A brief history of The Chalet *
The architectural features of The Chalet have been described as “Victorian carpenter vernacular” and have remained mostly intact with modest alterations and a wing added to accommodate the changing needs of patrons and guesthouse operators, and now a fully working artist studio.
The Chalet Guesthouse and Studio was built in 1892 by William Eyre. It had various owners and names between its sale by Eyre in 1894 and its purchase in 1904 by Mark Foy, who at this time was opening his “Hydropathic Establishment”, now known as the Hydro Majestic, across the railway line on the main road.
Elizabeth Mackin, a relative of the Foy family, bought the adjoining land as well as the house in 1905, and renamed the property Carron. The Macken family were associated with the house until at least 1920.
The house became a guesthouse in the mid-1920s, run by Mr Uniacke and advertised as ‘Unies’s Bush Hotel’. An advertisement from the time boasts “First-class Table. Six Bathrooms and Showers. Excellent Hot Water Service. Electric Light and Radiators. Fine Dining and Dance Hall. Open-air Spray Bath. Three Tennis Courts. Own Poultry, Vegetables and Fruit.”
With a change of ownership to Goodsir came a name change in the early 1930s to ‘The Bush House’. The next owners (1934-36), Mr Hebden and Mrs Emily Inman, changed the name to ‘The Chalet’, a name it has retained ever since in one form or another.
Dan and Paula Taylor owned The Chalet from 1959 to 1976. Paula was a well-known radio entertainer in Brisbane during WWII and would compose bush folk songs to entertain the guests.
During the 1970s the Chalet was purchased by Bob and Irene Reid, now renowned Blue Mountains hosts. The upgraded the guesthouse and once more provided a first class restaurant in the premises. Since their move in 1984 to take up another challenge in Mount Victoria, the Chalet has seen several changes to proprietors, and variations to its name. The associated restaurant was for a time advertised as La Buona Cucina offering ‘the finest cuisine on the mountains’.
In 1991 the Blue Mountains Guesthouse and Restaurant as it was known at the time, featured on ‘A Current Affair’ as having alleged supernatural activities ‘cured’ by the ministrations of exorcists. This situation may have arisen from the repeating of anecdotes relating to past events at the Chalet including the unexpected death of a guest, and at another time the sudden fatal collapse of the milkman in the pantry. Mrs King was obliged to step over his body in the course of preparing dinner that night. (Note: the current owners would call an ambulance and administer first aid!)
In 2001 Jo and Norm Hill purchased The Chalet to pursue their dream to rejuvenate The Chalet into a boutique hotel style bed and breakfast. They restored the property and added the private ensuites to each guest room. Their passion and love for The Chalet resulted in a new lease on life for the guesthouse and a AAA 4-star rating. In 2010 Jo and Norm decided to retire to nearby Blackheath.
The Chalet is now owned and operated by David Scotman and David Middlebrook.
* Information and image obtained from a Heritage Impact Statement 2005 authored by Rose Deco Planning & Design P/L, Lithgow.
* Additional information obtained from ‘Happy Days - Blue Mountains Guesthouses Remembered’, by Gwen Silvey, Kingsclear Books, 1996.