On 6 December 2022, Rylstone and District Historical Society (RDHS) celebrated 150 years of the Bridge View Inn with a community birthday party.
The day began with an ‘Open House’ at the Bridge View Inn allowing visitors to inspect the mural over the fireplace in the dining room and the upstairs apartment used for guest accommodation.
Also on display were new interpretive panels in the hallway providing information about the history and significance of the building, the mural, and the innkeeper Goodwin Spires Hall who had the building built and was the first publican. These panels and the new publication about the BVI were funded by a grant from Heritage NSW (Department of Environment and Planning).
The BVI hallway has been repainted, brighter lighting installed, and there is new carpet on the stairs.
The formalities began at 2 pm with a welcome by RDHS President Peter Monaghan. An audience of about 50 guests gathered under marquees in the rear garden of the BVI. The Rylstone Public School Choir were special guests and they sang two well-executed songs finishing with “Happy Birthday” to the Bridge View Inn. A specially commissioned birthday cake was cut by past Presidents Robert O’Neill and Shirley Tunnicliff. The Rylstone Public School Captains and Prefects then helped to load objects and documents into a time capsule that will be installed in a chimney cavity in the Bridge View Inn marked ‘to be opened in 2071 – to mark the 200th year of the Inn’.
The time capsule contains a pewter plate similar to those used during the era when the Bridge View Inn was a hotel (1871-1895), a glass ash tray and a cheque stub book produced for the Rylstone Branch of the Bank of New South Wales during its occupancy of the building (1933-1957), a plastic cigarette lighter with Bridge Restaurant engraved on the case and a black souvenir baseball cap with ‘Bridge View Inn, Rylstone NSW’ in white stitching dating to the era when the complex was leased for restaurant businesses (1981-2006). Eleven photographs from the RDHS archives were included showing the building in various eras as hotel, bank, restaurant and after renovation and conservation by RDHS, and copies of books published by Rylstone and District Historical Society were put into the capsule, including ‘Celebrating Fifty Years 1963 – 2013’ marking 50 years of history of Rylstone and District Historical Society, and the recently published ‘Bridge View Inn, Rylstone NSW’. A wide range of other documents relating to the BVI’s history such as plans, drawings, statements of significance, heritage listings and conservation management documents were also inserted along with brochures about the town, district, the Wiradjuri nation, local heritage walks and copies of the Mudgee Guardian and Community Capers.
Bruce Wilson, President of the Gulgong-Mudgee-Rylstone branch of the National Trust then spoke about the importance of conserving and valuing the district’s heritage buildings.
Virginia Hollister, author and editor of ‘Bridge View Inn, Rylstone NSW’ then launched the new publication. To honour the buildings’ 150th year, the book is a comprehensive history about the building, its builder, its occupants, its conservation, the rare 19th century mural in the dining room and its artist, and chapters by previous tenants reflecting the state of, and use of, the building in the 1950s and the early 2000s. Copies ‘hot off the press’ and signed were sold at a special price on the day, and will be available from RDHS via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, from the ‘We’ve Got It Made’ shop in the Bridge View Inn, from the Cottage Museum on Sundays, or from the Rylstone newsagency.
Peter Monaghan thanked everyone for coming, and celebrations ended with guests enjoying a piece of birthday cake and refreshments catered by the Rylstone Public School Parents and Citizens.
Order your copy of the book, “Bridge View Inn – Rylstone, NSW”, by Virginia Hollister. More details at http://rylstonehistory.org.au/the-bridge-view-inn-order-your-copy/