Fountaindale Grand Manor, originally built in 1924 and opened as Hotel Robertson, has had an interesting history. The Hotel boasted a nine hole golf course, two tennis courts, croquet, lawn bowls, billiards, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and an onsite mechanic who looked after guest's cars during their stay. The hotel won the 'Most luxurious hotel in the Commonwealth' award in 1925, and was the first hotel in Australia to have phone lines to every room.
The Hotel was built to draw some of the Sydneysiders, who retreated to the cool Southern Highlands to escape the heat of a Sydney summer and enjoy the beauty of the countryside. The Hotel was a success and the developer went on to subdivide and develop the local area. This unfortunately was not a success.
In 1930 the hotel was sold and marketed as an exclusive country club and renamed Ranelagh Country Club after Ranelagh Gardens in London. However, the Great Depression made those plans short lived.
In the build up to World War II the hotel became a WRAAF base, serving as a signals base and a training area for budding pilots. After World War II, the hotel was used as a hospice for returned pilots. When the bar was renovated recently in 2008, there was still hospital linoleum laid on the floorboards, which was not a fun job to remove!
The building sold again in 1947 and became, St Anthony's College, a Franciscan friary and seminary, during this period the hotel was also used as a school and accommodation house run by the monks. It was during this period that the beautiful stained glass windows, rock walls and fountains were built. These are still in the building and around the gardens and grounds.
The Hotel had its own railway platform on the Moss Vale - Unanderra line, which is still used today. On Sundays the Cockatoo Run (3801) Tourist train stops to convey passengers to the Hotel for Sunday lunch.
In 1968 the Monks moved to smaller premises in Campbelltown and the Grand Old Building returned to her intended use as a hotel, named Ranelagh House to match the HR overlaid monograms from the original Hotel Robertson Days, whilst retaining a part of the Ranelagh Country Club Heritage.
Still under investigation, we have learned that the Greek Orthodox Church was gifted Ranelagh House and stayed until 1972. We will update this page as the story unfolds.
The Hotel sold again in late 2007, and was renamed Fountaindale Grand Manor and Ranelagh Gardens. A liquor license was put back in place for the first time after being sold off in 1927.
The Hotel again sold in 2011 and we are still discovering hidden gems throughout this magnificent structure.Fountaindale Grand Manor and Ranelagh Gardens turns 90 in 2014 and looks forward to the next 90 years!