Garibaldi, built by John Cuneo

The Garibaldi Inn has been listed by the National Trust of Australia.

Heritage Council of NSW says:

‘The Garibaldi was built by John Cuneo from Genoa, Italy during the 1860’s. Hunter’s Hill Rate Assessment Books indicate that it was unfinished in 1861, substantially completed by 1869 and that Cuneo continued to add rooms until 1881 when it was described as a ’16 room hotel’. The attic rooms were once used to house Italian stonemasons who were connstructing buildings and residences in the area.

John Cuneo was one of the indentured stone masons brought out to New South Wales to build fine stone houses in the Hunters Hill area district by Count de Milhau and the Jobert Brothers. Cuneo also imported statues from Italy through his marble business until 1861.

The building is named The Garibaldi Inn in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) a compatriot, military leader and hero of the people who fought for the liberation and unification of Italy. The Garibaldi also features a statue of a woman cupbearer in the niche above the door.

The Garibaldi Inn was run as a hotel until 1911 and until the 1880s Cuneo’s Recreation Ground was on the opposite corner.

In the New South Wales State election of 1910, during an era of temperance fervour, a local option vote was taken on the question of reducing the number of hotels and Hunter’s Hill (in the district of Lane Cove) voted for a reduction. This may relate to the fact that The Garibaldi ceased to be a hotel after 1911.

By 1912 the building began to be rented as a shop by Mrs Nelly Rehm (confectioner) and continued as such under various tenants. Relative minor alterations were made to the building in 1911/12 when it was converted from an Inn to use as a shop.

The Tanianes who were there from 1934 to 1976 and they bought the building from the Cuneo family in 1949. A fruit and vegetable shop was run from where the bar had been by Mr Peter and Miss Mary Taniane.

The building gradually fell into neglect and in 1971 Amoco made a bid for the site with the intention of demolishing the building for a service station. At this time the conservation movement in Australia was well under way and the Hunter’s Hill people were able to prevent the demolition of The Garibaldi. In 1973 the original statue of a woman cupbearer was stolen.

Following a community nomination a Permanent Conervation Order was placed over the building on 16 October 1981.

From the Tanianes, The Garibaldi passed to a succession of owners in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Attempts were made at the time to return the building to some kind of soical purpose as in the days of John Cuneo. There were applications to develop it as a restaurant and then as an Inn. These applications were refused to due to the local community outcry.

In 1983 The Garibaldi was bought by Barry Webb & Associates, a firm of consulting engineers for use as offices.’