Athletic Club Hotel

From Hotels of Ballarat
For hotels with the same or similar names, see Club Hotel.
Athletic Club Hotel
Former Athletic Club Hotel c.2011
Town Ballarat
Street Cnr. of Mair and Peel Streets
Known dates 1886-1941
Other names Australian Hotel
Paterson's Siding Hotel
Bridge Hotel c.2011
Front Bar
Freight Bar
Evidence Building still in use

The Athletic Club Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1893-1941>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was on the north west corner of Mair Street and Peel Street.[1]

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Background[edit | edit source]

The hotel was formerly known as the Australian Hotel.[1] It has traded under other names since, including Paterson's Siding Hotel (1980s), Bridge Hotel (2011), Front Bar (2012) and the Freight Bar (from 2013).

History[edit | edit source]

The hotel was offered for sale in February 1886:

MONDAY, 22nd FEBRUARY! To Investors, Speculators, and Others. EXTENSIVE SALE OF CENTRAL PROPERTY. Under Instructions from Mr J. Lowe, Lot 1, at 12 o’clock, on the Premises, That Large and well-known Hotel at corner of Wills and Peel streets, THE ATHLETIC CLUB HOTEL. Containing 15 rooms, well and substantially built of brick, and fitted up regardless of expense; now leased at a satisfactory rental.[2]

The hotel was reviewed by the License Reduction Board in June 1888:

Athletic Club hotel—A. C. Harken, licensee; James Coghlan, owner. A two-storied brick building, 17 rooms, fairly well furnished and conducted: principally a bar business; four-stall stable; about two beds let per week...The licensee of the Athletic Club had been convicted once for Sunday trading...James Coghlan, owner of the Athletic Club hotel, and [[Arfst Cornelius Harken\\, licensee, gave evidence as to the business done at that hotel, which was substantially built and in a good position, William Robertson, builder, and Martin Fanning, draper, also gave evidence.[3]

In May 1908 the hotel was considered for closure, as there were too many hotel in Ballarat East. The License Reduction Board hearing gave an interesting overview of the hotel at this time:

ATHLETIC CLUB.Athletic Club Hotel, corner of Wills, and Peel streets - Owners Ballarat Brewing company. Licensee Thomas Mortimer Stanley. Mr J. B. Pearson appeared for both parties. Licensing-Inspector Balchin said the hotel was a two-storeyed brick building in good repair, fairly well kept and furnished. There were three convictions. The hotel furnished a lot of accommodation, and was situated in a busy part of the town. The rental was 70s per week and the assessment £164. In view of there being only two hotels in Ballarat East over the statutory number he would not recommend that the hotel should be closed. Plainclothes-Constable Montague said that the hotel was in a good position and was near the Eastern Oval. Thomas M. Stanley, licensee, said that there were eight bedrooms in the place for the use of the public. There was a good business done in the house, and a good door and bottle trade. A good deal of country traffic passed the hotel. To the Chairman - His total purchases averaged £100 a month Sergeant Keely said the shutting of the hotel would cause inconvenience to the public. To Inspector Balchin- In his opinion there were not too many hotels in Ballarat East. Decision was deferred.[4]

Sadly the hotel was the scene of the suicide of a local dentist in August 1893:

Suicide at Ballarat. BALLARAT, Sunday. Mr. J. D. Towl, dentist, of Camp-street, and son of Mr. E. Towl, the well-known chemist, of Sturt-street, committed suicide at Heinz's Athletic Club Hotel, Peel-street, last evening by shooting himself through the head with a revolver. He had previously visited several places with some companions, to whom he showed the revolver, stating his intention to commit suicide, but this was regarded as only a joke. After visiting the Eastern Oval, where a football match was being played, he proceeded to the hotel mentioned and went into a side room. Shortly afterwards Mr. Heinz heard a shot fired and the sound of a body falling, and rushing into the room he found Towl lying on the floor with a wound in the temple, from which blood was flowing, and with the smoking weapon in his hand. Medical aid was promptly sought, but life was found to be extinct. The body was removed to the morgue, where an inquest will be held. No reason is assigned for the act, as the deceased seemed to be doing well in his business, and his manner gave no indication of any mental change from his usual cheerfulness. He was an accomplished musician, and freely gave his services in any charitable movement. He had also travelled extensively through the colonies, having spent some time in Queensland. It is a remarkable coincidence that yesterday was his 26th birthday, and also that of the young lady to whom he was engaged to be married.[5]

In December 1922, the publican, John William Healy was fined £20 for operating a pawnbrokers business without a license. The magistrate said it was serious charge, and could result in Healy losing his publican's license.[6]

In August 1925 the publican was fined:

Elizabeth Reynolds, licensee of the Athletic Club Hotel, pleaded guilty to allowing persons on the premises dining prohibited hours on 31st July. Senior constable Day related a visit paid to the hotel at 8.45 p.m., when four men were found in the back yard. One of them was drunk and was arrested. Defendant said the men came for beds. She denied serving them with liquor. A fine of £2 was imposed, and two of the men were fined 20/ each.[7]

In December 1932 the hotel was one of a number of district hotels whose licenses were renewed, but with a warning:

"...granted after evidence tendered regarding police suspicions of betting had been considered...Mr. Barr referring to betting on hotel premises said that it had been going on for years and nothing the police or Court could do so far had stopped it. If the licensees did not willingly stop it and the owners would not stop it the Court would try another very drastic way. There were still a number of hotels in Ballarat to disappear under the law.[8]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

  • In August 1894, Cr. Gale used the hotel for a political meeting to seek re-election to the council.[9]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hargreaves, John. Ballarat Hotels Past and Present, pg. 20, 1943, Ballarat
  2. 2.0 2.1 1886 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 20 February, p. 3. , viewed 06 Apr 2019,
  3. 3.0 3.1 1888 'ROWE AND WILLS STREETS, AND EASTERN OVAL.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 June, p. 4. , viewed 25 Sep 2019,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1908 'ATHLETIC CLUB.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 May, p. 4, viewed 9 October, 2015,
  5. 5.0 5.1 1893 'Suicide at Ballarat.', Wagga Wagga Advertiser (NSW : 1875 - 1910), 8 August, p. 3. , viewed 01 Jan 2017,
  6. 6.0 6.1 1922 'PUBLICAN AS PAWNBROKER.', Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 - 1954), 21 December, p. 2, viewed 26 August, 2015,
  7. 7.0 7.1 1925 'LICENSING PROSECUTIONS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 15 August, p. 14. , viewed 24 Dec 2021,
  8. 1932 'BALLARAT AND DISTRICT.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 6 December, p. 10. , viewed 25 Apr 2020,
  9. 1894 'TOWN OF BALLARAT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 August, p. 4. , viewed 27 Apr 2017,
  10. 1890 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 October, p. 2. , viewed 10 Jan 2020,
  11. 1891 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 October, p. 2. , viewed 13 Jul 2019,
  12. 1906 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 5 May, p. 15, viewed 26 August, 2015,
  13. 1916 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 2 March, p. 9. , viewed 02 Aug 2017,
  14. 1920 'HOTEL TRANSFERS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 17 March, p. 11. , viewed 12 Mar 2018,
  15. 1929 'PROVINCIAL CITIES AND TOWNS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 29 November, p. 16, viewed 8 October, 2015,
  16. 1941 'HOTEL TRANSFERS', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 2 September, p. 6. , viewed 15 Jul 2019,

External Links[edit | edit source]