Caves House Hotel Yallingup | Take a trip back in time | Photos

The original Caves House Hotel was first completed in 1903, known as the Caves Accommodation House, the development cost the state government £2,729.

Caves House Hotel owner Elizabeth Jilley said the hotel was built after Ngilgi Cave was discovered in 1899, by Edward Dawson and Fred Seymour.

The state government at the time had the foresight to establish tourist accommodation near the cave.

"It was a great tourist attraction," Ms Jilley said.

Visitors to the original Caves House travelled from Perth to Pinjarra by train, then continued their journey to Yallingup by horse and cart.

Visitors would buy a book of coupons that had eight to ten pages of things to do or places to go along the journey.

People could also travel further to Margaret River then return to Yallingup.

"An enterprising gentleman by the name of Mr Bignell had the first horse and carriage, he would bring people to the hotel," Ms Jilley said.

"It was quite a journey and took people overnight.

"Visitors would get their tickets from here or in Perth to go to the caves.

"The hotel had a post office, you would pull up out the front on horse and carriage, then the motor car, buy your tickets and get your accommodation.

"It was the place to come and socialise in the days between the 1920's and 30's."

The hotel was damaged by two fires, the first in 1928, then again in December 1929 which caused extensive damage to the original wing and front facade overlooking the gardens.

While there were delays in rebuilding the hotel, it continued to operate and was completed on December 31, 1938 at a cost of £20,721, paid for by the state government.

"The same building company which built the first hotel, rebuilt the second one," Ms Jilley said.

"The new building only took 10 months to complete, which is amazing when you think with today's modern technology the average house takes six months or longer."

Caves House was popular with honeymooners from 1939 until 1950, at its peak, 13 newlyweds stayed at the hotel at the one time.

"It was the place to come, when there were several couples staying at the same time they would take group photos," Ms Jilley said.

The hotel's most famous honeymooners were Bob and Hazel Hawke after they wed in 1956.

In its heyday, Ms Jilley said the hotel had 60 rooms for accommodation and 80 beds on the verandahs.

The original gardens were scrubby bushes, before a local person helped clean up the grounds and manicured them.

The Jilley's have spent the past four years restoring the hotel and have refurbished old furniture sourced from nearby places such as an old bookshelf from the CWA.

"I look back at this stuff very fondly," Ms Jilley said.

"I was a publican's daughter, my father owned many pubs, one of them was the Highway Hotel in Bunbury which was the same era as Caves House."

Historical photos of Caves House are hung on the walls throughout the hotel.

If you have any memories or photos of Caves House from years gone by that you would like to share, please email editorial@busseltonmail.com.au.

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