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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


The Oldest Hostelry

Standing at the entrance to Petone is the Grand National Hotel, the oldest licensed house in Petone, and probably the oldest in the Hutt Valley.
When first erected, it was generally known as Valentine's, being erected by Mr. Valentine who was a prominent citizen in the 1870's. The building stands on Maori land.
Later, the hotel was known as the Marine Retreat and during this period, one of the proprietors was Mr. R. Mothes, a son-in-law of Mr. Valentine. Mr. Mothes was afterwards Mayor of Petone.
It has always been known as a "sportsman's" hotel, and for many years provided a cricket pitch at the rear chiefly used by the Koro Koro Club, the members of which were largely drawn from the adjoining railway workshops. In the early days, nearly all public meetings were held at the hotel and many lodges and sporting clubs were born under its roof.
It is now recognised as the rendezvous of Dominion rowing enthusiasts, as many of the most important regatta races in the Dominion have been decided opposite its doors.
The present host is Mr. T. Walsh, who carried forward the traditional popularity of the hotel with sporting men, and there are many organisations in the Valley who are grateful for the assistance given in struggling days by "Tom" Walsh, who is president and vice-president to numerous sporting clubs in the district, and who is always ready to assist any effort for their progress.
Mr. "Tom" and the Grand National, as it is now known, will always have a place in the hearts of Valley sportsmen.

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