The History of the Palace Hotel Broken Hill

The Palace Hotel, 1925

The building was erected as a coffee palace in 1889 at a cost of £12, 190 pounds. The Temperance Movement (a group that believes in non-licensed venues for the community) commissioned the build; They had a vision of a place for fine dining and coffee. Setting it apart from the licensed hotels that were abundant in broken hill.

The architect was Alfred Dunn from Melbourne; he had successfully won a competition to design the hotel. The build was unprofitable as a coffee palace and ultimately became a licensed hotel in 1892.

The Murals

Mario painted a copy of Botticelli's Venus on the ceiling; he offered £1000 for anyone who could match his painting in the blank area next to his painting.

An Indigenous artist from Port Augusta by the name of Gordon Waye came into the hotel. Mario asked him to paint a wall in the front bar, which Gordon painted in 8hrs. Over a period of years, Gordon painted all the other murals mostly in a landscape theme.

The only stipulation was that scenes contain a water feature so that the hotel would feel like an oasis in the outback. 
The blank area is still not painted on the ceiling of the foyer. All the hand stencilled wallpaper is Mario's work.

The Spiritual Home of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

The Palace Hotel Broken Hill was used as a stop-over for the characters in the 1994 Australian iconic movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert. 

Many favourite scenes from the movie were filmed in and around Broken Hill and throughout various locations within the Palace Hotel. You can put yourself right in the scene of the film and stay in the 'Priscilla Suite', the room where the characters of the movie stayed.



The owners recognised the potential of the building in both an investment capacity and its historical significance. The current owners are passionate about the Palace, and therefore are mindful in restoring it to its former glory.

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