Long-time Kwinana residents may remember strolling down to Harley Way for an after-work tipple at the Town’s original “wet” Canteen.
The original Canteen, originally at State-run enterprise, was built in 1955 and quickly became a mecca for Perth residents looking for a place to socialise on Sunday afternoons. Original manager Mr. Bill Brown did a roaring trade as at the time, Western Australia’s liquor licensing laws forbade the sale of alcohol on the Sabbath day and Kwinana, being 40km from Perth Post Office, conveniently sat just outside the prohibition area.
Apart from giving the community a place to socialise, the canteen also played an important role in the development of many local clubs and societies through its “penny pile” donation box, where patrons would donate their spare change towards local projects.
In 1963, the Kwinana Road Board purchased the Canteen from the State and Sunday trading ceased. Money from sales was used to fund the development and maintenance of local amenities and services and between from 1963 until the Canteen closed in 1972, business provided a total profit of $263,785.99 towards Council projects.
In October of 1972, the Harley Way building reopened as the Kwinana Senior Citizen’s Centre and the brand new Kwinana Motor Lodge Hotel commenced operating on Chisham Avenue in 1973.
The new Hotel included 19 accommodation units, a swimming pool, a public saloon, two lounge bars, a cocktail bar and garden bar as well as accommodation for the Hotel manager and staff. Kwinana Council decided it was inappropriate for a local government agency to run a licensed premises and so the Hotel became a privately run business.
Business was good for the next 39 years, but the call for last drinks was made on 26th April 2012, with 600 people turning up to bid their local watering hole farewell.
For a year the old Hotel stood empty, falling into neglect as it attracted squatters and young mischief-makers. The fire department was called on several occasions to put out small blazes before the buildings were finally demolished in 2013.
If you have fond memories or photos of nights spent at the Kwinana Hotel, Kwinana Library would love to hear from you.