6 Jun

Our History Series: The Eichardt’s Era

Over the three years between 1862 and 1865, The Queen’s Arms Hotel would continue to grow in prominence and elegance, quickly becoming a well-known establishment in Queenstown. However it was still a hastily converted wool shed, and with the rise in workers coming into Queenstown Rees was in much need of funding for the extension of his business.

Albert Eichardt

Born in Prussia in 1829, Albert Eichardt emigrated to Australia where he worked in a quartz mine in Inglewood, Victoria. He then moved to Arrowtown with two of his brothers. They were co-founders of a cordial factory based in Arrowtown, known for making ‘ginger pop’.

Albert and his family were not financially stable but wanting to risk his luck and enter the local gold lottery, he asked a friend to enter for him. Shockingly, Albert won having entered on his behalf his friend insisted that the gold nugget truly belonged to him. After taking him to court, Albert Eichardt won the case and kept the famed gold nugget – which would change his life.

As a regular patron of The Queen’s Arms, Albert was well aware of Ree’s situation and enjoyed spending time in Queenstown with locals and visiting miners alike. With his gold nugget in hand he entered into a business partnership with Rees and agreed to fund the renovations of this monumental building.

From Woolshed to Reputable Business

Under Albert’s supervision, The Queen’s Arm quickly became a travel hub, with regular coach services departing from outside its doors and freight services using the hotel as their booking office. Albert knew that goldfield hotels were sprouting and failing as quickly as each other, and he would need a solid foundation quickly if the business should survive.

In 1867, Eichardt and C.C. Boyes bought the hotel outright and in 1868, Albert Eichardt married Julia Shanahan, the former proprietress of the hotel and dining room manager. By the following year, Eichardt would become the sole proprietor of the hotel.

Under the stewardship of Albert and Julia, the hotel underwent extensive renovations and was renamed “Eichardt’s Private Hotel.” The Eichardts’ commitment to excellence and dedication to providing personalized service quickly earned the hotel a reputation for being a luxurious and exclusive retreat.