1876 (Fairfax)

Designed by architect Alexander Dean and built by John Fairfax and his son Sir James as a Mountain retreat for the Fairfax Family called ‘Manor House’. John, the founder of the Sydney Morning Herald, was responsible for bringing the first steam press for newspapers into Australia.

Sadly, a year later in 1877, John passed away and left his half of the building to Anne, the widow of his other son Charles. A year on from that, she sold to Sir James making him the sole owner.

The house was originally two adjoining residences. In 1882 it was described as “two mountain villas with ornamental grounds and paddock a few yards from Mount Victoria Railway Station.” This year the Fairfax family, instead of selling, decided to rent out the property.

The first tenant was George William Atkin who provided a place for accommodation and transport to the Jenolan Caves. He left in 1885 and the second tenant was Jessie Mary Ennis who ran the property as a boarding house, however in 1886 she was injured in a serious railway accident and moved back to Sydney.

For the next year, the Wilkins family ran it as a boarding school for girls and in 1887 the House was sold.

1887 (Cooper)

The Cooper family bought Manor House from the Fairfax Family and owned it for the next 80 years. George and his wife Margaret had a son and three daughters. George was in a partnership with George Wilson and had a building and contracting firm ‘Copper and Wilson’.

By 1890, George had made some major additions to the house. Here is a newspaper article from January 1890, describing some of the additions:

“The Manor House has passed into the hands of Mr. G. H. Cooper who, by the expenditure of nearly two thousand pounds devoted to its enlargement and the making of several extensive additions, has converted it into one of the most comfortable and convenient boarding-houses to be met with on the mountains. The grounds, which are exceedingly spacious, containing seven acres of land, are planted with shade trees, and the whole estate bears evidence of the taste which has been expended upon its adornment.

In addition to the original houses, which were built with every regard to comfort, Mr. Cooper has lately added a large brick building containing twenty-six bedrooms, and four double rooms, all large, lofty, and splendidly ventilated.

A billiard - room and large dining - rooms are contained in a house adjoining in fact, the whole establishment is comprised of a series of buildings which occupy the crest of the ridge, which affords an extensive view of the Valley of the Grose and the Mount Victoria coal mines. At least one hundred people can now be accommodated at Mr. Cooper's establishment.

From the veranda of the Manor House one overlooks the buildings of the township, the railway station, and a vast stretch of undulating country, broken by many hollows, which is one of the chief characteristics of mountain scenery, each succeeding ridge being bluer or more purple than the last, until the picture sinks away into a distance which mingles with the sky.”

By 1898, Cooper made further alterations including the tower. The name was now changed to ‘The Grand Hotel”, later to be known as ‘Cooper’s Grand Hotel’.

By 1905, aside from accommodation, the Cooper’s provided a horse drawn coach service to the Jenolan Caves. George died in 1919 and Margaret continued to run the hotel with the help of her daughter Alice.
In 1930 the Coopers sold the Hotel to John Twinn but 2 years later, Alice bought it back. Alice operated the hotel until her death in 1950. She left the hotel to her daughter, Florence.

1950 Onwards

The building then sold to the Logos Foundation who named it “Westwood Lodge.”

In 1988 The Patterson Family purchased the hotel, and the name was changed to “The Grand”.

In 1991, the Lenton Family bought the property, and the name was changed to ‘The Blue Mountains Manor House”.

2015 saw another name change with the Hotel being sold to Denise and Gary Wilson who renamed it “The Mount Victoria Manor”.

And today, since 2020, we have Hotel Etico!

Fun Facts:

The original Monogram that was put there by the Fairfax’s is still on the front door.
The daughter of George and Margaret Cooper, Emily, had her wedding reception here in 1908. Emily was also a famous Soprano at the time!


Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Victoria_Manor

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