13 April 2021

Goulburn's iconic Fireside Inn fails to sell at auction

| Hannah Sparks
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Exterior of Fireside Inn in Goulburn

No bids were made for The Fireside Inn in Goulburn at its auction on 10 April. Photo: Hannah Sparks.

The iconic Fireside Inn in Goulburn failed to sell at auction on Saturday, 10 April.

Two interested parties emerged on the day, however neither bid on the property, according to agent Carol James.

She says one of the bidders had previously made an offer, but it was below the asking price and turned down.

The owner is asking $1.85 million for the old Tudor tavern that has been popular for christening parties, weddings, engagements, special anniversaries and romantic dinner dates.

Carol and the Goulburn community are eager to see the 75-seat restaurant with low-hanging beams, oak-panelled walls and charming English trinkets retained.

“We in Goulburn would be very disappointed if that was lost,” she says. “People in town say a wine or cocktail bar would be lovely so long as it’s in keeping with the old English atmosphere.”

Real estate agent Carol James inside The Fireside Inn

Real estate agent Carol James says she’ll keep trying to find a buyer for The Fireside Inn. Photo: Hannah Sparks.

Located in the heart of Goulburn’s historic precinct, with views across Belmore Park and the heritage-listed courthouse, The Fireside Inn was originally built in 1934 as a tea room for weary travellers to escape the bitter winters.

The old lantern that hangs above the quaint courtyard belongs to the stagecoach era when its light was needed to change the horses that rested in the rear stables.

A picture of John Knowlman, the Goulburn merchant who based the inn’s design on popular English pubs, still hangs above the large, open fireplace this institution owes its name to.

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Since then, the inn has only had two other owners who transformed the tea room into a restaurant serving English classics such as pork roast and sticky date pudding to diners who sat at the long tables and inside intimate alcove booths.

“There are a lot of good food places around, but not with this atmosphere, especially in winter,” says Carol. “You step out of your car and it’s freezing cold, then step in here and instantly feel the heat of the fire. It’s a lovely feeling and people remember that.”

Sadly, the restaurant closed and its tenants left at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Carol believes The Fireside Inn has many years left in it, particularly with construction of the new Goulburn Performing Arts Centre well underway.

“I think it can lead a new life, something that runs a little later to welcome people in after a performance at the arts centre for a cocktail or coffee,” she says.

The inn is ready to be reopened as a hospitality venue, with the bar, commercial kitchen, walk-in cold room, tables and chairs all included in the sale.

Even the famous plates, painted with idyllic English scenes, will still hang on the walls after the keys are exchanged.

The side room, which was a coffee room and nail boutique in another life, could be continued as a cafe, gift shop or even an ice-creamery, with cones easily served from the park-facing window, Carol suggests.

Upstairs, the two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats could become accommodation for wedding guests or restaurant staff.

You can view this property at 23 Market Street in Goulburn online.

If you would like further information, or to book an inspection, contact Carol James from Carol James Real Estate on 0409 483 766.

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