Fotheringham’s Hotel (affectionately called Fog’s) in Victoria Street, Taree started out as the Commercial Hotel and was owned by John Keats, then Alfred McCartney.1 George Fotheringham bought it around 1890. It was not on the corner as it is now but closer to the river. In 1899, still called the Commercial Hotel, it was described as being well-stocked with many rooms, a billiard table, stables and groom. It was conveniently placed near the punt crossing and rooms had balconies with views of the river.2
Fotheringham and his brother William were once ship builders having built several ships including the ‘Empress of India’ which wrecked at Forster in 1900.3 Fotheringham’s first wife, Margaret McDonald, died during childbirth while having twins.4 Some years later Fotheringham remarried Sarah Lee and when he died in 1908, Sarah took over the licence and ownership of the hotel.5
In 1916 Sarah transferred the hotel licence to her son Arthur. Arthur sold the hotel to James Crittenden in 1921 but bought it back several years later. In 1938 Arthur demolished the old hotel and rebuilt the art deco style hotel we see today. Mr Provost was the architect and the hotel cost £25,000 with Tooth and Co helping to fund the construction. Arthur’s son Arthur laid the first brick while his daughter Norma opened the hotel in 1939 with a gold key.6
In 2010 the hotel closed and was sold in 2016 to a Newcastle developer who had plans to reopen.7 In 2019 this hasn’t yet happened, though it provides rental accommodation. The hotel is a heritage listed building.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Taree Historic Rate Books 1885-1889, entry No. 4, https://midcoaststories.com/taree-rates-books-3/#1535931512404-b6aa3280-eea0
2 Australian Town and Country Journal, 23 September 1899, 36.
3 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 28 July 1900.
4 Sydney Morning Herald, 28 May 1872, 1.
5 Northern Champion, 8 August 1936, 4.
6 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 2 November 1938, 2.