The original Hotel situated on the corner of Lake and Little St. Forster, was built by Thomas Blanche in 1872 after the original survey of Forster in 1869. It was a single storey building called “Forster Hotel”. Blanche was the Licensee until 1878 when Leonard Steinmetz took over until 1895. The Hotel burnt down in 1911 and was rebuilt as a two storey building.
The Hotel, renamed the “Lakes & Ocean”, was a well known place of refreshment and accommodation. Charlie Bowers, the new Licensee, ran a ferry service from the foreshore along the front of the Hotel to the Pacific Palms end of Wallis Lake in a remarkable passenger service from Taree to Newcastle and on to Sydney.
A coach would carry passengers from Taree to Tuncurry-Forster, Bowers would ferry them to what is now Pacific Palms. Another coach would take them to Myall Lake near Bungwahl, where a launch would take them to Tea Gardens. After a nights rest, passengers would catch a launch to Salt Ash on the upper reaches of Port Stephens, then they would catch a coach to Stockton and finally a ferry across to Newcastle. Upon arrival in Newcastle they could board a ship to Sydney arriving the next day.
The Hotel was again destroyed by fire in 1922 and rebuilt as the building we see today, standing the test of time with a number of renovations and refurbishments. This image forms part of a series on display in Neptune’s Lounge at Club Forster, Strand St. Forster. Copies available at the Museum.