The pub with no beer

COLLECTING STORIES: Gathering stories about The Winsome building are (l-r) Anita Loneragan from SCU, Mieke Bell from The Winsome, Grayson Cooke and Zoe Robinson-Kennedy from SCU.
COLLECTING STORIES: Gathering stories about The Winsome building are (l-r) Anita Loneragan from SCU, Mieke Bell from The Winsome, Grayson Cooke and Zoe Robinson-Kennedy from SCU.

SCU and NORPA are rediscovering an iconic building in Lismore through a joint project called Stories from the Winsome Hotel.

The idea is to record and acknowledge the different roles played by the building for different groups of Lismore's community.

The final outcome of this phase will be a show based on the results of the research.

Grayson Cooke, course coordinator at SCU's Bachelor of Media, and associate professor Rebecca Coyle, head the research. Honours student Zoë Robinson-Kennedy is the project coordinator, working with Online Media students Anita Loneragan, Kate Brown and Kira Zelandonii.

The team is interviewing a number of Lismore locals to discover the past and present importance of the Winsome within the community.

Musicians, representatives from the gay and lesbian community, charity workers, historians and neighbours have or will be contacted in the coming weeks.

Mr Cooke asked people with personal stories or historical records of significance relating to the building to phone him on 6620 3839.

The team is also contactable via their Facebook page: Stories from the Winsome Hotel.

"We are asking questions of belonging, about the cultural, social and historical importance of the site for Lismore," Mr Cooke said.

NORPA's general manager, Emily Berry, explained the research is part of The Home project, a three-year joint venture between NORPA and SCU to generate content using local artists.

In October there will be a visual presentation of the information gathered and NORPA is hoping to use some of it for a theatrical production at some stage in the future.

"The key is about home and what this iconic landmark means to many people in the community. We're tying to handle this subject very respectfully and embracing the Winsome as an icon," Mrs Berry said.

The building was bought in 2009 by The Winsome (formerly the Lismore Soup Kitchen), a private enterprise that provides affordable meals to up to 60 people daily. The service also offers crisis accommodation to up to 18 people every day.

Mieke Bell, president of the organisation, said 30 volunteers help in the activities, which "do not provide just soup, but a complete meal for those who need it".

Mrs Bell said four different choirs meet regularly in the building to rehearse, which maintains the status of the hotel as a music hub.

The Winsome is open to the public for dining and live music on a Saturday night, once every two months.

The many reincarnationsof The Winsome Hotel

1882: The North Lismore Hotel is bought on February 4.

1884: Fawcett's Bridge is built over Wilsons Creek and Alexander Brown purchased the 'goodwill' (i.e. the licence) of the North Lismore Hotel.

1884-1888: The hotel undergoes renovations and re-opens as the Junction Hotel on February 25, 1888.

The Junction burnt to the ground in 1894.

On August 13, 1925 a new hotel named the Winsome Hotel was opened at the old Junction Hotel site.

1980: The Winsome Hotel is included on the National Trust Register and officially designated as a 1925 building.

1990s: The hotel passes through many hands and gains notoriety amongst the Lismore and Northern Rivers community as a venue for the music scene. It was also a gay and lesbian friendly venue.

2005-2006: Dallas Bayly reopens the hotel on September 30, 2006 with its current look.

2009: The Winsome Hotel is bought by the Lismore Soup Kitchen and started to provide low cost meals and accommodation for those seeking pathways out of homelessness.

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