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Last Updated on September 17, 2021

The many views of the Rainbow Commonwealth Hotel which was demolished around 1959.

No it didn't burn down! This myth continues to this very day. We debunk it right here.

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Please share this story with your family and friends so that they can read about the Rainbow Township, its history,  and what it has to offer tourists. 

Thank you very much, Don...

Click on any image below to see it in full size.

Image 1 - From the roof of the Mecca theatre.


This image appears to be taken from the roof of the Mecca theatre, which was completed in 1936. The cars in the street are pre-1940s. Robert Long placed a date of 1935 on the image.


Image 2 - From the verandah of the Commonwealth.


A nice view from the verandah of the Commonwealth (top) pub. Early Holden Ute either an FX or FJ (1948-1956) in front of Mark's shop.

Can only guess the year is between 1948 (Holden) and 1959-60 when the hotel was dismantled.


Image 3 - RAINBOW OF TO-DAY. 1910 Page 40 and 41

This image lacks a lot of detail, so colorisation was nearly impossible. Would love to see a better image or a scanned copy.

Was featured as Image 1, RAINBOW OF TO-DAY. 1910 Page 40 and 41
Mr. Phil. Ryan's handsome and splendidly appointed Hotel, " The Commonwealth," Rainbow.


Image 4 - An almost good image.

Commonwealth Hotel (top pub). You can see the top verandah of the National bank halfway down federal St. T-Model Ford light truck outside the pub. Circa 1915-1920 I would think.


Image 5 - I'll bet this was an Anzac day parade.

The 25th of April was officially named Anzac Day in 1916. I'll bet this was an Anzac day parade after the war. See the mounted Aussie soldier? (Australian Light Horse Brigade) Most towns started Anzac parades in the 1920s. The Australian flag is flying on the Commonwealth Hotel.

Reference Mal Drendel Video Thread: 
Rainbow Victoria.... 1- Parade Main st. Rainbow 1925


Image 6 - Parade small and blurry.

Image small and blurry, but at least it managed to convert to a reasonable level.
Original photo scan would be great.


Image 7 - Taken right from the corner.

At least it managed to convert to a reasonable level.
Original photo scan would be great.


Image 8 - Showing the top pub as a single story.

Image small and blurry, but at least it managed to convert to a reasonable level.
Original photo scan would be great.

Showing the top pub as a single story before it was rebuilt as a double story. Railway station is in the background.


Image 9 - Poor quality, but significant material.


A view from the Railway yards to the Commonwealth Hotel. Not a good print, but as the view is very rare, I colourised it. Lifted from a copy of Rainbow Of Today.


Image 10 - Could be a great image, if I can find a scan.


Commonwealth Hotel 1920s.


Image 11 - The stables of the Commonwealth Hotel. 

A very rare and recent find of a quality photograph. A view of the stables of the Commonwealth Hotel. (Top Pub). All three hotels had large stable areas at the rear of their premises. Before the days of the motor car, travelers and visitors had to use these rear stables for their horses and buggies, as there was limited parking if using the hitching posts out front. These stables were roofed over in 1912. 

Even today using google street view, you can see these large areas not only at the rear of the pubs, but also  on most business premises on the south side of Federal Street.


Image 12 - 1954 Desoto Coupe-Utility

Image is original taken from a slide. 
1954 Desoto Coupe-Utility, Australia. Many variants of this, but this is the one that was delivered in Australia, and I believe this is the vehicle in the color picture.


Image 13 - Very Early Single story.

Colourised by Mick Gulovsen
Text has been preserved and rotated.
A very rare postcard view of Ryan's Commonwealth Hotel (Top Pub) as a single-story timber building. Possibly 1908 (tree height)
Railway and Federal Streets Rainbow.


September 2014 Debunk by Mal Drendel.


September 2014 Debunk by Sandie Baskin.


From the booklet "RAINBOW OF TO-DAY. 1910" Page 41

The Commonwealth Hotel, Rainbow, Mr. PHIL RYAN, Proprietor. The writer has much pleasure in this brief article in being enabled to describe, and allow the public of Victoria to grasp, the splendid arrangements and management, also. hospitality, which awaits one and all at the Commonwealth Hotel; Rainbow, now under the management of a most popular landlord, Mr. Phil Ryan.

The Commonwealth Hotel is conveniently situated, opposite the railway station, in a commanding corner block in Federal-street. It is a handsome brick building, and is the forerunner of many other modern structures in the main street of Rainbow.

This hotel is comfortably and elegantly furnished in every detail, and the excellent management shown is everywhere manifest. On the ground floor will be found several cosy parlors, where business may be transacted in strict privacy, and a comfortable room for " commercials " is also provided.

There are two dining rooms, a No. 1 and No. 2 table being kept. The menu is such that even the most 'fastidious person in Australia can be satisfied, and it easily ranks amongst the best " commercial " and farming hotels in Victoria.

Upstairs, the bed-rooms are scrupulously clean and well-kept, even to the minutest detail. A splendid shower can be obtained, also baths (hot and cold). Downstairs there are many bedrooms; and, even with the great accommodation provided for the public,

Mr. Ryan is severely taxed, and in the near future intends to greatly extend the Commonwealth Hotel. A billiard room is attached to the hotel, and an enjoyable game on a. first-class table, with splendid cues which are well tipped, can always be relied upon.

Mr. Joseph Conway is in charge, and is very popular with patrons of the room. The sample rooms are commodious, and enable travellers to exhibit their goods to the best advantage.

The bar is conveniently situated, and contains only the best brands of wines, spirits, etc., also a really good cigar is always obtainable.

Mr. Ryan, who is known to many of his friends (and he's got scores) as " Phil," is an ideal landlord. He conducted the Sea Lake Hotel for some 4 years, and has now been proprietor of the hotel, under review during the past 6 years. He has been a resident of the Mallee district 36 years, and is at present a councillor of the Dimboola Shire. As a townsman of Rainbow, his sterling worth is known and appreciated.

In every movement, whether philanthropic, sporting, or of a public nature, concerning the welfare. of Rainbow and district, Mr. Ryan is one of the leading spirits. He is a humane man in the fullest meaning of the word,
and the writer, from practical knowledge, feels justified in mentioning such
estimable qualities which (more's the pity) so many men lack. Much credit also must be given to Mrs. Ryan, who manages so ably the domestic portion of this successful business. If every hotel was conducted. as the "Commonwealth " is, the " trade" would be placed on a far higher level.

Last Updated on September 17, 2021

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