Stuart Arms Hotel

The Stuart Arms Hotel was the first hotel in Alice Springs (which was originally called Stuart) and it was located on the corner of Parsons and Todd Street, it was centre of social life for 96 years.

Stuart Arms Hotel
Stuart Arms Hotel.jpg
The Stuart Arms Hotel, 1924
Stuart Arms Hotel is located in Northern Territory
Stuart Arms Hotel
Location within Northern Territory
General information
LocationTodd Street, Alice Springs
Coordinates23°41′56″S 133°52′59″E / 23.698800°S 133.883114°E / -23.698800; 133.883114Coordinates: 23°41′56″S 133°52′59″E / 23.698800°S 133.883114°E / -23.698800; 133.883114
ManagementWilliam Benstead


The Stuart Arms Hotel was established by pioneer pastoralist William Benstead, who received his publican's license in 1888. It was initially intended to be named the "Great Northern Hotel"; when the date and nature of the name change is not known. Benstead purchased lot 78 and 79 of the just gazetted town of Stuart on 9 April 1889.[1] The hotel was erected on lot 78, "a modest structure of stone and iron, about the size of an average house".[2] This is now the site of Alice Plaza.

Benstead left town shortly after in 1892, leasing the pub to Thomas Gunter under a five-year lease. He was the lessee until 1900. Charles Rutherford South then held the pub's license until 1907. During this period, Benstead, who still owned the pub, foreclosed in 1902. It was then sold to William Garnet South in 1903.

In 1914 "The Bungalow" was built at the rear of the hotel, sharing the lot, where Topsy Smith and Mariah McDonald, cared for "halfe-caste" children in a galvanised iron shed that Robert Stott had built; 16 children were living there by November 1914.[3] Living conditions at "The Bungalow" were less than ideal and food could be limited so the children would often look for scraps at the hotel.[3] They remained in the hotels 'backyard' until 1928 when they were moved out to Jay Creek.[4]

It was where Alice Springs' first barmaid Mona Minahan began work in 1931.

It was demolished over the 11 and 12 January 1986. Another hotel was established under the same name, but not on the same site.[1]


  1. ^ a b Strong, B. W. (1998). The Stuart Arms Hotel : " ... the worst hotel in the world ". Alice Springs, N.T.: B.W. Strong. ISBN 0958554609. OCLC 39442608.
  2. ^ Blackwell, Doris. (2008). Alice on the line : the overland telegraph, one family's story. Lockwood, Douglas, 1918-1980. (New ed.). Chatswood, N.S.W.: New Holland Publishers. ISBN 9781741108033. OCLC 278188157.
  3. ^ a b Traynor, Stuart (2016). Alice Springs : from singing wire to iconic outback town. Mile End, South Australia. ISBN 9781743054499. OCLC 958933012.
  4. ^ "The Bungalow". Find and Connect. 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.