- The life and loves of Mark Foy: second edition Creator of the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Blue Mountains
Den Fenella Press, Wentworth Falls NSW, 2022.
Quarto paperback; 162pp., with many colour and monochrome illustrations and a folding genealogical chart. New. This edition includes 22 new photographic images and new stories. The eccentric entrepreneur Mark Foy made his fortune in the Victorian era, with the profits from Sydney's Mark Foy's department store. Always a hypochondriac, he came to believe that all diseases could be cured by bathing in cold water. In 1904, he put most of his money into building a hydropathic treatment centre in Medlow Bath. Referred to as "Foy's Folly", it became known as the Hydro Majestic hotel. Described as "a palace in the wilderness, the Hydro became known as a place where guests (like Mark Foy himself) engaged in adulterous affairs. Here, people felt safe to "let their hair down", disguising themselves in masks and opposite-sex clothing, while acting out their fantasies during elaborate fancy-dress balls, guests and staff role-reversed nights and "mad hatters" contests. During the Edwardian era Mark Foy experienced a "mid-life crisis" and wanted to sell up everything he owned and live in Algiers. He had a 10-year relationship with the Hydro Majestic's entertainer, with whom he had an illegitimate daughter. Mark Foy spent the rest of his life in restless travels, regularly avoiding his wife Elizabeth and their four children. His finances were often in crisis and he embarked on many unsuccessful business ventures including land sub-divisions, mining, cotton growing in America, horse breeding and patenting inventions. Mark Foy may not have succeeded in his search for happiness, but the enduring monument to his life is the Hydro Majestic hotel, a place where millions of guests, over the last 116 years, have enjoyed escapes from their everyday lives.
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