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History

A BRIEF HISTORY OF NELSONS OF BRIDGETOWN

The main building was built in the 1890's and was used by various owners as a hotel between 1899 and 1904. These include J.S Warner, hence the original name Warner Hotel. It was known that Mr Crawford was the licensee of the the Freemasons Hotel (1905) and it can be assumed he took the Warner Licence to the Freemasons.

The building has had numerous owners and occupiers and for a period of time was left unoccupied. The building has been a private house, an Italian intern's camp during the war, a coffee shop, deli, a doctors surgery (Dr H.E.H. Ferguson and Dr Williams) and a dental surgery. Mrs Jesse Brierley owned the building for forty years and in 1973 built the motel rooms at the rear (Phillips Street Side).

At the end of 1988, the Bridgetown Motel was bought by Graham Donovan who soon became affectionatley know as Basil (Faulty Towers). He quickly developed Nelsons Dining Room, which became famous for its fine food, fun and friendly service.  Basil hosted many Christmas in July, Murder Mysteries and Faulty Tower weekends at Nelsons, for which the motel is now quite known.

Basil's vision did not stop there, in the mid 90's he purchased the next door property and turned an eye sore in our main street  into the beautiful, deluxe executive spa units, cottage gardens and function centre, which we enjoy today, the finest motel facilities for miles around.

The Motel and Nelsons Restaurant have been recognized by a string of awards over the years, receiving national recognition for the accommodation in the Sir David Brand Awards for Tourisim several times between 1992 and 2000.

In 2000 Bridgetown was the 8th town in Western Australia to be listed by the National Trust and granted historic town status.

The first explorer into the area was Thomas Turner, an Auguster settler, who traced the Blackwood River up stream to the Authur River in 1834. He was followed a decade later by suveyor A.C. Gregory who first explored the area in 1845 and returned to carry out a survey in 1852.

Between 1872 and 1879 the population grew steadily, if somewhat slowley, as evidenced by the following facts gleaned from the newspaper of the time. In 1879 the area had no doctor or justice of the peace, there were only twenty householders, but mention was made of several stores, public houses and other establishments.

The district was referred to by various names as gleaned from early writings i.e. Blackwood, Geegiup, Geegelup, Geegeelup and Geegerlup. However it was apparently Mr John Allnutt who suggested the name Bridgetown in 1865.