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Walter Adams a ‘generous’ pioneer

Walter Adams Metropolitan Hotel
Originally named Adams’ Hotel, and only one storey tall, the structure was built in 1872-73, by prominent community member Walter Adams, before taking on the name The Metropolitan Hotel in 1879.

One hundred and forty years ago Walter Adams had a vision to build a hotel that, while now known as the Metro Hotel, remains in the heart of the Bundaberg CBD.

Originally named Adams’ Hotel, and only one storey tall, the structure was built in 1872-73, by prominent community member Walter Adams, before taking on the name The Metropolitan Hotel in 1879.

Research undertaken by Bundaberg Regional Libraries' Heritage Team shares the history of Adams, and the story of how his original timber building made way for a grand two-storey architecturally designed hotel.

During 1885-86, less than 15 years after the hotel was initially opened and despite being built to last 50 years, Adams invested in the new building which was designed by architect A Hettrich and built by E Boyle.

At the time, Bundaberg and Mount Perry Mail, on the 9 October 1885, reported the original building looked amiss among the other structures in Bourbong Street (which was known Bourbon Street at the time).

“During the past three years… this one storied wooden structure has appeared dowdy and out of place beside the large brick two-storied building now doing duty as hotels. Consequently, Mr Adams has wisely determined to pull down the dingy roadside inn and erect in its stead a presentable brick edifice to grace once of the best sites in town.”

Opening the next year, the revamped Metropolitan Hotel had street appeal, boasting spacious balconies and set in the ideal location, on a prominent corner site in town, ensuring it became a popular venue.

Walter Adams a generous pioneer in the Bundaberg community

Walter Adams Metropolitan Hotel
Born in 1830 at Yeovil, England, Walter Adams arrived in Sydney in 1849, Photograph: Queensland Parliament, courtesy of Richard Connor

Born in 1830 at Yeovil, England, Adams arrived in Sydney in 1849, before moving to Queensland at the age of 23. He married Mary Shannon in Gayndah and they moved to Bundaberg in 1871-72.

During his time in the Bundaberg Region Adams served as Mayor of Bundaberg (1882-83), and he was described as a generous man who used his wealth for others.

As a pioneer in the community Adams helped to develop the town’s infrastructure, including the cemetery, racecourse, hospital, and the telegraph line to Burnett Heads.

Heavily involved in the Catholic Church, Adams was raised Church of England but adopted his wife’s faith.

It is understood prior to the first Catholic Church being built in Bundaberg the first mass was held at the Adams Hotel.

Adams donated a large portion of land to the Catholic Church, and it is on this land that Shalom College was built.

Shalom College honoured him by naming Adams House after him, and its crest bears the words “Adams” and “Generosity” to this day.

1 COMMENT

1 COMMENT

  1. only known by me as the Met.
    J.O.K put on regular nights.
    I can recall the night the place was raided for under age drinking (21 in those days)
    was it the first drinking hole? that is debatable when you go through old records, and when people first owned town lots. that part of early Bundaberg was down the chain a bit

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