In the tavern today you’ll see its date of establishment as 1884, but the building of the original hotel goes back to 1871.
It was built by W.H.M. Lovell on a site where the Mangawara Stream meets the Waikato River. Lovell had arrived from Ballarat at the tail end of the Victoria gold rush days, buying up lots of land.
He later leased the hotel to Alfred Elles but in 1882 disaster struck when the hotel and an adjacent store were destroyed by fire.
Lovell was beset by debts but recovered sufficiently to build a new hotel near the settlement’s new railway station.
It was to be a larger, grander affair with 17 rooms, more space for bars plus an outdoor area. Despite a national timber shortage and a delay in transferring the licence the new hotel was opened in 1884.