23 November 2022

A rare find – a historic building high on a headland deep on the Far South Coast

| Lisa Herbert
Start the conversation
The lovely Harbourmaster's House sits atop the Tathra headland.

The lovely Harbourmaster’s House sits atop the Tathra headland. Photos: Elders Real Estate Tathra.

Known for the past 17 years as the home of friendly Fat Tony’s Restaurant, this iconic Tathra building is steeped in history.

Available for purchase, a buyer could join the ocean-loving Tathra community, or serve them margaritas.

Constructed by Thomas Spence in 1906 as his home high on the Tathra headland, after WWI the house was a residence to a long line of Illawarra Steam Navigation Company managers, working at the nearby Tathra Wharf. Hence the building earning the name ‘Harbourmaster’s House’.

The building was used as a residence until the 1970s when it was bought by a local syndicate and turned into a restaurant, The Harbourmaster Restaurant.

In 2006 the Little family bought the Harbourmaster and again renovated, changing the name to Fat Tony’s, with Ant and Nicole Little at the helm.

“It’s a beautiful sturdy structure, the original brickwork is spectacular and it hasn’t moved one inch since 1906; they definitely don’t build them like this anymore,” owner Ant Little said.

“From right back to the reno, endless people have come in here and enjoyed the space, the amount of people that walk in and smile, it’s got that intangible thing, it’s a place that feels good, and you can’t buy that.”

“We’ve taken a few walls out, opened it right up, but someone could simply put the walls back in to live here. The bones of the house are all still here, which is what gives the restaurant that homely feel.”

The internal exposed brickwork is stunning, as are the original timber floors, ceilings, windows and architraves. There is also a great licensed bar for up to 100 people, from 10 am to midnight six days, and until 10 pm on Sundays.

“Living here in Tathra has definitely given us longevity, you’re right on the ocean. We’ve worked hard here and it’s allowed us to raise our family, work on our house and pay our bills all in a really good spot.”

Tathra is a summer town, but the season is extending. November and December mean Christmas parties, and January is the peak of school holidays.

“But,” Ant said, “there are also the mountain bike trails now. You have people who can’t wait to get out of Canberra and come down and ride the trails in the middle of winter, that wasn’t traditionally a thing, so that’s growing, and the year-round nature experiences here are extraordinary.”

Nature experiences include the spectacular Wharf to Wharf Walk and a burgeoning eco-tourism scene.

Like many Tathra residents Ant manages to get out on the ocean, surfing and stand-up paddling most days. He’s had some moments with Tathra’s regular visiting whales, “literally up close and personal with nature”.

Agent Greg Comer of Elders says “it’s always a good time to buy in Tathra, there are rarely listings on the market, specially an iconic place like this”.

“The location is great … you can live there, have a restaurant or business, and you can walk to the beach without having to cross one street,” he said.

The front of this delightful building has some local council heritage significance, being a beautiful example of the architecture of the period, and there are extensive water views to the north and south from the landscaped front yard and rear windows.

Freehold on 844.1 sqm of prime Tathra land – the zoning, 2B local centre, allows a multitude of options, including home business, industries and occupations.

The building area is 140 sqm and there are seven car spaces, plus plenty of patron parking.

For information and inspection contact Greg Comer of Elder’s Real Estate Tathra on 0412 849 058 or 02 6494 1087.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.