Every Picture Tells A Story
The Vacant Block of Land
The vacant block of land that started the Heritage Hotel
Motel Dorrigo story can be seen in the background of the
two photographs below.
The photograph of the war memorial being constructed
would have been taken in 1921.
The war memorial was dedicated on 16th April 1921, some
four years before the Hotel Dorrigo was built.
Hotel Dorrigo Under
This photograph shows the Hotel Dorrigo under construction
with the builders team and Michael Feros in his white
shirt and waistcoat. (10th from left).
Hotel Dorrigo - Drying the Laundry
The photograph below shows the debris of the Dunkley &
Davis Pioneer Stores that was burnt down on 9th January
1927. It reopened for business in December 1929.
In the background is the Hotel Dorrigo. Note the sheets hanging to dry on the upstairs front verandah.
It rains a lot in Dorrigo. You can not have rain forests without
a lot of rain.
In the early years of the hotel’s operation there were no
clothes dryers or commercial laundry services. The laundry
had to be dried on the premises.
Besides the front verandah, Elene Feros used two other
methods to dry the laundry.
The hotel kitchen was fitted with clothes lines. After the
dinner guests were served the kitchen serving benches
were pushed to the side and sheets were strung from the
clothes lines across the kitchen. It was the Feros children’s
job to take the sheets from the laundry basket and hand
them to their mother as she stood on a chair to reach the
The wood fire combustion stove was fully stocked and
provided sufficient heat to dry the sheets over night.
The second drying area used by Elene was in the motor
room outside the bar cellar. The motors provided the cooling
system for the beer keg cool room. The motors, carrying
out this function, generated heat. The motor room was
fitted with clothes lines as was the kitchen. The procedures
for drying clothes was the same as in the kitchen. The cellar
motors provided sufficient heat to dry clothes over night.
The New Wing
The photo above depicts the eastern side of the hotel. The
section of the hotel with the verandah was the original
1925 hotel. A section without a verandah was added in
The addition occurred as the hotel had insufficient rooms
for the demands made by customers.
Coming out of the depression, the 1934 construction shows
the austerity of the times.
- There was no verandah.
- The 16 bedrooms were the standard 13’6” long but only
9’6” wide. They were only single rooms. The original
1925 rooms varied in width from 11’6” to 14’6”.
- The 1925 doors had decorative moldings. The 1934
doors had no decorative molding.
- The 1925 bathrooms were turned into bed rooms. The
new doors were the simple 1934 door and the 1925
bathroom doors were reused on the new bathroom in
the new wing even though they did not match the surrounding
The new wing, however, had hot and cold water in each
room, a larger communal shower room, a bathroom and
Whilst the ‘new wing’ was built 75 years ago, it is still
called the ‘new wing’ by the family.
1920s Greek Culture - the Dowry
This photo tells a social history story of Greek migrants to
Australia between the two world wars.
The first is the wedding photo of Michael Feros and Elene
Haniotis in February 1929.
Elene Haniotis was the oldest child of a family of five girls
and one boy.
In Greece in the 1920s for women to marry they had to
have a dowry or in Greek, a ‘pricka’. As Elene’s family
were poor there was little prospects of her marrying in
Michael on the other hand was looking for a Greek bride.
A mutual cousin arranged the match or ‘proxinia’. Elene
travelled to Australia and stayed with another cousin in
Bowral. After Michael visited three times the parties confirmed
the match and the wedding took place on January
The second photo shows, from the left, Elene, Michael and
Elene’s second sister Penelope, on the back stairs of Hotel
Dorrigo in 1935. The stairs led to a sunken fernery garden.
The veranda post on the left is the post in the Bistro near
the cutlery bench.
Elene arranged for her sister Penelope to come in 1935.
Elene was worried about where she would find a suitable
husband for Penelope in Dorrigo. However, cupid solved
the problem. Penelope met Jim Castrisos on the boat coming from Greece. They fell in love, married and settled
in Nowra. Jim operated the Red Rose Cafe in Junction
Street. Without a dowry, the three sisters left in Athens,
Irene, Elizabeth and Ann, never married. They lived well
into their nineties.
Mine Host - Michael Feros
Michael Feros was mine host at Hotel Dorrigo from 1925
He derived a great deal of pleasure serving his clientele.
The photograph below left shows Michael drinking with the
boys in the public bar — the bar that stretched 55 feet
around the corner of the hotel. Long bars were the fashion
of the day in 1925, as patrons sat at the bar to drink. The
current public bar includes all of the patrons area and service
area of the 1925 bar.
The larger ladies lounge is the current service area for all
The space behind the bar was about as much as the space
available for patrons, and the walking distances to serve
patrons so great that 5 barmen were needed to keep service
up to patrons. The layout of the 1925 public bar and
ladies lounges is provided in diagram below.
Download a history of Hotel Dorrigo featuring information and photos including its construction.