Two old Cronulla houses with very different uses make way for Rydges Hotel

Two once stately old homes at Cronulla served very different purposes before they were knocked down and replaced by what is now Rydges Hotel.

One of the houses was home to the Christian Surfers group, while the other was known as Cockroach Castle and housed wild parties.

The hotel, which opened in 1991 on the corner of Gerrale Street and Kingsway, was originally called Kingsway on Cronulla Beach.

The founding members of Cronulla Christian Surfers lived in the lovely single-storey house, which stood right on the corner of Kingsway and Gerrale Street.

The group developed into an international movement in 30 countries.

Next to the Christian Surfers' house, up the hill towards the Cronulla Theatre, was a two-storey house known as Cockroach Palace.

The Cronulla Surf Museum Facebook page has a picture of the two-storey house, posted in 2013, with the caption: "The infamous Cockroach Castle on Gerrale Street before it was demolished in the 90s. It housed wild parties, Gary Hughes playing, squatters and a skate ramps inside. Many a good time was had by the local crew before it was reduced to rubble. Photo BWN."

The Leader reported in 2012 on the development of the Christian Surfers group, which at that time had spread to 34 nations.

Brett Davis, who was a founding member in 1977, said, "We were surfing Cronulla and lived in the Sutherland Shire.

"I was from a non-church family, like most of our people were.

"We were coming to terms with our newfound Christian faith and our surfing identity and how those two intersected.

"We felt marginalised from Christians because we were surfers, and marginalised from the surfing group because we were Christians."