Ballarat Licensed Victuallers' Association

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The Ballarat Licensed Victualler's Association was an organisation of Ballarat publicans.

History[edit | edit source]

The General Meetings of the Association were held on the first Wednesday in each month, in the Mechanics’ Institute, at 3 o’clock p.m. The Quarterly Meetings are held on the first Wednesday, January, April, July and October.[1]  

1856[edit | edit source]

In 1856 the Association employed Edward Lewis to take court action against unlicensed, or sly, grog sellers. It appears that not all members paid their share of the associated costs, and Lewis took action against the Association:

Lewis v. Bath and others-Mr Rainy appeared for the plaintiff; Mr Walsh for Mr Bouchier, one of the defendants, and Mr Randall for Mr Bradshaw. This was an action brought against Messrs. Bath, Bradshaw, Bouchier, Lynch & Levy, John Bird, and several other publicans, to recover the sum of £200 for professional services rendered to the Licensed Victuallers' Association to prosecute sly grog sellers. Edward John Lewis, deposed that he was retained by the publicans of Ballarat to prosecute the unlicensed vendors of spirituous liquors. He had been paid their proportions by Messrs Bath, Gibbs, and Underwood, Lester, M'Crae, Thompson, Henderson, Howe, and Herring. Mr Bradshaw had been sued in a wrong Christian name, and, therefore, he withdrew the case as against him. He had given those who had been paid an undertaking not to levy upon them. He had prosecuted the grog-sellers until there were no more to prosecute. His Honor: What! Until the whole race was extinct ? Mr Lewis : No, your Honor, but I was fired at going home one night, and in consequence, I was directed to discontinue the prosecution. The plaintiff was non-suited, on the ground that no bill of costs had been delivered, a special case being reserved for the consideration of the Supreme Court.[2]

1857[edit | edit source]

The Association called a meeting to discuss new legislation in June 1857:

Ballarat Licensed Victuallers'Association. A SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING of the Licensed Publicans will be held at the Exchange Hotel, Main-road, this day, at 3 p.m. sharp, for the purpose of receiving the report of the delegate from the trade on Ballarat, and for the consideration of the revision of the Licensed Victuallers' Act about to be introduced by the Government. All holders of Publicans' Licenses are requested to attend. By order of the President, GRAHAM CARRICK, Sec.[3]

1859[edit | edit source]

Meeting the Edinburgh Castle Hotel, 7 December 1859.[4]

1863[edit | edit source]

The committee of the Association as listed in the Ballarat Almanac (1863)[1]:

Executive Committee Ballarat[edit | edit source]

Buninyong:[edit | edit source]

Creswick:[edit | edit source]

Bullarook:[edit | edit source]

Clunes:[edit | edit source]

Linton:[edit | edit source]

Smythesdale:[edit | edit source]

Carngham:[edit | edit source]

Solicitor: A. L. Lynn, Esq., Lydiard Street   Secretary: Alfred Sayers, Mechanics’ Institute Chambers, Sturt Street.  

The Howard Clause[edit | edit source]

In May 1863 the association met to hear proposed changes to the licensing act which would make it easy for other businesses to sell beer and wine. This would affect the publican's profitability, and they took action to oppose the changes:

The President said the next business was to consider the clause proposed to be inserted in the Licensed Victuallers'Bill, namely, to allow any person who wished, to take out a £10 license to retail colonial ale and wines. The effect of this clause would be to swamp the trade, depreciate property, and ruin the licensed victuallers generally, it was well known that Mr Howard was a manufacturer of colonial beer, and as each was largely interested in the clause being engrafted on the bill. He should be happy to hear any gentleman who had anything to say on the matter. Mr Conwell said the association ought to endeavor to get the bill postponed until next session, in order to obtain the views of the trade generally on the subject. As the time was so short, he thought that the association ought to try and get the bill postponed until next session. He was convinced if the trade was canvassed it would be unanimous in opposing the measure, or at least the clause proposed to be introduced into it. Mr Leslie would propose-"That the Association immediately get up a petition against the clause." Mr Watson seconded the proposition of Mr Leslie, and said that the association had seen the evil of the beer house system in England. If that system was introduced here, what a state of things would be brought about. At present colonial ale was sold in every public house and public houses were numerous enough just now. Mr Leslie said that all of those beer houses would be sly-grog shops. He had seen enough of them in England to show that they were not desirable in this colony. The motion was then put and agreed to. The President suggested that the association write to the licensed victuallers of Bendigo and Castlemaine on the subject and ascertain their views on the matter. If the clause was forced on, the friends of the licensed victuallers would throw the bill out altogether. Mr Bellair moved and Mr Conwell seconded "That the members for the district be written to, requesting them to oppose the clause." Carried. Mr Conwell moved, and Mr Pleydell seconded "That the secretary write to the licensed victuallers of Bendigo, Castlemaine, Pleasant Creek, &c., and solicit their co operation in this matter." Carried. Mr Leslie and Mr Watson volunteered to get signatures to the petition in Ballarat west, and Mr Pleydell, Mr O'Meara, Mr Smith in Ballarat East. Mr Leslie proposed-" That the secretary write to Mr Cooper; the president of the MeIbourne association, informing him what the Ballarat association was about to do." Mr Bellair seconded the motion, which was agreed to.[5]

1864[edit | edit source]

The monthly meeting in May 1864 discussed problems with members, and the new Publican's Act:

The monthly meeting of the Ballarat District Licensed Victuallers' Association was held on Wednesday afternoon, in the Mechanics' Institute. Present-Mr G. Duncan, President of the Association in the chair, and Messrs Leslie, Watson, Robson, Conwell, Murphy, Macmanamy, Smith, Schmeding, and Gay. Several accounts were passed for payment. Messrs Wm. Brazenor, of the Cattle Yards Hotel, and Mr C. S. Reeves, wine and spirit merchant, were elected members of the association. The Chairman reminded the meeting of the great difficulty in collecting subscriptions from members in the outlying districts, and after some discussion it was decided that the Secretary should write to the country members requesting them to forward their subscriptions without delay. With regard to the new Publicans' Bill the Chairman also stated that a petition had been forwarded to Parliament, signed by all the brewers in Ballarat, against the beer clause, which had been considered very objectionable to the trade. He further stated that Mr Gillies undertook charge of the petition. It had since been presented to the House, and was likely to lead to the clause in question being amended to the form in which it originally stood in the bill, and which was to the effect that no beer licenses should be issued in any boroughs. The action taken by the Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary, in reference to this matter was unanimously approved of and the thanks of the meeting awarded. It was resolved further to oppose the grocers' and confectioners' clauses in the bill when it was before the Legislative Council. This completed the business. Before the meeting separated, the Chairman remarked that the late ball given by the association was not so well patronised by the members as had been expected.[6]

1870[edit | edit source]

The committee met in September 1870:

A meeting of the committee of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association was held on Friday afternoon, at the Edinburgh Castle Hotel, Mr Gilbert Duncan in the chair. The minutes of the previous meeting having been read and confirmed, the president reported the result of the deputation from the committee to the Society for the Promotion of Morality, which has appeared in our columns. The result was considered satisfactory by the committee. A code of rules for the guidance of the Licensed - Victuallers’ Association was adopted, and then several new members were proposed and accepted. The committee then adjourned.[7]

1879[edit | edit source]

The association reorganised in 1879:

THE first annual report of the reorganised Licensed Victuallers’ Association of Ballarat has just been issued, from which it appears that the association numbers near sixty members, and is in a good financial condition, having a balance of £23 10s 6d to the good. It would seem, too, that in one sense the lines of revenue have fallen in pleasant places, if the life of the association be not, indeed, "all beer and skittles.” For, the heaviest item on the side of income is the profit derived from last year’s picnic excursion, that jolly outing leaving a balance in hand of £59 5s, "after paying all expenses, including bonus to secretary ; and donations to the four charities,” so that we infer the committee is entitled to say, as it does say, that "the annual marine excursion has become very popular.” ...The reorganised association, however, appears to be now in good working order, and it has the advantage of an active and competent secretary, a goodly member roll, and a good financial condition, so that its operations may well be regarded with favor by—to cite the words of the reported - "a body so numerous and influential, who contribute so largely to the general and local revenues, and who represent so large an amount of property in the colony.” The members of the trade , may be well assured that if they do not look after their own interests nobody else will The association is an organisation more or less potent to protect the trade, and it should have the confidence and the suffrages of the trade generally, but as "fine words butter no parsnips,” publicans most give in their names and their subscriptions, if they desire to see the association still more influential and still more practical in its hearing on the welfare of the trade.[8]

1883[edit | edit source]

The committee in 1883 was[9][10]:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Vic. :, [Ballarat almanac] , [Ballarat viewed 2 June 2017
  2. 1856 'COUNTY COURT OF BUNINYONG AND BALLARAT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 7 October, p. 2. , viewed 02 Jun 2017,
  3. 1857 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 June, p. 4. , viewed 28 Apr 2019,
  4. 1859 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 7 December, p. 4. , viewed 16 May 2019,
  5. 1863 'THE LICENSED VICTUALLERS' ASSOCIATION.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 May, p. 2. , viewed 17 Jun 2018,
  6. 1864 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 5 May, p. 2. , viewed 28 Jun 2019,
  7. 1870 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 September, p. 2. , viewed 13 Feb 2020,
  8. 1879 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 November, p. 2. , viewed 17 Feb 2020,
  9. 1883 'BALLARAT DISTRICT LICENSED VICTUALLERS ASSOCIATION.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 14 December, p. 4. , viewed 21 Mar 2018,
  10. 1883 'BALLARAT LICENSED VICTUALLERS ASSOCIATION.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 October, p. 2. , viewed 22 Mar 2018,