There has been a hotel bearing the name Wentworth in Sydney, in one incarnation or another, since 1855. It began when Miss Onge chose to name her boarding house at No 3 Charlotte Place after her landlord, one William Charles Wentworth.
Wentworth was born in what was then the colony of New South Wales in 1790. He would become a leading figure in the colony and go on to become the first native-born Australian to achieve recognition overseas for his exploits as an explorer, author, barrister, journalist and politician. In 1813 his adventurous spirit drove him to join the party that discovered a way across the impenetrable Blue Mountains and opened up the colony to the west. He published the first book written by an Australian, and advocated for legal reforms in the colony and for settlement by emigrants, not convicts. In 1824 he started the colony’s first independent newspaper, The Australian, which was printed and published in a house he owned – No 3 Charlotte Place.
The Wentworths never lived in the house on Charlotte Place. Their family home was the opulent Vaucluse House, which still stands today. No 3 Charlotte Place was sold sometime between 1861 and 1901, though the hotel continued to bear his name.
More than 160 years later it is a testament to Wentworth, one of the giants of 19th century Australia, that his name still hangs above the city’s most prestigious hotel.