The hotel is one of the few remaining roadside inns that were on The Great Western Highway between Sydney and Bathurst, as well as being one of the last remaining buildings of the Prospect Village. The families associated with the Inn played an important part in the history of Prospect.
The land the hotel stands on was part of the 2000-acre grant made to Robert Lethbridge, which he called ‘Flushcombe’. James Manning bought part of the estate in 1877 and was issued with a publican’s licence on 16 September 1880 for the Royal Cricketer’s Arms. In 1881, in partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas Neeve, Manning opened the Flushcombe Stores in a timber extension that had been added to the side of the hotel. The business was advertised as ‘Manning and Neave, General Storekeepers, Wholesale and Retail Family Butchers’. Manning built a racetrack and cricket pitch next to the hotel, providing sporting facilities for the people of Prospect. During this time the nearby Prospect Reservoir was under construction, which brought many construction workers to the area. When the reservoir was completed in 1888, business declined and Manning subdivided much of his land and entered into mortgages. The Permanent Trustee Company was appointed as trustee for the property in 1892. The hotel continued to operate, with Sarah Roche being granted the publican’s licence in 1895 and 1899. In 1913 E. F. Cooney, who was Manning’s son-in-law, bought the property and operated a dairy farm, with his daughters running a tearoom in the former hotel. Cooney sold the property in 1937; it again changed hands in 1939 and 1941, when sold to Ivan Posa and Ivan Segedin. Posa gained control of the whole property in 1942 and operated a market garden, using the hotel as a residence, until he sold out to the Great Western Drive-in Theatre Pty Ltd in 1963. This company built a drive in theatre on most of the land, using the hotel as a caretaker’s residence until 1989, when the Minister for the Department of Planning placed a Permanent Conservation Order on the property and bought the 2.3-hectare site covered by the order. The building was left vacant and was vandalised until it was secured and fenced in1990. Conservation work was done in 1992 and the property was advertised for lease, with the lessee to be responsible for conserving and upgrading the interior. James Kellie was awarded the lease and reopened The Royal Cricketers Arms in1994, after spending $300,000 on internal restoration.
This building is of Victorian Georgian design, being a two storey brick and timber building set on an uncoursed random rubble stone foundation wall on a sloping site. Access to the excavated cellar under the main bar is from the rear of the building. The ground floor building is made from face brick that has been rendered. The upper level is constructed within the roof space, with timber framing and lining boards to walls, floor and ceiling. Features of the corrugated iron clad roof are a projecting gable and dormer window. www.royalcricketersarms.com.au