John J. Huntly appears to have been the only licensee of the Royal Oak Hotel, built in 1858. He was a Councillor of the Municipality of Belfast at the time and later became the
Secretary of the newly formed Minhamite Shire in 1872.
By 1861 D. Smith appears as the licensee of the now named Commercial Hotel.
In 1877 it was offered for sale—the building described as “Built of bluestone with slate roof, having a frontage to Bank street of 106 feet, 6 inches. Accommodation consists of twelve bedrooms, eight sitting rooms, bathroom, bar and cellar and detached kitchen also of bluestones, with outside offices.
Around this time beside its usual business the hotel had various rooms for visiting doctors and a dentist. Dr. Berncastle, who was associated with the Sydney Eye Infirmary, performed several operations there on those suffering from cataracts.
It was the meeting place for the Port Fairy Freemasons, before their Lodge was built in James street, and all the local sporting clubs, at one time or another.
The sign on the hotel states "Fitzgerald's Commercial Hotel" more research is being undertaken as to this owner or lessee.
The veranda was added in 1900.
The name Royal Oak was restored this century, but the name Commercial Hotel can still be seen in the leadlight window over the front entrance. The hotel has now been transformed into apartments and a restaurant called the Oak and Anchor
Image of the hotel at an earlier time
Black and white photograph of Two story bluestone painted commercial hotel with large verandah car at kerb