The Riverina Hotel was established by Hyam James Phillips in 1851 and was originality called the Hope Inn. The Hope Inn was one of the first five hotels to be licensed in Wagga, and is the oldest building left in the city that is still being used for the purpose it was built.
In 1853 the license was transferred to Widow, Marion Warby. Marion remarried Thomas Byrnes who took over the license until he build the Australian Family Hotel in 1857.
The Inn was purchased by newcomer Thomas Turvey in 1857. However, Turvey's application for license was refused. Records from this period are scarce, but it is clear that by 1861 Turvey was finally granted his license.
The venue saw a change licensee yet again in 1865, when James McKay took over running the business and also renamed it The Bridge Hotel due to it's close proximity to the bridge that joined North and South Wagga. Thomas Turvey remained the owner of the establishment until he died in 1889. The hotel was then passed on to his son George, who owned it for two year before he also passed away late 1890.
The Estate of George Wildman Turvey owned the hotel from 1890 to 1910 when George Mackaway purchased the hotel for $1,100. At this time documentation stated the hotel of brick and wood consisted of a bar, a taproom, a dinning room, 12 bedrooms, stables and 'all necessary out buildings'.
The pub was then owned by Earnest L Clout 1911-1913, Margaret Seymore 1913 - 1920, Robert C Woods (Son-in-law of Margaret Seymore who passed away 1921) and H S Headley 1921 - 1925. Records from this time stated the building was still single story.
In 1925 Tooth's purchased the business and rebuilt the premises with the addition of the two story facade that still stands today. The Hotel's name was also changed to the Riverina Hotel. From then onwards there were numerous publicans. Of note; Joseph Pasco 1926-1928,who after a number of convictions under the licensing act was forced to transfer the license to his brother-in-law, and George 'Power' Andersen 1932 - 1939. George played for Collingwood for 8 years and won a premiership with them.
In 1952 bathroom and toilet additions were added to both floors, and in 1958 the balcony was removed and an awning installed.
In 1977 the hotel is finally sold by Tooth's to Athol J O'Dwyer. The pub changes hands several times more between 1980 and 2014 when the current owners purchase it from Licensee Chris Roche.
THE RIV TODAY
The riv is wagga's oldest hotel still in operation.
Today the pub is a family business run by Joe Walsh. Joe and his family are no strangers to the hotel industry, owning Wagga's Ashmont and Union Club hotels in the 80's as well as pubs in Tumut, Tumbarrumba, Young and Grenfell.
The business was purchased from the former owners in 2014 and since then has been renovated with the addition of a large multi-purpose space, beer garden and VIP room. The pub now also has a new disabled toilet complete with baby change table.