It was during 1884 and 1885 that William Daniel Winter built this inn by his own hands. That was also the year the train came to Bungendore. The American-style Cobb & Co stage coaches had been stopping at Bungendore for years by that time, but as the Bungendore Station was the end of the Sydney line, it became more of a coaching hub for travellers to Queanbeyan, Braidwood, Captains Flat, Canberra, Cooma and beyond.
During the construction process, he made, on-site, the 20,000 bricks required for his building. It is clear that the vision that sustained him, was to create the best country hotel for coach travellers there could be. This can be seen in the:
- beautiful symmetrical design of the building
- indoor kitchen and brick baking oven, rare at the time
- eight fireplaces and northern and eastern facing veranda for winter warmth
- high ceilings and southern and western internal veranda for summer cooling
- abundance of windows
- water well in the courtyard, and
- stables for horses
He completed the inn by the end of 1885, and in early 1886 declared the premises would be known by “the sign of The Lord Carrington Hotel”, after Lord Charles Robert Carrington who had been appointed Governor of NSW in December 1885. (After the Governor retired in 1890, the name was shortened to the Carrington Hotel.)
The finished hotel (now the Wintergarden restaurant building) then comprised seven guest accommodation rooms, salon, dining room, kitchen, and family quarters. William’s hotel and change station not only served coach companies like Cobb & Co, Crowley, and Star Line and their patrons, but he also ran his own coach line between Bungendore and Captains Flat. To complete the ‘vertical integration’, his son, George Winter, established a blacksmith and coach building shop nearby on Malbon Street.
William Daniel Winter c. 1860 – Restoration © 2016 TCI
For years the Carrington Hotel was a centre of Bungendore life, not only providing accommodation, but also for some governmental and cultural activities. After William’s death in 1915, the hotel was inherited by his daughter Martha, who converted it to become a private residence for her and her brother’s family, and it remained so until 1967 when her daughter, Myee Gallagher, passed away.
Maria Myee Gallagher c. 1910 – Restoration © 2016 TCI
The restoration of the Carrington as a premier hospitality venue was led by Ms. Toni Dale, and commenced nearly a century after it was first built. Initially she reinvented the hotel building as an approachable fine dining venue, that receive rave reviews for the quality of the food and service, for the restoration of the building, and for once again opening it to the public.
However, by the mid-1980’s that wasn’t enough, and almost as if channelling William D. Winter himself, she commenced the building of new accommodation on-site. The accommodation was pleasing, comfortable and spacious. In addition to her public garden, she also designed private garden space for most suites. Toni and her staff, created a warm and unique hospitality space that led the Canberra Times to state, “the Carrington at Bungendore was a good place to make friends”.
Now another 30 years on, a new era for this evolving place called the Carrington Inn is commencing. This time led by Innkeeper, Richard Graham and his team, who says their work is to build upon Mr Winter’s hope and vision, and Ms Dale’s hospitality warmth and insights. In doing so, it is their aspiration to transform the Carrington Inn into an internationally relevant hospitality venue. One that will not only continue to care for the passing traveller as William Winter did, but to draw people from around the world to eat, drink and be merry.