel for a few years then sold it.  Some time later the hotel burned down  and was then rebuilt, and we are not sure if that is the current hotel or if it was again knocked down and rebuilt again we are looking for an image of that original hotel to add to our family history files if that is possible

William responded by sending them the picture and also providing a link to the blog post on Archives Outside. Lila and Tom Vincent wrote back and shared another image of the hotel they had been given by a relative which they believe was dated around 1921.


They continued to correspond with each other about local history matters relating to Armidale and it’s surrounding districts. When they had completed their research on the Ebor Hotel Lila and Tom Vincent wrote back to share what they had learnt:

We have more info on the Ebor Hotel that will most likely allow you to put a date to the photo you sent to us, and the other photo we sent to you of the hotel with the buggy in front of the hotel

 This is another photo of the hotel, with a couple of men sitting on the verandah at front

The information that I have says that the Grosvenor Hotel, along with other businesses, was a few kms west of the current village of Ebor.When the hotel ( along with the post office & bank ) burned down in 1910 the then licensee applied to rebuild the hotel in the relatively new village of Ebor ( est. 1905 ). According to licensing information the Ebor Hotel began trading in 1912, the photo you sent to me would probably date back around that time. I have seen the same photo on the web page, , whilst the comments below the picture don’t answer the question they help narrow the time frame. I’m sorry but I don’t have any information on any owners of the hotel, apart from the first and last owners. The hotel was renovated many times, the building was part brick when it finally burned down in February 1968 …………the then owner wanted to move the licence away, but when that was rejected they had to build what is now the current hotel in order to keep the licence. The construction of the Ebor Hotel Motel ( now Ebor Falls Hotel Motel ) was completed in the early 1970’s, until the building was complete drinks were served out of a shed. The current hotel site is next to the creek which leads to the waterfalls, about 1 block south of the previous Ebor Hotel. I found some old newspaper articles on the Trove website which make reference to Grosvenor Hotel, Ebor Hotel, and 1 brief SMH article which mentions Henry Hillier’s car accident

For us this has been a worthwhile bit of research, as we now know more about the hotel that my Great Aunt May Hiller/Millier nee Phillips once owned, even though we still dont know if she owned it, managed it for an absentee owner, or leased it from another person who owned it, but we appear to be getting closer with out research.

A big thankyou to Lila and Tom Vincent for sharing their story and their research.

  • michael lightfoot says:

    When I was a student at UNE in the early 1970s I visited the temporary Ebor hotel in it’s tin shed. I think this was 1971 or 1972. I recall that there was a square of carpet in the middle of the bar (which I seem to recall was just trestle tables) and if you trod on that you were charged saloon bar prices.

    The new hotel with it’s couple of motel rooms was definitely in operation before I left Armidale at the end of 1975.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm
  • Ivan Spedding says:

    Re Lila and Tom Vincent’s comment about Henry Hillier deiing(?) in a car accident in 1922 see this extract from a contemporary newspaper report

    The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) Tuesday 7 November 1922 p 9 Article
    … I INJURED IN MOTORING MISHAP. DORRIGO, Monday. In a motor car accident yesterday afternoon noon at Ebor, Henry Hillier, proprietor of the local hotel, had a shoulder and several ribs broken, and sustained other minor Injuries. The other occtipauts of tho car escaped with a sovere shaking. … 47

    May 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm