The Kooringal Hotel has changed quite a lot since it first opened in 1967. There were no 3 a.m. closes, beer garden, gambling facilities or children’s playground back then.
The Hotel-Motel was scheduled to open on November 14 but first drinks were not served until a week later due to a strike by brewery workers in Sydney.
Co-owners, Bill Cosier and John Jackson came up with the idea in 1952 while enjoying a quiet beer at the Wagga Boat Club after a day of water-skiing.
Included in the original layout were 3 bars, a combined lounge-dining room, six motel units, a drive through bottle shop and parking for 310 cars.
The motel units and lounge-dining room were air-conditioned and the whole building, with the exception of the sportsman’s bar, was carpeted throughout. Motel tariffs were $6 a single and $10 a double and came complete with television, three way sound system, car washing facilities and shoe shine boxes.
Meals for motel guests, as well as snacks and counter lunches for hotel patrons were prepared in the state of the art kitchen.
Weekly dinner dances were held in the combined lounge-dining room, which included a dance floor and space for a four piece orchestra.
The Windjammer Bar, designed as a mixed lounge, was fitted out in a nautical theme including a yacht’s mast, fishing nets, ship’s wheel, lifebuoy, mariner’s chart, diving helmet and ship’s lantern.
One wall of the Sportsman’s Bar was decorated with show-cases containing photographs and jumpers of local football teams, including the Henwood Park Soccer Club and Kooringal Demons J.A.F.C.
The Tap Bar was decorated with old wooden beer kegs and displayed photographs of Wagga’s earlier hotels, including the Australian, Pastoral and Commercial.
10 o’clock closing time was signalled by several clangs on the ship’s bell located in the Windjammer Bar.