The Playford Club Hotel is an excellent example of vernacular hotel architecture in the Northern Territory late last century, using modest materials and a layout which separated the liquor service areas from accommodation areas (Criterion D.2).
Dating from 1889, the hotel buildings are among the oldest in Pine Creek, and illustrate the evolution of commercial services on the Top End gold fields communities. The pub was the first hotel in the area to be more than a modest shanty, demonstrating the commercial confidence in Pine Creek following the arrival of the North Australia Railway (Criterion A.4)(Theme 3.21, Lodging people).
The site has close associations with the Dowling family, for a long period the Top End's most prominent hoteliers (Criterion H.1).
Located on a corner of Pine Creek's main street, the hotel is a major streetscape feature in the town (Criterion E.1).
It is possible that Indigenous cultural values of National Estate significance may exist at this place. As yet these have not been identified, documented or assessed by the Australian Heritage Commission.
The hotel consists of four extant buildings.
The main structure is timber framed and clad with corrugated iron and consists of five main rooms including bar, parlour, living area, two other rooms, and passageway. Internal walls are also clad with corrugated iron and sometimes are of only partition height.
The roof is hipped.
Two detached accommodation wings and a bathroom stand at the south eastern edge of the allotment.
The accommodation wings too are clad with iron and the roofs are gabled.
A floor slab may mark the site of a former buggy shed. Remnants of a well and windmill are located near the Baxter Terrace frontage.
The hotel was one of the first structures built after the formal survey and opening of the town of Playford (Pine Creek) after the railway arrived in 1889 (although a settlement had existed in the area since 1872). The hotel opened on 5 October 1889 and it was then one of the most substantial hotels in the Northern Territory. Various owners operated the hotel business until 1915 when the pub was one of five in the Top End which were nationalised and operated for six years under government control. The Dowling family acquired the hotel in 1929 and operated it until 1957 when the license was transferred to their newly erected hotel in Pine Creek.
The Dowlings were for a lengthy period the Territory's most prominent hoteliers.
SIGNIFICANT ASSOCIATIONS; SIGNIFICANT DATES
Dowling family, 1889.