Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 40, September 1996
The Rob Roy Hotel, Waihi, celebrated 100 years of trading in 1996. The centenary was marked with a display of Rob Roy memorabilia at the Waihi Museum.
The hotel building, on the outside, is basically the same as when it was built in 1896 but the inside was'modernised' some years ago. The Rob Roy was not the first hotel in Waihi, that honour goes to Tanner's which was situated on the site now occupied by the Commercial Hotel. An Hikutaia hotel had also been relocated at the top of the main street as the Sterling. The next was the Golden Cross.
The Rob Roy was built for Mr John Flett from Parawai, Thames, who then transferred his licence and the name to his new Waihi hotel. By birth Mr Flett was a Highlander, from the Orkney Islands. The Rob Roy was a grand establishment and the 1900 Cyclopedia states the Rob Roy Hotel had 60 rooms (this number is thought to be incorrect), could seat 100 in the dining room and had stabling for 12 horses. The Rob Roy had a board walk along the front and benches to sit on.
After the area became 'dry' the Rob Roy became a boarding house operated by Mr and Mrs Kelly and later by a Mrs Young. A number of shops and a billiard room were installed where the bars had been. The Weedon family took over in 1921, six months after their arrival from England. At this time the hotel had 32 rooms, mostly single, plus the lounge, commercial rooms, kitchens etc. The bedrooms were lit by candles and the main rooms by gas. The guest rooms were furnished with a bed, wardrobe and dressing table. When the Weedons took over there were 20 permanent boarders, mainly teachers and bank workers, who paid 32/6 per week. The other rooms were let mostly to commercial travellers who paid 12/6 per day for full board or 9/- for dinner, bed and breakfast. The toilets at that time were of the "can" variety and there was only one bathroom for men and one for ladies.
When licences were restored in 1926 the bars were rebuilt after the shops were vacated and the Rob Roy was the first Waihi hotel to recommence bar sales. There was no furniture in the public bar and the wooden floor was hosed each night.
Mr Weedon died in 1933 and the hotel continued to be operated by his son Jack until it was sold in 1936 to Mr Lees. In the 1940s it was sold to the brewery. The present publicans, Paddy and Brian Smith have run the hotel since 1981.