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History of the Rock


In 1863 the first building was constructed by Lachlan Kerr Grant. Known as The Shamrock Hotel it was a wooden building "good and ample accommodation in all respects is here provided". There were a range of owners and tenants including a bootmaker, a groom and a blacksmith.


In July 1877 a fire swept through the building. Their was some doubt as to how the fire started as many of the townsfolk were at a ploughing match. The licence and title of  The Caledonian Hotel was transferred to the building in October.

The Caledonian was owned and operated by Morgan Hayes from 1880 to 1889. Morgan lost his leg when the gig he was driving rolled over and after that used a large cumbersome wooden leg, complete with hinges at the knee and ankle and large leather straps.

In May 1883 the most destructive fire in Riverton started in the stables at the back of the Caledonian Hotel. The fire was discovered by the "corporation lamp lighter, who was going his rounds extinguishing the lamps shortly after one o'clock in the morning....". The railway engine cleaner attempted to raise the general alarm but "unfortunately there was not sufficient steam in the engine to sound the whistle.."


Despite all attempts "this extensive range of closely packed two-story buildings.." were doomed. The fire was so intense that buildings on the other side of Palmerston St. were threatened. The Great Western Hotel "was draped with wet blankets and plentifully deluged with water, which had the desired effect." All told eleven buildings were destroyed.


In March 1901 the hotel was taken over by Frederick Roe and the name was changed to The Wallace County Hotel.
At this stage it had 14 rooms. Frederick Roe ran the Hotel  through to his death in 1917. His wife Fanny then took over the hotel  until 1929.1929
The Wallace County Hotel was bought by James Speight & Co. Ltd.

Management of the Hotel was taken over by Charles and Mary De Clifford in 1933. The bar "was a shining place all the woodwork and brass were all highly polished and gleaming.
The barrels were rolled in under the bar...". With her husbands death in 1938 and the outbreak of the second World War Mary had to get a special licence to run the Hotel. During this time guest included jockey's who stabled their best horses in the yard at the back, teachers and commercial travellers.


The licence was suspended in June 1952 and the RSA purchased the building for 2000 pounds.
Billiard tables were set up in the front room, a ladies room in the lounge and upstairs was converted in to a social hall.
The first of many social occasions was the Easter dance, followed by the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June.

The Building was purchased by Evan and Jane Bloomfield in early 1995. It was completely refurbished including upgrading for fire and earthquake. It was opened in May 1995 as The Riverton Rock, managed by Alan McLeod, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Hanna.

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