The Federal Hotel Nimmitabel continues in living history as its founder stated as the “Heart of the Monaro”. Constructed during the 1889 spring and summer the hotel was opened before winter 1890 as Moran’s Federal Hotel. The site had been utilized for a decade by its owner Thomas Moran as an important carriage stop in the postal, freight and passenger route he had sole concession from Goulburn through Queanbeyan to Cooma and Nimmitabel thence to Bombala, Bega and Eden. Encouraging others to find a track down Brown Mountain he determined the route across the Bemboka River (still called Moran’s Crossing today) which gave him a direct line to Bega, Kameruka Estate and more. He constructed a small wooden Federal Hotel in Bemboka (no longer standing), then today’s Federal Hotel in Nimmitabel and finally another Federal Hotel in Bombala to cater for passenger accommodation. Needless to say he was a fervent republican and supporter of the federation of all Australian colonies. Moran was reputedly a tough and quick tempered man working his horses hard and staff long hours. There were rumours of a lost fortune!

The original building stands today as a working hotel under continual renovation comprising some 35 rooms in total. Despite surviving some 5 serious fires the building is very much intact due to the extensive use of local hardwood timbers hand cut and laid in the original construction, as well as quick action by neighbours! The pitched gable peak when combined with the high ceilings total some 4 stories in conventional building height with much tongue & groove joins without nails utilized throughout. The long building to the north were the 3 carriage bays and workshop, with a massive stable and hayloft complex as big as the hotel behind (now just single level stables).

The Federal Hotel has seen many owners/managers over the years being a rallying point on The Men From The Snowy River March of 1915, the workmen’s drinking pub of the timber mill and railways, politician’s shelter seeking a new national capital as well as production accommodation for filming of “The Sundowners” motion picture in 1959. During 1956-80 it was called the Tudor Inn by the Payten family, the Nimmitabel Hotel for a short time in 1990s to its restoration as The Federal Hotel today.

As a central part of the Nimmitabel and regional Monaro community the Federal Hotel has been the site of births, deaths as well as many celebrations and events. Many entertainers and celebrities have performed, rested or had a meal here over the years. Its appearance has changed in various shades of paint with internal structure and decoration reflecting different tastes in time. Like its creator this small regional country pub has its special place in history and we are proud to restore its dignity.

Click here to join the Federal Hotel mailing list.