Heritage-listed Goulburn hotel attracts cross-country interest

Mandelson’s foyer features marble-tiled floors leading to a grand staircase. Picture: Neal Size/ Informer Multimedia
Mandelson’s foyer features marble-tiled floors leading to a grand staircase. Picture: Neal Size/ Informer Multimedia

A historic 1840s hotel in Goulburn, NSW, is on the market for the first time in 10 years with options to extend the current accommodation and events business.

Extensively restored and extended, Mandelson’s of Goulburn’s 41 rooms offer ample opportunities for residential accommodation and commercial functions.

The 1846-built hotel is named after its first owner Nathan Mandelson, who marketed it as “unrivalled in Goulburn and unsurpassed in the metropolis of Sydney”.

The heritage-listed property in the heart of Australia’s first inland city has hosted bishops, state governors and politicians plus it played a role in the development of the nation’s railway industry.

Exterior showing outside of Mandelson's in Goulburn

Mandelson’s hotel was built in 1846 and was marketed as “unrivalled in Goulburn and unsurpassed in the metropolis of Sydney”. Picture: Neal Size/ Informer Multimedia

Elders Real Estate Goulburn sales agent Louise Elliott, who is assisting principal Ray Croker with the sale, said enquiries had come from local and Canberran small-time buyers who, like the current owners, were passionate about the property and its future possibilities.

“You could do what the current owners are doing, living at the hotel, renting out the flats and rooms out the back, and getting a nice little return from them,” Ms Elliott explained.

“You could also turn it back into a nice bar with accommodation or you could use the bigger rooms for conferences,” she said.

Ms Elliott added that the hotel’s heritage listing hadn’t affected recent changes, with the council willing to work with the current owners regarding the painting of interior walls and the installation of 44 solar panels.

High-end guesthouse in popular tourist destination

The hotel’s location in the popular capital country region, two hours from Sydney, an hour drive from Canberra and halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, adds to its possibilities.

Along with Bowral, Yass and Young, Goulburn welcomed 3.5 million visitors in 2021, mainly from regional NSW, according to Tourism Research Australia. The number of domestic overnight visitors increased 7.7% in this period to 1.3 million.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s marketing and events coordinator Jessica Price said the city was well-known as the ideal destination to host events, with accommodation often booked out.

“Mandelson’s presents an exciting product development opportunity to fill the current local gap within the high-end guesthouse accommodation offering,” Ms Price said.

Ms Elliott explained Mandelson’s large workload, along with COVID challenges, had resulted in its owners recently toning back the hotel’s commercial functions – but there was no reason why buyers couldn’t start these opportunities again.

Ideal for weddings and conferences

Circa Heritage and Lifestyle Property Specialists’ Dominic Romeo said Mandelson’s would be ideal for weddings and conferences.

“The beauty of this building is that people can book out all the bedrooms, have a wedding and feel like that the whole property is theirs for the weekend,” Mr Romeo said.

“And with conferences, people like having meetings where they can break away to lovely rooms and this hotel has really nice, comfortable and calming rooms where at the end of a long day, you can just enjoy yourself.”

Due to its size, however, Mr Romeo expected buyers would be those already working in the mid-to-large scale hospitality industry, rather than first-timers.

“For something like this, where you’re running large groups and multiple bedrooms, you really need to have a grip on the hospitality and tourism industry and know how to market yourself,” he said.

Meeting room upstairs at Mandelson's in Goulburn

The hotel’s ballroom – also known as the cigar room – hosted committee meetings advocating for a private railway line between Goulburn and Sydney. Picture: Neal Size/ Informer Multimedia

The 942sqm property comprises three separate, self-contained apartments and four guest suites along with several sitting rooms, a ballroom – known as the cigar room – and a billiard room, with a full-sized billiard table included in the sale.

A wine cellar is also underneath the ground floor dining room and can only be reached via a trap door and ladder.

While this secret may surprise some buyers, it isn’t an unusual feature in early 19th century properties, according to Ms Elliott.

“The hotel used to be a pub, back in the day, so the cellar was where they kept all the grog,” she explained.

Historic tours have also been held at the hotel in the past with the last being in 2020 when groups of 20 guests were priced at $25 per person.

Hotel has a long and rich history

This heritage-listed and restored property is connected to the history of railways in NSW through its original owner Mr Mandelson, who was a shareholder in a private company proposing to create a rail link between Goulburn and Sydney.

Mr Mandelson hosted committee meetings in the hotel’s ballroom in the 1840s with other local businessmen to discuss the project which later formed part of the Great Southern Railway line. The hotel hosted the state governor and his wife, the Earl and Countess of Belmore, when they visited Goulburn in 1869 to open the city’s first train station.

Lounge area with fireplace at Mandelson's in Goulburn

There are several living and entertaining areas across the hotel’s two storeys, all restored to their former glory. Picture: Neal Size/ Informer Multimedia

Prominent 1850s solicitor and Republican Daniel Deniehy had his office at the hotel for several years.

Mandelson’s also housed Goulburn’s first bishop, Reverend Mesac Thomas, in 1863 before it became a school and later a boarding house in the 1870s.

Mandelson’s of Goulburn is for sale with a price guide of $3.8 million.