Garibaldi Village Square has a rich and multi-ethnic history. In fact, the Hunters Hill Trust Journal called the Garibaldi Inn ‘probably the most historic building in Hunters Hill’.
Named after the Italian military compatriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Garibaldi Inn was built by John Cuneo and Italian stonemasons in the 1860s.
The masons who built the sandstone houses of Hunters Hill lived in the Inn’s attic, and often drank wine downstairs at the bar. It has been said that the staff at the original Garibaldi Inn Bar wore red shirts – it was their trademark.
In 1910, during the era of temperance, a local option vote was taken to reduce the number of hotels around Sydney. The Garibaldi Inn lost its licence in 1911.
After minor conversion from an inn to a storefront in 1912, the building traded as a shop in the following years, evolving from a sweet-store to one that sold fruit and vegetables.
The statue of Hebe in the niche above the main entry is described as the Greek goddess of youth, and cupbearer to the gods. The original Hebe was stolen in 1973 and was replaced with a replica.
During the 1970s the building descended into neglect and the Garibaldi Hotel survived the threat of demolition and a proposal to build a service station. The Hunters Hill community fought to save the historic building and won the day.
In the October of 1981, a permanent conservation order was placed over the beloved building. Two additional buildings were added to create the square we know today, and the Garibaldi has been populated with a variety of beautiful shops and services ever since.