THE LAUDER HOTEL
Lauder Railway Hotel, c1914
AMN.26 Central Stories Art Gallery and Museum
Drinks, Legends & Banter
Following shortly after the railway station, the first priority build was the pub! The Lauder Railway Hotel opened in May 1904, run by the Donnelly family.
It certainly sounds like a colourful place in the early twentieth century with Mrs Elizabeth Donnelly, publican, charged in 1912 with 3 counts of “permitting drunkenness”. One local was observed “fighting the air” and was later found by the local constable locked up in the back washroom with a half drunk bottle of beer. Another was found lying on the ground outside the hotel with his clothes on fire.
The building was also used for many other purposes. The front room was used in the 1930-40s by the Bank of New Zealand manager, who came every Monday for the locals to do their banking. Local children remember the gunman who travelled with him for security. Music lessons were also held in the front room.
The Township of Lauder
Lauder, c1905, RO048, Central Stories Art Gallery & Museum
Page 1 Advertisements Column 4
DUNSTAN TIMES, ISSUE 2344, 13 AUGUST 1906, PAGE 1
The hotel’s heyday was during the Depression Years, as workers and families moved into the area for Public Works Schemes employment.
In 1961, the hotel was moved from its original site facing the empty railway to its current position facing the main road of Lauder. Publican Ralph Phillips cut the building in half, turned it around and moved it towards the main road before putting it back together.
Legend has it, the building movers placed a drink on the bar and said they would “shout” the town drinks if the glass spilt. Their confidence paid off - not a drop was spilt.