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Blue Mountains Tourist : Spring 2008
A bit of Heritage history M ost people would not know that the Temperance Movement played a big part in the building in 1908 of one of the best known hotels in the Blue Mountains. The movement – opposed to the ‘evils of alcohol’ – helped create a need for premises which did not serve alcohol – variously referred to as coffee palaces, private hotels, boarding houses, or guesthouses. These premises offered similar elegance, size and facilities as the licensed grand hotels of the day, but patrons were somewhat more isolated from alcoholic drinks. The largest and most famous guesthouse was then known as The California. It was built in 1908 by Herbert James Preston, a Sydney businessman, and quickly became the finest private establishment of its kind in the Blue Mountains. In 1912 Florence May and Arthur Anderson purchased the property. The NSW Government Tourist Guide that year acknowledged it as “the largest and best appointed Private Boarding Establishment in the Mountains.” In 1923 the Andersons took over an adjacent home, Gawler, and later sold the consolidated estate to a consortium. In September 1935, The Herald reported that The 14 www.bluemountainstouristnewspaper.com.au spring 2008