The Fitzroy Inn, Mittagong

It was sad circumstances that saw us back in Mittagong for just one night.  An extremely precious friend from our school days passed away very suddenly after his leukaemia returned, almost three years since his bone marrow transplant.

Fitzroy Inn

Fitzroy Inn

Around 30 of his school friends gathered in Mittagong the night before his funeral to share and swap stories and toast the mate whose life was cruelly taken way too soon.

I love an arbour

I love an arbour

Drew and I needed somewhere to stay for just one night and a google search led me to The Fitzroy Inn.  How could I resist the appeal of this stunning example of early Australian history, built in 1836.

Built in 18

Built in 1836

The Fitzroy Inn sits on the edge of the town of Mittagong in a quiet, peaceful and picturesque setting.  Back in 1836, this was the first Inn that not only provided accommodation but also served liquor.  It is also the property that had the very first tennis court built in Australia that today is an all-weather court.

Very peaceful and serene

Very peaceful and serene

Wide verandahs

Wide verandahs with hand cut sandstone floor

There is no doubt the Inn built in the Georgian style was built by convicts.  Down in the basement the original kitchen has been heralded as the finest example of a convict-era built kitchen remaining in Australia.

The original kitchen for the Inn

The original kitchen for the Inn

The original 'oven' and 'kitchen'

The original ‘oven’

The original water-well remains in the kitchen although today there is a safety rail positioned around it.  The well that has been hand-cut into the shale is a truly remarkable work of convict masonry and craftsmanship.

Every Inn needs a well.

Every Inn needs a well.

Today there's a safety rail around the well.

It’s not a swimming pool.

Down in the basement there is also a gaol cell.  It was used to lock up prisoners on their way to Berrima Gaol.  The iron shackles are still in the cell as are the hand-turned iron bars on the door that sealed in the occupants.  Today the gaol cell is a much more happy place as instead of storing prisoners, it now cellars wine.

The original gaol

The original gaol

This is probably where the female convicts were housed.

This is probably where the female convicts were housed.

It's a very extensive basement

It’s a very extensive basement

Emerging from the basement/cellar/gaol, we come into a ‘home’ that has been lovingly and painstakingly restored.  And when I say ‘painstakingly’ I mean during the restoration works in 2003 every sandstone ‘brick’ was removed, treated, and then put back in its original position.  Every inappropriate and unsympathetic ‘renovation’ that had occurred through the history of the property (it was the Fitz Roy Inn from 1836 – 1868, the Oak Grange School from 1871 – 1890’s, and the Oakland’s Guest House from 1920’s – 1960’s), was removed and the original features restored.

Lounge

Lounge

Reading room

Reading room

When you are within the building of the Fitzroy Inn, you can feel the convict history of our Early Settlers.  Evidence is all around from the convict labour that built the Inn, the gaol down in the basement, the low height of the doorways, and the wraparound verandahs designed to keep the Inn warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Lots of original features

Lots of original features

Billiard room

Billiard room

Our accommodation was in the newly-restored school master’s cottage.  We stayed in one of the very generously-sized upstairs rooms with French doors opening onto the landscaped grounds.  The room was warm and peaceful and cosy.

The newer accommodation

The School Master’s Cottage

French doors opening onto a beautiful view

French doors opening onto a beautiful view

King-sized bed

King-sized bed

Ensuite

Ensuite

The latest news for the Fitzroy Hotel is that Geoff Jantz, a well-known Australian chef due to a 20-year TV career, has opened Farm Table, the Inn’s new restaurant.  Geoff lives locally and grows the produce for the restaurant on his own property.  Just that morning his arrival was delayed as he waited for the Autumn sun to warm up the lettuces before harvesting them.

Love the chillies at the entrance

Love the chillies at the entrance

The restaurant is positioned in the original stables of the Inn.  The walls are made of hand cut stone and timber and today they’re decorated in fairy lights and candles.  This is a beautiful and romantic setting for a lunch or dinner.

Entrance to Farm Table

Entrance to Farm Table

Unfortunately we were not able to experience the restaurant due to our tight schedule but Geoff kindly invited us to have a drink with him.  When he asked me what I’d like to drink I said, ‘I was thinking of a white but I think it’s cold enough for red’.  Geoff said, ‘Good choice; at this time of year we’re all drinking red in the Highlands’.  And so hovering close to the fireplace we shared a glass of Pinot.

Having a Pinot with Geoff

Having a Pinot with Geoff

I’m not a winter person but Drew and I are now planning a winter escape to the Southern Highlands so we can enjoy the Fitzroy Inn for a whole lot longer and be there to experience Farm Table.  I said to Geoff, ‘Winter in Sydney is just annoying but winter in the Southern Highlands is magical; we’ll be back’.

Ducks fleeing

Ducks fleeing

Fitzroy Inn:  1 Ferguson Street, Mittagong NSW 2575

Ph:  61 2 4872 3457

The new venture by Geoff Jantz

The new venture by Geoff Jantz

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful discovery under sad circumstances. I hope you get to go back soon and have a lovely weekend reading infant of the fire drinking more red! Liz xxx

  2. It’s a shame that it was such a sad occasion that brought your group together.

    The location is fascinating. I look forward to your future visit and more pics especially when you finally get to visit the restaurant.

  3. Sorry you were visiting for such a sad occasion, Charlie. Hope you are alright. xo

    I had actually already bookmarked The Fitzroy Inn as a place to check out, looks like a it has a cool point of difference and I hear wonderful things about the restaurant.

  4. I am sorry to hear about your friend. The Fitzroy Inn looks like just the place to be under sad circumstances and definitely worth a return visit with more time and a happier context.

  5. I am very sorry to hear about your classmate and friend. The Fitzroy looks serene and warm and friendly and just the place you need to stay. I hope your week stays calm.

  6. Oh dear that is very sad Charlie. Sorry to hear that. The inn looks lovely tho. Lucky you to meet Geoff J!

  7. How sad to be returning under such circumstances – although it looks like you found a very charming place to stay with the prospect of a return in happier times.

  8. Oh I was hoping that you had been to Farm Table. I was interested to hear what it was like. So sorry to hear about your dear friend Charlie, that’s terrible 🙁

  9. sorry to hear you were there for such a sad occasion but it does sound like a place to visit in happier times – I hope you return there and enjoy it with a bit more leisure – and hopefully it will be a nice way to remember your friend as well. Looks like an amazing building

  10. I’m sorry you lost your friend but what a find at the Fitzroy Inn and then meeting Geoff. It’s a beautiful place stuffed full of history. I love it!

  11. Sorry to hear about your friend. Deepest condolences. I’m glad you found this lovely inn though. It definitely looks like it’s worth a trip back. And what a history!

  12. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.

    What a perfect place, though, to seek peace and comfort. Those walls, the history, the restoration…I can understand why you intend to return.

  13. Thanks for the tour of the Fitzroy Inn, such history and such charm. Looking forward to reading about the Farm Table.
    So sorry to learn about your classmate/friend.

  14. I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your treasured classmate. I’m glad you had such lovely accommodations despite the circumstance. xo

  15. I’m sorry to hear about what happened! Hopefully this beautiful Inn gave you a little cheering up!

  16. I love the look of this beautiful, peaceful place, though I am sorry for you for the circumstances that took you there.

  17. I had read somewhere that Geoff had a restaurant in the Southern Highlands would a lovely setting for it and so appropriate!

  18. Any ghosts heard or sighted 🙂 ? More seriously, nice the glass was both half-filled as well as half-empty . . . . and glad to know Geoff J is just half an hour down the road: wondered what had happened to him . . .

  19. So sorry about the loss of your friend Charlie! I love the place you stayed as not only does it have heaps of history, but you never know when you are going to run into a spirited guest or tow!

  20. Sad circumstances that took you to that beautiful inn. It’s gorgeous. The restaurant looks like a good find too and hopefully you get a chance to try it on your next visit. xx

  21. I am sold Charlie. You have made me want to stay there. Not good that it was in such sad circumstances and I am sorry for your loss. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff isn’t it?
    Carolyn

  22. Parts of the inn are so full of history and parts are so new! Definitely an interesting combination of the two.

  23. So sorry to hear about your friend! Sad when someone on the young side dies. But what a wonderful place you stayed! Never knew it before, but I need a well. 😉

  24. I’m try very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Charlie. This past month I’ve had two very unexpected losses and my mind keeps going back to recall the times spent with these dear friends in our younger years. I’m glad that you and Drew could take the time to enjoy such a beautiful Inn at a time when it probably felt really good to have a little time to yourselves. It’s a fabulous piece of history and at the same time offers a graciousness that feels very comfortable. It certainly appeals to me! 🙂

  25. I’m truly sorry about the loss of your dear friend. XOXO I’m so glad you were able to celebrate his memory with so many good people and in such a beautiful setting.

  26. Gorgeous architecture and that’s how I always imagined old buildings in Australia. The well is quite impressive. I love wells, they remind me of another time, which I would have liked to experience. 🙂 Looks like you had a great time Charlie!

  27. I’m sorry to hear your school friend passed away. I hear many sad stories like this this past few weeks (especially they are all parent with small children… so sad). It’s very interesting to learn about some of Australian history. It’s beautiful architectural work and it looks comfortable place to stay!

  28. So sorry to hear about the passing of your friend, Charlie. What a lovely tribute to his life.

    I read with interest that you visited the Fitzroy Inn. Geoff Jansz launched my cooking school back in 1997, and was a regular presenter. Love his food and he is such a great person, too.

  29. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Charlie.
    This looks like such a gorgeous place to stay, though. I remember Geoff from his tv days – I can’t wait to see what you think of his restaurant.

  30. What a sad occassion to take you to Mittagong but what a lovely place to stay – I remember Geoff Janz in his TV heyday. What a great photo. A review of the restaurant would be great.

  31. So sorry about your friend. This place looks like a grand holiday spot and what an amazing history. I’m glad you’re planning to go back for a happier occasion.

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  1. […] the opposite end of the spectrum for mini-vacation experiences was our stay at the Fitzroy Inn in Mittagong.  There we met celebrity chef Geoff Jansz who runs the Inn’s restaurant, Farm Table.  Geoff […]

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