Meet the hostess of the Bulli Railway Guesthouse

Sarah Heard in the backyard of the Bulli Railway Guesthouse. Picture: Mick Roberts Collection
The Bulli Railway Guest House

THE tradition of hospitality continues within the historic walls of what is known today as the Resin Brewery at Bulli.

The recently restored heritage building has evolved into a speciality brewery, offering delicious meals and entertainment.

Originally built as the Bulli Railway Guest House, this rare image depicts Sarah Heard, who greeted her countless guests for over 30 years when the building became an accommodation destination for tourists visiting the scenic delights of the region.

Sarah Heard became hostess at the popular guest house at the age of 35, and quickly became known for her “very kindly disposition”.

Roger and Sarah Heard became proprietors of the Bulli Railway Guest House in 1887.

The Illawarra Mercury reported on June 11 1887 that 47-year-old Roger Heard of Bulli was proceeding with “a grand two-storey brick-building facing the railway. It is expected that more large buildings will soon be built in the vicinity of the railway station.”

The former Bulli Railway Guesthouse today operated as Resin Brewing, a popular pub and eatery.

Heards’ guest house was located near the recently opened South Coast Railway, which brought carriage loads of tourists directly from Sydney to the Illawarra.

The guest house was on the main access street from the Main South Coast Road, near the level crossing to Bulli Railway Station, and would have been a busy tourist destination when completed.

Born Sarah Cavill in the NSW gold mining town of Sofala, the guest house’s hostess married Roger Heard in Wollongong in 1868.

It seems by Sarah’s obituary in 1927 that before her husband built their two-storey brick guest house in 1887, the family were living on the site, where they had previously offered tourist accommodation.

The Illawarra Mercury reported:

“Together with her husband, the couple were known to every body in the early days, particularly by reason of the fact that they conducted a small boarding-house in Railway St., Bulli, near the railway station, and later on, in 1887 — when the railway line was being extended through— erected on that site the modern two storey building which today bears the sign ‘Railway Boarding House’. Deceased was a faithful adherent of the Methodist Church. She was noted for her commendable actions in various ways, and reference was often made to her very kindly disposition.”

Roger died in June 1911 at the age of 71, while Sarah followed in 1927 aged 75.

The building was restored and repurposed as an eatery and pub by Brendan Dowd and Stephen House in 2020.


Subscribe to the latest Looking Back stories


Can you help by donating to Looking Back?

Would you like to make a small donation towards the running of the Looking Back and Bulli & Clifton Times websites? If you would like to support my work, visit my donation page where you can leave a small tip of $2, or several small tips, just increase the amount as you like. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s