Quality | Heritage | Experience
The Grosvenor Hotel was built in 1896 by John Alexander Humberstone, and his wife Sarah Hannah, with construction completed just in time for the Summer season of 1897. They ran the new 60-room hotel themselves.
Prior to building the Grosvenor Hotel at ‘the other end of town’, Mr Humberstone had taken over the lease of the Crown Hotel in 1889, occupied Victor Harbor House in 1893, and had former experience with hotels at Mount Barker and Mount Rat.
An article written by a visitor to Port Victor (Victor Harbor) appeared in ‘The South Australian Register’ on Wednesday 6 January 1897. Part of their article reads…
“Christmas of 1896 will long be remembered by those whose privilege it was to spend it at Port Victor, which is considered by many to be South Australia’s premier watering-place. No township in the colony can boast of more building during the year just closed than Port Victor. Thousands of pounds have been expended in providing extra accommodation for visitors at this holiday resort. Principal among the new buildings is the Grosvenor Hotel, containing sixty rooms, with a magnificent balcony measuring nearly 200 ft., which has been much appreciated by the boarders and their friends.”
The Grosvenor Hotel was furnished with every modern convenience, and as the years went by, was improved with every up-to-date comfort available. In November 1900 it became the first gas-lit building in Victor Harbor, and the State Governor, Lord Tennyson and his family, were the first guests to enjoy the new gas lights.
Setting new standards in Victor Harbor that were comparable with hotels in the city of Adelaide, the Grosvenor became a popular and fashionable place to stay, attracting high profile dignitaries and clientele. Continuing with its quality and progressive fit-out, the hotel also became one of the first buildings in the town fitted with electric light in 1918.
After Mr Humberstone’s sudden death at age seventy one in 1902, Mrs Humberstone took over ownership of the Grosvenor Hotel while her son Arthur managed it with his wife Gertrude. Eventually Arthur purchased the hotel and continued to run it until 1919.
Arthur Humberstone was a well-known figure in the town and in 1905, he purchased one of the first motor vehicles in the area. At the opening of the Town Hall, Arthur took passengers for trips in the car to the Inman Bridge and back. So popular was the experience, people queued for the opportunity.
Acknowledgements & References:
‘Settlers around the Bay’ by Anthony Laube
‘Victor Harbor’ by Michael Page
National Library of Australia