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IN PROGRESS: The Club Motel, on the corner of Morgan and Fitzhardinge streets nears completion. Picture: Contributed

At the Archives

Paul O’Donnell

THE increased affordability and availability of motor vehicles following World War II led to the introduction of American style motels to cater for the new motor vehicle traveller.

Previously, the accommodation needs of visitors were adequately served by hotels and boarding houses.

But the expectations of tourists were changing.

Wagga’s first motel, located in Morgan Street and overlooking the Olympic swimming pool, opened on December 1, 1955.

The Club Motel, constructed by HC Buckman and Sons at a cost of £55,000, consisted of 35 units and provided accommodation for 55 guests.

The U-shaped building was single storey, except for a short section joining the two main wings which was double storeyed and included three family suites.

While the majority of the central courtyard was designated as car parking, sections were laid out with patios, gardens and lawn.

Each unit was entirely self-contained and included its own shower recess, wash basin and toilet, a vast improvement on the communal bathrooms offered by the hotels. Additional features included a radio, portable gas fire and fan.

The author of an article published in The Daily Advertiser, thought that “a decidedly useful piece of equipment, that will be appreciated on Wagga’s hot days, is the latest in ice making machines”.

Individual colour schemes were used in each unit, meaning that no two rooms were alike.

Another improvement on hotel accommodation was the introduction of the breakfast tray.

Guests could have their meals delivered to their room as early as 6.15am instead of waiting for the breakfast bar to open.

Evening meals were also served at the bar, along with hot and cold drinks, cigarettes and confectionery.

The original manager of the Club Motel, Mrs Else Hill, undertook a study tour of American motels prior to the motel’s completion.

The people of Wagga were very keen to inspect the new complex, with more than 2000 people passing through the doors during public viewings.