From the Newsroom

An artist impression of the new Sedgers Reef Hotel. It is expected the new hotel will open in 18 months but in the meantime trading will continue from a temporary facility. Image: contributed

Family dream being realised with Sedgers redevelopment

Rodney Stevens


The realisation of a more than decade-long dream for the McGeary and Gilmore families will begin next month when the redevelopment of Iluka’s iconic Sedgers Reef Hotel commences.

Licensee for the past 17 years, Rowena Drew, said the last drinks will be poured in the current premises, which has operated on the same site since 1874, at the end of January.

“We close on Monday the 30th, that’s the last day of trade so that will be last drinks in the current premises,” she said.

“Everyone is welcome to come and farewell the old Sedgers Reef Hotel right up until the time we close.”

Despite rumours Chris Hemsworth and Russell Crowe were interested in purchasing the hotel, Ms Drew said owners Rodney and Dean McGeary were determined to redevelop the premises to honour the dreams of their parents, Owen and Marie McGeary and fellow owners Robin and Laurel Gilmore.

“The McGeary’s and the Gilmore’s put the plan in place to redevelop the hotel and they really wanted to start at least 10 years ago,” she said.

“With sickness and ill health in families, as time went on it just got put back and put back.

“Then Owen passed away and his boy’s made sure they took to it, to make his and Robin’s dream a reality.

“Owen had seen the plans and loved the plans, and Robin is 83 now so we are really hoping he gets to see this through.”

Plans submitted to council by Burton and Carter Pty Ltd show a contemporary styled single level premises that blends in ideally with the surrounding aesthetic.

An artist impression of the new Sedgers Reef Hotel. It is expected the new hotel will open in 18 months but in the meantime trading will continue from a temporary facility. Image: contributed

“It was about blending in and being a part of what we already have there, which is just amazing and beautiful,” Ms Drew said.

Ms Drew said the new premises will feature a main bar, lounge, TAB, bistro, alfresco dining areas, gaming machines and an attached caretaker flat.

“The new premises will be exciting and awesome and from nearly every angle we have a water view, because that’s what everyone comes for…we’ve got the best view in the country we believe,” Ms Drew said.

“It’s not going to be too big and elaborate or flash, we still wanted to cater to our local community, so prices won’t go through the roof.

“With the new hotel the bistro will be able to cater for a lot more people and we will be able to hold weddings and private functions with the fantastic new layout.”

The North Head Hotel was first constructed on the current site in 1874, making Sedgers Reef Hotel the longest continuously operating business in Iluka.

After fires destroyed the hotel in 1921 and again 1927, the then North Head Hotel was rebuilt as the single storey Sedgers Reef Hotel we know currently in 1928.

But according to the Iluka History Group, the hotel didn’t officially get its current name until 1983, after 30 years of management by the Sedger family.

Ms Drew said the redeveloped premises was expected to be finished in 18 months, weather permitting, and will keep the name Sedgers Reef Hotel.

Despite the redevelopment, the hotel will continue to trade from about the second week in February, Ms Drew said.

“Next door to the property we’ve put up a temporary hotel out of containers, it’s got a deck, a bistro, poker machines, bar, toilets,” she said.

“Everything is there, just on a smaller scale, so we can still keep people in jobs and continue to serve our community.

“In the first week of February everything has to be moved next door and then the asbestos (in the current premises) being removed is four or five days with no one being allowed near the premises.”

Due to the redevelopment, parking will no longer be permitted at the front of the hotel on Queen Street and is now accessed via Queen Lane at the rear of the premises.