Our historic ‘Old Stables’ Studios

Heritage listed, the Sportsman’s Arms Hotel Stables dates back to 1868 and is preserved in close to its working condition. It is our duty and privilege to treat it with respect and care. We hold meetings, tutorials and workshops in the hayloft. Downstairs, the old horse-stalls create work spaces for pottery, sculpture and other ‘heavy’ crafts. On fine days, the tall double doors open up almost the entire south wall for light and fresh air: delightful conditions for creative work and play!

Due to Heritage stipulations, we regret that there is no disabled access to the main upstairs area of the stables. Some events may utilize the downstairs area.

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Our heritage workshops

A history of the Sportsman’s Arms Hotel Stables

In 1868 a hotel named the Sportsman’s Arms opened on the corner of Sutton Avenue and Commercial Street West at Rosaville, a small settlement about a mile from the township of Mount Gambier

Formerly the store of George Beattie, the hotel conversion was at first refused a license until sufficient stabling was built for the owner and mine host, Frederick Van Damme.

The ‘Stables’ became a hive of activity when the Smith’s forge was working and local Jockeys and Hunters were discussing the prospects of the nearby ‘Cave Paddock’ Race meetings which were held diagonally opposite the hotel.

In 1919, after 50 years of trading and 13 successive licensees, the Sportsman’s Arms lost it license, and during 1920 the building was demolished. For several decades the stables continued to function but by 1990 were about to meet the same fate.

In 1991 the Mount Gambier Heritage Society, aware of the possibility the old stables may be demolished, negotiated for their retention and were eventually able to secure a lease of the property with the owners, the South Australian Housing Trust.

Restoration work was assisted by Government sponsored programs such as the Landcare Environment Action Program (LEAP) and Correctional Services Community Services Program. The restoration project was completed in 1994.

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Cathleen Edkins at her easel

Special acknowledgement to renowned Mount Gambier artist and early member, Miss Cathleen Edkins, whose painting of the Stables was auctioned as a fundraiser and provided considerable financial resources for the Mount Gambier Heritage Society to complete the project.

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A Cathleen Edkins painting depicting a 19th century stable scene

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