In 1879, Mr Peter Hooper applied for a licenced victualler as he intended building a hotel in the Hundred of Mobilong, to be called Bridgeport Hotel.
Unfortunately it did not meet the requirements.
He tried several times and eventually his licence was granted on 13th March 1884, and he was given six months to complete the building.
Tenders were advertised in April 1884 for the construction of the Bridgeport Hotel – it was opened on 2nd January, 1885.
It was soon discovered the hotel was not large enough to accommodate the many travellers wishing to stay overnight.
In 1910, tenders were called for the addition of nine more rooms on the northern side facing the railway station.
The additions made the main street side uniform with the east side, with a balcony from the front to the rear portion of the premises.
Hotels were allowed to open until 11pm until a referendum in 1915 voted for six o’clock closing.
Under the new Licencing Act, six o’clock closing started in March 1916.
It was standing room only with only one hour to down a few beers that was if you finished work around five o’clock!
Who can remember the six o’clock last minute rush?
South Australia was the last state to end early closing; in 1967 the Licencing Act was once again changed to late night closing.
During this time the Bridgeport Hotel did not undergo many external changes.
The largest change was in the late 70s when all the businesses in Bridge Street had to remove verandah posts to make the street wider.
Cantilever verandahs needed additional support and as this also included a balcony on the hotel a way of hiding thesupports on the Bridgeport Hotel was a new brick structure.
This was built out from the original wall as the hotel was of historical significance, and no removal of stone work was allowed.
What does the future hold for this heritage-listed building?
I am sure with a little planning and understanding of the original Bridgeport Hotel it will remain.
Murray Bridge & District Historical Society Inc.
‘A Community Saving our Past’