The Bega Pioneers' Museum has countless reports and stories on local issues. This story is about two of Bega's early hotels.
THE Royal Hotel, Gipps Street, Bega, on the site of the Woolworths service station, closed in 1917 after 40 years of trading. It was opened first by Jimmy Kiss, who sold to Mr Tos Moody, then to Mr Thomas Hutton who had it for many years.
At that time Rixon and McLeod saleyards were situated at the rear of the hotel - a very busy spot - the fences of it being high and very strong to hold the half-wild cattle.
After Mr Hutton, the Royal went to Mr Plowright and Mr Hutton opened the Metropolitan in Carp Street (later known as the Bega Hotel).
The next licensee of the Royal was Joe McKee of Towamba. He later sold to Mr Jack Donnolly and he sold to Jack Gay. After his death it passed to Mr Brice then to Mr Hill. It was he who brought the price of beer down to threepence a glass and the other hotels had to fall into line.
Mr Paddy McGuiness and Dan Lambert followed as licensees then Mr Ralph Kavenagh and last of all Captain Wilson.
The building was bought by Mr Wm O'Neill who resided there with wife (nee Miss McDonald of Nimmitybelle), sons Bill and Doug and daughter Kathleen.
The Family Hotel on the corner of Bega and Auckland Street was owned by James Rixon, who came to Bega from Eden. In the early 1860s he sold the hotel to Mr Thomas Underhill. Mr Rixon purchased the Commercial Hotel in Bega. The Underhill family ran the hotel until 1922. In 1898 Mrs Thomas Rixon became licensee and then later Jane, who was Mrs J R Rixon, took over. When she died the hotel was bought by breweries.
Mr Tim Land, the last licensee, gave up the licence in 1939. The property was sold to Mr Harry Scanes, who was a blacksmith in Bega. He also dealt in the sale of hides and skins. He bought the property for £800.
In his declining years he sold it to the Bega Municipal Council, who leased the building to the Bega Valley Historical Society. The building (Museum) was opened by the then Mayor of Bega, Mr Roy Howard in 1977.
The curator was Miss Bernice Smith and the president Mr Jack Burgess. The Bega Valley Historical Society bought the property with a council loan, which was fully paid back.