The Surveyor General was one of the earliest buildings constructed in the new village of Berrima, chosen by Govenor Burke as the new administrative seat for the County of Camden, with the Inn's name a nod to Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor General of the colony of NSW.
Despite initially being one of 20 licensed premises in Berrima, The Surveyor General prospered as a popular resting place for travellers long after the other inns in Berrima had shut their doors.
A new railway that bypassed Berrima in 1867 saw a downturn for tourism but the rise in popularity of motor cars in the 1930's once again saw the town flourish.
But as is often the case, time had not been kind to the Inn – by the 1960's this beautiful Georgian hotel had gone into sad decline. Negelcted, run down and almost condemned, The Surveyor General Inn was saved by the passionate efforts of the village and it's residents, with a special Act of Parliament making it possible to preserve the Inn & maintain it's historic license.
Restoring and conserving such a considerable building presented challenges to the renovators. The sandstone blocks had weathered badly, and steps had to be taken to repair them, using a special silicon treatment first tried out on the building which enabled the façade to be preserved. In 1997 the current owners, the Durney family, opened up a new extension at the rear of the Inn to house a new bistro as well as renovating the original building to preserve its historic character.
Today the Surveyor General Inn is the oldest continuously licensed inn in Australia, and attracts more visitors any day of the week than at any time in its past.