The hospitality business was very common amongst the members of the Catalan community in all Australia. The Parer family started investing their first savings in hotels in Melbourne and in less than 40 years their extended family owned more than 30 hotels and restaurants. Many of them were very popular at the time and they are still remembered by many Melbournians. The Parer Crystal Cafe, The Rubira Hotel, The John Bull Tavern, the Royal Arcade Hotel, Hosie’s, Maxims, just to list a few. Some Catalan families involved in the hotel business are the Andiñach, Carlets, Codina, Gras-y-Fort, Parer, Salvado, Power, Suñol, Rubira, Morell, amongst many others.
But the Catalans also spread their hotels to the rest of Australia. The Parer family hotel dynasty spread to Tasmania, King Island and Darwin. In Western Australia, the Andinach family ran the popular Cafe Madrid for many years.
These restaurants were the meeting point of the Catalan community, but their ‘exotic’ decoration and delicious menu attracted many Australians, who had the chance to discover the Spanish cuisine and its culture.
Due to his dedication to the Catalan community and the hospitality business, Antoni Clota deserves a special mention amongst the rest the hoteliers.
Antoni Clota arrived to Australia with his parents Marcus Clota and Eulalia Parer in 1885 when he was 17 years old. He worked in the Parers restaurants till he bought the John Bull Tavern in partnership with James Rubira. Then he engaged with J. Triado at the Royal Arcade Hotel and he finally worked as a manager at the Parers Crystal Cafe where he remained for 15 years. Then he purchased the Cafe Royal in Empire Arcade, Flinders Street and was there until his death. He started the Cafe and Caterers Association of Victoria and became the president in 1922. He was also on the committee of the Fitzroy Football Club, which anecdotally has the same colours as the Football Club Barcelona. He was a trustee of the Box Hill Cemetery Trust and he took over the work of his uncle, Estevan Parer, in assisting many members of the Catalan Community in their accountancy, going to the doctor and with other bureaucratic issues.