The Royal Hotel is one of the significant remnant buildings within the inner Sydney Suburb of Darlington. Darlington was part of the area occupied by the cardigal band of Dharug aboriginal peoples who were substantially reduced in numbers in the smallpox epidemic of 1789.
William Hutchinson received a Crown Grant of 52 acres of land from Governor Macquarie in 1818 that he named ‘Golden Grove’. The land was initially leased for market gardens and remained undeveloped through the earlier part of the 19th Century. The first subdivisions of the area were made following Hutchinson’s death in 1846. The establishment of the railway to Parramatta in the 1850’s provided the impetus for subdivision and suburban housing and the Municipality of Darlington was established in 1864.
Further development in the area was a direct result of the establishment of the railway workshops at Everleigh in 1892. The population increased dramatically and further industries including a jam factory, iron foundry, Zinc and Brass works, two cabinet makers, a cordial factory, a portmanteau factory and sundry smaller industries were established there. By 1891 the population of Darlington had increased to 3,500 giving it the highest population density of any suburb in Sydney.
The Royal Hotel was built in a prominent corner location on Abercrombie Street, by James England in 1894 to serve the needs of local railway workers. Previously this land had been used as a builder’s yard. The Victorian style hotel building maintains its early character with applied, rendered classical decoration that complements the adjoining terrace houses within the Golden Grove Conservation Area.