From Hotels of Ballarat
The New Ristori Mine, Allendale, 1925.

Allendale is a small town 22kms north of Ballarat. It is believed to be named after Allendale in Northumberland in the UK.[1] The Allendale area was settled at the end of 1880 and early 1881.

There were other small settlements around the town, suburbs perhaps, which were located close to the big mines. In days when people did not have transport, they needed to be able to walk to work. These suburbs included:

  • Ristori Town - the east side of the town
  • Wallacetown - south
  • Ryans Town

In 1888 while trying to establish electoral boundaries it was reported:

"...the population of Allendale alone is 1016, which does not include Ristori Town or Wallace Town.[2]

Background[edit | edit source]

In April 1882 this description was given of Allendale:

DIBDEN'S CONCERT HALL AT ALLANDALE. The township of Allandale, situated about five miles from Creswick and nine from Clunes, has made, wonderful progress within the past 12 months. If the mining operations now going on in the immediate locality prove permanent, as all indications appear to favour, Allandale will in course of a few years fairly rival Clunes and Creswick. Already it is far in advance of Smeaton and Kingston. There are now erected within the township three banks, the Joint Stock, Bank of Australasia, and Union, Post and Telegraph office, three churches, several large and well stocked stores; a hotel, the Speculation, second to none in appointments in its district, and scores of comfortable looking miners' cottages. To the energy and business enterprise of Mr Thomas Dibdin the astonishing progress of Allandale is indebted. Mr Dibdin being the proprietor of the land upon which the township is situated, has spared no expense or trouble in advancing the mining and commercial interests of the place, building up his own fortune as well as that of his tenants. Mr Dibden’s latest enterprise has been the erection of one of the largest and most elegantly furnished concert halls in the whole district. The hall is intended to accommodate 400 persons, and has been erected at a cost of about £1500.[3]

In February 1918 a young girl, Maggie Bartels, wrote to the "Childrens' Corner" of the Advocate newspaper, describing Allendale:

It was once a great mining district, but now the mines are closed down, and farming, is the chief industry. All the farmers are very busy now cutting and carting in their crops. Allendale consists of two general stores, a blacksmith's, baker's, two fruit shops, a bank, post office, library, two hotels, three churches, and one school.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Allendale was not a government town, it was established on private land owned by J. T. Dibdin. Growth in the town happened very quickly, and the Creswick newspaper commented on it in February 1881:

As showing the impetus which the mining industry gives to the formation of suburban townships, we (Creswick Advertiser) may instance Allendale as a case in point. Only a few weeks since the new site of the Speculation hotel was a tenantless waste, but it is now thickly studded with cottages, superior in every respect to many of those which were erected at Broomfield at the outset of our mining ventures in that direction. Allandale has now four hotels, three of which are large and afford comfortable accommodation, two or three general stores, butcher's shop, &c.[5]

In October 1881, Dibdin offered 120 building blocks for sale by auction:

120 BUILDING ALLOTMENTS on the western side of the township of Allandale, and fronting the main Government road to Kingston. The land adjoins the Ristori, Lone Hand, Madame Berry, and Loughlin mines, and is only a few minutes’ walk from the New Australasian, North Australasian, Australasian Extended, and Australasian Consols, and the other well-known leading mines of the district.[6]

These blocks did not sell for the price Dibdin was wanting, and they were withdrawn from sale a couple of days later:

The sale of allotments in Allendale by Mr D. Fitzpatrick, at Creswick, on Saturday, 8th inst., was withdrawn after a few offers had been made, on account of the bids not being up to the proprietor's (Mr Dibdin) expectations. However, persons requiring one or more of those very valuable sites can be treated with privately by Mr Fitzpatrick.[7]

In December 1881 it was announce the telegraph was nearly finished:

Telegraph communication with Smeaton by way of Broomfield, Wallace Town, Allendale, and Ristori Town will soon be complete.[8]

In December 1881 the growing community felt the need for a police presence:

ALLANDALE. Allandale is sufficiently important now to be entitled to have a constable stationed there. Like all new places, there is sometimes a little more drinking than usual, and that circumstance leads often to quarrels which the presence of a constable would tend to mitigate. At present the inhabitants have no constable they can send for in cases of emergency except the one at Kingston, who might be at Smeaton if wanted elsewhere. As Allandale is central it would be as well if the Government arranged to see to the establishment of a police station. It might be said that if the private savings bank authorities were sharper they could command a good business in these new towns before the Government post office competes, and it would be a good thing, if the miners had a place to deposit their savings instead of "liquoring up" so often.[9]

In January 1883 there were meetings to plan handing over control of the town from private ownership into local government:

For some time past the residents of Allandale, Wallacetown, and Broomfield, have been considering the matter of having the place in question formed into a borough. Several private meetings have been held, which resulted in one being held last evening, at Dibdin’s Speculation hotel. Mr Dibdin was voted to the chair, and there were present Messrs J. Wallace, R, M. Smyth, Sloan, Lightbody, Mortison, Burn, Slee, Rutledge, Sturt, Pollard, Reynolds, Rogers, Andrew, and others. A general discussion ensued, some supporting the formation of a fourth riding, but the chairman informed the meeting that he was not prepared, nor would hand over the streets to the control of the shire council, on account of the manner in which the deputation was received by the shire council some time back, but he would hand them over to if formed. Mr Wallace, of Wallacetown, made remarks to the same effect. It was resolved that this meeting take steps to have Allendale, Wallacetown, and Broomfield formed into a borough. The following gentlemen were appointed a committee to take all the necessary steps to attain the above object: —Messrs Dibdin, Wallace, Smyth, Sloan, Stuart, Rutledge, Burn, and Morrison. Afterwards the committee met, when the boundary of borough was deferred and Mr Rutledge appointed secretary, and instructions given to Mr Dibdin to see Mr Thos. Mann, of Ballarat, solicitor, to proceed with all necessary works in connection with the foregoing object. The action of the shire council in reference to the payment of the expenses incurred by the valuer has caused great dissatisfaction here, and eight persons out of ten consider their action paltry in the extreme, in not recognising the claim of £74, when the shire will be benefited to the amount of £3000 by the valuer's new mode, and seeing it was necessary for the valuer to incur the expenses referred to so as to complete his work in time for the council to claim the subsidy from the Government for the present year. I have met with several mayors, ex-mayors, and presidents of other shires and boroughs since tho repudiation of the valuer's claim, one and all denounce the paltry conduct of the council; but of course the honourable minority of that council must be relieved from the above censure. No doubt the council’s action to its officer has caused the inhabitants here to take the decided action they have taken towards endeavouring to form this place into a borough.[10]

Trying to establish state electoral boundaries was also difficult as this comment from 1888 shows:

"The junior member for Creswick, Mr William Anderson, M.L.A., visited here on Saturday last for the purpose of acquainting himself as fully as possible with the views of the electors upon the boundary line dividing the Clunes and Creswick electorates, which it is desired shall be amended owing to the line passing through the centre of this town and thereby cutting it in two and giving one part to Clunes and the other to Creswick. ...the difficulty is this, that Allendale being a private township, the Government are not in possession of a plan of it, and have, therefore, nothing to guide them as to its place of location, and have, through this want, made the mistake of putting the population of Allendale into the Creswick electorate, but not the town itself..."[2]

The Allendale State School was closed, and the buildings have been sold as a private residence. The World War One Honour Board, with the names of those students who served, are now kept at the Creswick RSL.[11]

Railway accident 1902[edit | edit source]

In 1902 two men and their cart was struck by the Daylesford train at the railway crossing between Allendale and Wallacetown:

A WONDERFUL ESCAPE. HORSE AND VEHICLE THROWN THIRTY FEET. ALLENDALE, Tuesday. A railway crossing midway between Allendale and Wallacetown was the scene of a sensational accident at noon to-day. A hooded conveyance, owned by Messrs Dimond Bros., Bridge road, Richmond, was being driven in the direction of Allendale by William Alderdyce, an elderly man. Another occupant was Arthur Moore, a young man. In the act of crossing the line Moore observed the midday train from Ballarat to Daylesford close to them, and, giving the alarm to his companion he grasped the reins to pull the horse, when the train, which was travelling at a good speed, dashed into them. The buffers of the engine struck the horse and conveyance, and the cowcatcher dashed them violently through the fence protecting the crossing. The fence was broken up, the barbed wire preventing ingress to the line at the cow pit was torn from its position, and the horse, conveyance and occupants were thrown a distance of 30ft, and lodged in a heap among a quantity of wild gorse growing on the side of the line.
Moore was the first to realise the position and he found Alderdyce lying senseless under the debris, the horse kicking violently at the time. In an unconscious and bleeding condition he was removed to Nimmo's Hotel, where after some time he became conscious. Mr G Ogle Moore, MCRS, found that his head was badly cut, and that he had sustained injuries to the spine and legs, and suffered much from rain concussion and nervous shock. Moore escaped with slight spinal injury and shock t the system. The horse was injured so badly that it was destroyed. The conveyance was broken almost to splinters, and the contents, consisting of pictures and fancyware, were scattered round in a much damaged condition. The occupants assert that the whistle was not blown to give them the alarm. Their escape from death was marvellous.[12]

Hotels[edit | edit source]

In November 1881 there was a need for more hotels providing accommodation:

ACCOMMODATION FOR TRAVELLERS AT ALLANDALE. SIR,-Hoping that my experience of travelling in this district (Creswick) may be of use to those who expect to obtain accommodation, after a long day’s journey. I beg to state that I visited Allandale last week. I arrived there at about 8 o’clock pm, and proceeded to one of the principal hotels, and enquired if I could be accommodated with a bed for the night, when I was at once told that I could not “at any price,” as all the available rooms (including the billiard room) were turned into sleeping apartments. Another person requiring accommodation shortly afterwards came in, who was also told that no accommodation was available. This traveller informed me that he had called at three different hotels that evening, and had met with a like refusal. However, I was fortunate at length in meeting with an old acquaintance who gave me a shake down in his house. I was informed the following morning that a petition had been forwarded to the Solicitor General, signed by about 200 miners and others, requesting that Ristori town and Allandale might be proclaimed a special licensing district in order to meet the growing wants of miners and others who required accommodation. Believing that the present Government is actuated by a spirit of freedom and toleration, I make no doubt but that the prayer of the petition will be granted, as it will not only confer a boon on the miners the district generally, but on all travellers requiring accommodation in that quarter. Yours &c., A DISAPPOINTED TRAVELLER[13]

In January 1882, T. J. Dibdin, proprietor of Allendale, and publican of the Speculation Hotel attempted unsuccessfully to prevent further hotel licenses being issued:

THE LICENSING QUESTION AT ALLANDALE. — Advertiser. On Tuesday, at the Creswick Police Court, Patrick Horan and Edwd. Coulson applied for publicans licenses for houses at Allandale. Mr Thos. Mann, of Ballarat, appeared for the applicants in both cases. Mr Philipps said be appeared on behalf of the ratepayers to oppose the granting of the licenses, on the ground that there were already five licensed hotels in the neighborhood, which were sufficient for all requirements, and presented a petition against the issue of any more licenses. Mr Mann objected to the petition being presented, as no notice of intention to oppose the issue of the licenses had been given, and it did not appear for whom Mr Philipps appeared, Mr Philipps stated no notice of objection was required by the act. There seemed to be a conflict of opinion between counsel and the bench as to the legality of the course being pursued, and the bench allowed Mr Philipps to retire to amend his case, and to state more clearly for whom he appeared, and the grounds of the objection. On re-entering the court Mr Philipps said he appeared for Mr T. J. Dibdin, as a licensed publican and resident of the district, and the grounds of objection were as previously stated. Mr Dibdin was placed in the witness, box and cross-examined at great length by Mr Mann, during which the entire history of Allendale from the commencement of mining development, its present condition and future prospects were elicited. Mr Mann argued that the fact of the Governor-in-Council proclaiming the district a special licensing district was prima facie evidence that it was one where licenses could be granted without inconvenience to those at present in existence, and it was unfair to give Mr Dibdin and Mr Hiscox a monopoly of trade in the district. The applicants gave evidence, and presented a petition in favor of granting the licenses signed by 385 working miners in the district, and after being examined and cross examined at some length, John White, draper, was called, and gave evidence of the growth of the district, and the increase of the population, and two miners also stated they had been refused accommodation at Mr Dibdin’s hotel. The magistrate in giving his decision stated if the petition presented against the issue of the licences had been signed by a majority of the rate payers in the district, or had the evidence tendered been by unprejudiced persons and not engaged in the trade, he must have refused the licences, but otherwise be must grant them.[14]

List of hotels[edit | edit source]

People[edit | edit source]

Wallacetown[edit | edit source]

Wallacetown, also Wallace Town, was a settlement around Wallace's Hotel, south of Allendale and midway to Broomfield. Probably named after the publican.

In July 1882, Thomas Bent then Minister for Railways, made a visit to inspect the planned railway line:

The Minister viewed from the buggy the contour of the survey, which starts from the North Creswick Railway station, thence to Broomfield. The almost impassable nature of the road to the latter place rendered travelling very difficult, but the various difficulties being surmounted a halt was called at Wallace’s hotel. Wallacetown, a thriving township..."[15]

Ristori town[edit | edit source]

Adelaide Ristori

Named for the Ristori mines which were north of the town. These mines were named after an actress:

The Ristori group owed their names to the original Adelaide Ristori, the Italian actress, who claimed to be the Marchioness del Grillo. She was born in 1821, and was a popular stage favorite of her day.[16]

In October 1881 tenders were called for bank buildings to be erected in Ristori Town:

TENDERS will be received up to 5 o'clock p.m. on Tuesday, 11th instant, for the ERECTION of WOOD BANK BUILDINGS, manager's residence, stabling, and fencing, at Ristori Town, Allandale, for the Joint Stock Bank of Victoria. Limited. Plans, &c., at our office, and at Dibden's Speculation Hotel, Allandale, JAMES and CREBER, Architects. Bank Chambers, Lydiard street.[17]

The bank opened on 31 October 1881:

JOINT STOCK BANK OF VICTORIA, Limited. A BRANCH of this Bank WILL BE OPENED at ALLENDALE on 31st Inst., under the management of Mr William Garden. JOHN SHIELS, Manager. Ballarat.- 25th October, 1881.[18]

The Ristori mining group released more building blocks for sale in October 1881:

RISTORI TOWN. FIFTY ELIGIBLE BUILDING ALLOTMENTS For POSITIVE SALE in the above Township, Including a few choice corner blocks. Upset price per block, £3. SATURDAY. 15th OCTOBER, At Leake’s Hotel, Creswick, At Four o’clock. THE proprietors of the above land, in order to induce miners to settle down near their work, have decided to extend the above township by offering 50 more quarter acre building allotments for sale and with this view have made arrangements with their solicitor that the title to the ground shall not cost the purchasers more than £1 per lot. Terms Liberal at Sale. Plans of the ground and other information may be obtained from the Auctioneer J. J. SMITH. Creswick[19]

The name was still in common use in 1917. One newspaper report in 1913 describes Parkin Street as being in Ristori town.[20] This makes it the south east corner of Allendale. The Ristori Commercial Hotel and the Durham Ox Hotel are both described as being in Ristori town.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Allendale, Victorian place names, 2015,
  2. 2.0 2.1 1888 'ALLENDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 31 October, p. 4. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,
  3. 1882 'DIBDEN'S CONCERT HALL AT ALLANDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 April, p. 2. , viewed 25 Dec 2016,
  4. 1918 'Letters to Aunt Patsy', Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 - 1954), 23 February, p. 31. , viewed 14 Dec 2016,
  5. 1881 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 February, p. 2. , viewed 27 Dec 2016,
  6. 1881 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 October, p. 3. , viewed 25 Dec 2016,
  7. 1881 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 October, p. 2. , viewed 27 Dec 2016,
  8. 1881 'BREVIA.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 1 December, p. 2. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,
  9. 1881 'ALLANDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 3. , viewed 27 Dec 2016,
  10. 1883 'ALLANDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 January, p. 3. , viewed 25 Dec 2016,
  11. Allendale State School Honour Board, Monuments Australia,, accessed 27 December 2016
  12. 1902 'RAILWAY CROSSING ACCIDENTS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 27 August, p. 6. , viewed 18 Dec 2016,
  13. 1881 'ACCOMMODATION FOR TRAVELLERS AT ALLANDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 26 November, p. 2. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,
  14. 1882 'THE LICENSING QUESTION AT ALLANDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 January, p. 4. , viewed 25 Dec 2016,
  15. 1882 'VISIT OF MR BENT TO THE GRESWICK AND SMEATON DISTRICT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 12 July, p. 2. , viewed 25 Dec 2016,
  16. 1927 'VICTORIAN MINING.', Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 - 1954), 30 December, p. 11. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,
  17. 1881 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 October, p. 3. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,
  18. 1881 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 27 October, p. 2. , viewed 27 Dec 2016,
  19. 1881 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 October, p. 3. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,
  20. 1913 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 27 December, p. 2. , viewed 26 Dec 2016,