A landmark building in Imlay Street for more than a century, the Hotel Australasia was the last of Eden’s nearly two dozen hotels to be constructed & the most recent to close it’s doors.
Mrs. Sabina Pike purchased the one acre allotment that would become the site of the hotel in late 1904, paying £500. This was reportedly the highest price paid for land in the township for a forty year period. In the wake of the purchase, local media reported on Mrs. Pikes intention to build “…a large up to date hotel…” on the block & by December 1904 she had awarded the construction contract to Mr. John Hines. With plans to erect a two-storey 43-room brick structure “…on up to date lines…”, it is believed that the move was made in response to the expectation that Twofold Bay would become the site of the Australia’s federal port.
Finally opening its doors to guests in early January 1906 under publican Mr. W. A. Robertson, building owner & developer Sabina Pike had taken over the reins by the following month & was to remain as licensee of the Australasia for almost two decades. A divorcee with a wealth of experience in the hotel trade locally, “Aunty Pike” as she was fondly known, had previously operated Eden’s Commercial Hotel with her former husband James during the 1890s, before taking over as publican of the Great Southern Hotel for at least a decade. It was only when the Australasia was nearing completion that she relinquished that position & in January 1905, the license & goodwill was transferred to Sam Solomon. Writing of her business acumen, the Australian Town & Country noted that Mrs. Pike’s successful local business activities had led to her establishment of “…the splendid hotel…” where she managed the business personally & did “…everything possible for the comfort of her guests…” Describing the business in 1906, an journalist noted that the Australasia was “…the largest & most modern building in Eden…”, commenting that it was “…thoroughly up-to-date in all its appointments & is furnished most elaborately…”, which, combined with the “…magnificent views…” of ocean & harbour, made the premises “…an ideal place at which to stay…”