British Hotel (Creswick)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names, see British Hotel.
British Hotel
British Hotel, 2008 (closed)
Town Creswick
Street 45 Albert Street
Known dates 1854-2007
Evidence Building still standing (2023)
Google maps -37.4240257,143.8930836

The British Hotel was a hotel in Creswick, Victoria, 1854-2007.

Site[edit | edit source]

The British Hotel was in Creswick.[1] The hotel is now at 47 Albert Street, on the southwest corner with Victoria Street, Creswick.[2]

Google Map reference: -37.4240257,143.8930836

Map[edit | edit source]

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Background[edit | edit source]

The first hotel building was erected in 1854 by James Rogers.[3] Also known as Rosekilly's hotel in 1859.[4]

The hotel ceased trading in 2007.[5]

History[edit | edit source]

The hotel was first licensed in 1854 and the block was purchased after the hotel was built:

This day the postponed government sale of crown lands in the township of Creswick came off in the police office here. There was a fair attendance of buyers, and a spirited competition displaced in the purchase of some eligible lots reaching so high a figure as at the rate of £660 per acre. Several lots were reserved, and of those sold, parties who had stores and domiciles erected upon the premises were generally the successful bidders. The whole proceeds of the day's sale amounted to something near £1300. An upset price of £8 per acre was fixed upon most of the lots, except in the cases of Colliers and Rogers' Hotels, where improvements were set down in the valuations at £4500 and £6500 respectively, and these were knocked down without any opposition at an upset price of £50 per acre.[3]

The first owner was James Rogers, and it was known as Rogers' Hotel, and Rogers' British Hotel, becoming the British Hotel in 1871.[2]

In Febraury 1857 the hotel was advertising its services:

ROGERS'S BRITISH HOTEL, CRESWICK. MR. J. ROSEKILLY, proprietor of the above commodious Hotel, respectfully desires to return thanks for the liberal patronage bestowed upon him for these last three years. This Hotel is situated in a central part of Creswick, on the great thoroughfare from Ballarat to most of the principal diggings. lt has been recently fitted up regardless of expense, and will be found to contain first rate accommodation tor travellers ; a number of Private Sitting and Bed-rooms having been fitted up in a superior style. The Royal Mail Coach runs from this Hotel to Ballarat daily. EXTENSIVE LIVERY STABLES. British Hotel Concert Hall. This Hall is now open for Concerts, Balls, and Public Meeting and will be found on inspection to be one of the largest and best fitted up in the colony.[6]

In June 1859, the publican John Rosekilly, and several other Creswick businessmen formed a deputation to the Council to complain about the state of Victoria Street:

A deputation, consisting of Messrs Crooke, Burton, Carson, Wallace, Roskilly, and Whatman, waited on the Council, and again brought before it the state of Victoria street, between Roskilly's and Carson's hotels. The Chairman pointed out and explained to the deputation the plans and estimates prepared by the Surveyor for getting rid of the sludge, and that the Council would apply to Government for grant in aid. The deputation fully coincided with the means proposed, but in the meantime prayed for a temporary crossing to be made, as the street was now impassable. After the deputation hid retired, a sum of £20 was voted for making a crossing and maintenance for three months, the work to be left to the direction of the Surveyor.[4]

In 1861 the hotel was granted a billiard license.[1]

In February 1862 the publican applied for a special license:

John Rosekilly, of the British Hotel, application for leave to supply refreshments on the recreation ground during the match at Cricket, to be played next Monday, between the Ballarat West and the Creswick Cricket Clubs; granted.[7]

The hotel was offered for lease in April 1863:

To Publicans. TO LET, the BRITISH HOTEL, Creswick Creek, now in the occupation of Mr Rosekilly, who is relinquishing business, owing to ill health. The stock and furniture can be had at a valuation. The hotel is the oldest established on the Creek, and commands a large business. For further particulars apply, to the undersigned, or on the premises.[8]

The hotel was described in the license application in June 1864 as:

JAMES ROGERS, Publican, house in Albert street, Creswick; rented to applicant; three (3) sitting rooms, four (4) bedrooms; now licensed; sign, British Hotel.[9]

In October 1871 heavy rain caused the Creswick Creek to flood the lower sections of Albert Street. One woman was swept over tow miles along the creek before being able to climb out onto the bank. Many of the local people took refuge in the hotel during the storm and flood.[10]

The hotel was extensively damaged by a fire in March 1871:

DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT CRESWICK. (ABRIDGED FROM THE CRESWICK ADVERTISER.) The largest and most destructive fire which occurred on Creswick since the great conflagration of 1869 occurred on Sunday, the 26th. About half-past 12 noon, when most of the citizens were worshipping in the various churches, the sound of the fire-bell struck out faint, but yet, in the time of the day, unmistakable. In the Wesleyan Church, the nearest to the fire, the first sounds struck home, and the mayor, one of the first to leave, rushed out, and finding that it was the British Hotel on fire, rushed back again, and leaving his coat with Mrs. Gardiner, proceeded with a large number in all haste to the scene of the conflagration.

When they arrived, flames were seen issuing from the garret window, the servants' bedroom of the British Hotel. The premises were quickly surrounded with a host of willing hands, who proceeded in the first place to save the stock and furniture of Mr. Walton, who for some weeks past has been laid down with inflammation. Mr. Jebb took care of Mr. Walton, and helped him across to the Commercial Hotel, and a hundred willing hands bore the greater portion of his stock and furniture out of danger. They then proceeded to save the stock of Mr. J. T. Lennon, draper, and the Misses Tranton, and succeeded in saving nearly the whole. The fire meanwhile was raging with great fury in the upper portion of the buildings, overpowering the efforts of the brigade, whose whole force was concentrated on this particular spot. Captain Orr, who was at church when the fire-bell sounded, was quickly on the ground, and directed the proceedings, but from the first it was seen that it was hopeless to attempt to save the main building. The whole was of wood, and so constructed that the brigade had the utmost difficulty in reaching it at all. The chief efforts were therefore directed in confining the conflagration to the block of buildings comprised by the British Hotel, with the shops of Messrs. Walton, Lennon, and Miss Tranton. Happily the wind was favourable, blowing from the south; had it been otherwise, nothing could have saved the whole block on the same side of Albert-street from being destroyed. As it was, it occupied the whole of the attention and time of the brigade, who, after they had got into full play, worked with a will to arrest the flames from taking hold of the main buildings of the Messrs. Williams Brothers, butchers. Their small office nearest to the hotel was pulled down, and this was felt as giving additional security to the main block beyond.

The stores of the Messrs. Williams Brothers, Stahmer, and Janssen were almost cleared out and ready, and Mr. Wrighton, of the Bank of Australasia, had all his papers, etc, packed waiting for a quick exit had the wind turned in that direction. For some time it was feared the buildings of Messrs. Sadgrove and Holley opposite were in danger, and every precaution was taken to save them, but fortunately the wind, as before observed, was favourable, and the labours of the brigade and the host of willing helpers confined it to the first block. The building was the property of the Loyal Prince of Wales Lodge, M.U., purchased some months since, and fitted up and let by the officers of the lodge as hotel and stores. We understand they are insured first in the Liverpool, London, and Globe for £600, and in the National for £400, perhaps a little over a half the worth of the property. Mr. G. Birch, who very recently took the hotel, and has gone to very great expense in connexion with it, was insured in only £200. Very great sympathy is felt for Mr. Birch, being an old resident and deservedly respected, as his loss will be considerable. We understand Mr. Lennon is insured in £500, and Mr. Walton in £300, but what the actual losses are will only be ascertained after examination. The brigade continued their labours to the end, and the afternoon was occupied in suppressing the bursting flames and putting out the burning embers. By evening all the fire was thought to be extinguished, and the crowds gladly got away to their homes, but the flames burst out afresh during the evening, and every effort had to be put forth to keep the fire down.[11]

In June 1871 the vacant block where the hotel and shops had stood was offered for sale.[12]

In October 1897 the hotel was damaged by vandals:

Larrikinism was rife on Saturday night, and considerable damage was done to many properties in the town. The Wesleyan parsonage, the British hotel, and other places were visited by the mob, and fences were pulled down in all directions, and the appearance of Albert street on Sunday morning gave the impression that a storm had raged during the night.[13]

The hotel was near the scene of a fatal accident in October 1901:

FATAL ACCIDENT. CRESWICK, Wednesday A fatal accident occurred opposite the British Hotel this morning. Whilst three sons of Mr. and Mrs R. Hender, of North Creswick, were riding in a dray containing a plough, the younger one, Leslie, who is 11 years of age, fell out, and the wheel passed over his chest. He was immediately removed to Dr. Monday's residence, but expired on arriving there.[14]

The license for the hotel was reviewed in January 1916]].[15] The evidence hearings took place in February 1916:

The first case taken was that of the British hotel, Albert street - owners, Ballarat Trustees, Executors and Agency Co.; licensee Mrs S. McKenna. Mr A. H. Nevett appeared for the owner and licensee. Senior Constable Stevenson deposed that he had been stationed at Creswick for two years. The British hotel was a two-story brick building, of 18 rooms, with eight bedrooms for the use of the public. The hotel was well conducted and well kept. There was good stabling, which was very much in use. He gave details of the distances of the other hotels from the British. He looked on the British as a very necessary hotel. He mentioned some of the hotels not in the list. The chairman said all the hotels were on their trial, for the board could put in those not included in the list.

Continuing the senior constable said there was not a better conducted hotel in the State (referring to the Bridge Hotel). He did think the British was required for the public. To Mr Nevett: The British provided for accommodation of country people, and was as near to the railway station as the American and Farmers' Arms. To the board: Out of the nine hotels in the borough four could well be spared, these being the Star, Railway, Town Hall and Bull and Mouth. He considered the American and the Bridge the best two, and the British next. To the inspector: Either the British or the Farmers' Arms could do the business; the former had the better stabling. Mounted Constable Collins agreed with the senior constable's evidence. To the board: The American and the British were the best for accommodation, and then the Bridge. The Star, Railway and Bull and Mouth are not required. He thought one hotel at Springmount necessary, and thought the Federal at Sulky should be retained.

Thos. Cushin, draper, said he thought the British should not be closed. It was a central hotel, largely used by country people, and was a convenience for his customers and travellers. It would be a pity for the town if it were closed. To the board: Thought it better to close hotels on the outskirts than those in the principal street. He would not close either the British or the Farmers' Arms, and would not look on their closeness as a congestion of hotels. He thought the town would be a visiting resort on account of the mineral spring and swimming basin. Chas. W. Jebb, draper and Mayor of the borough, said the British hotel was centrally situated, and he did not think it advisable to close it. He did not know a hotel with so much stabling. There was no surplus accommodation in the town. He agreed with Mr Cushing regarding the possibilities of the mineral spring, and the forestry school, etc., attracted visitors. To the board; He would not close more than three hotels in the borough. To the inspector: If the British were closed it would cause a congestion at the American. Susie McKenna, married woman, licensee of the British hotel since June last, put in the lease and particulars of her purchases and takings. She gave details of the trade, boarders, stabling etc., and stated if the hotel were not closed she intended to employ a stableman. The board stated the decision would be reserved till Tuesday morning.[16]

In November 1918 the publican, Caroline Tulk, was charged with serving a customer who was drunk:

CRESWICK POLICE COURT. Thursday, November 28. (Before Mr. W. W. Harris, P.M., Dr. T. A. Wilson, J.P.) Licensing Inspector A. Nicholson charged the licensee of the British Hotel, Creswick, with having, on 24th October, supplied liquor to a person in a drunken condition. The defendant, for whom Mr J. B. Pearson appeared, pleaded not guilty. The inspector detailed the evidence to be called for the prosecution. The man served with the liquor had been arrested and fined for being drunk. Senior Constable Stevenson deposed that at about 11.30 a.m. on the 24th October, in company with Constable Mason, he went into a bar parlor at the British hotel, and saw a man named John Bolton sitting on the sofa, being very drunk. He had a whisky and soda in front of him, and a man named Chandler was sitting on a chair, with a glass of beer in front of him. Asked the licensee if she had served Bolton with liquor, and she replied that she had given him a whisky with a view to making him better; she wanted to get him away to Ballarat. He said whisky would not make him better. Constable Mason arrested Bolton. To Mr Pearson: Bolton was very drunk; he was bordering on D.T's. He was bailed out that evening, after the man from the hotel brought him a jug of soup, and was allowed out under the man's control. Mounted Constable Mason corroborated the evidence of the previous witness. Mr Pearson, in his address to the bench, said the first line of defence was that Bolton was not drunk. The senior constable says he was very drunk three times, and then goes one worse. He looked on that as exaggeration, particularly as he let him out on bail the same evening. He quoted cases to prove his contention that the man was not drunk. In her long experience, the licensee had never had a case laid against her. There was also the aspect that as a lodger the man was entitled to drink, and Mr Pearson quoted a case with regard to this point.

Caroline Tulk deposed that she was the licensee of the British hotel. Bolton came to lodge at the hotel on 21st October, and stayed till 1st November. He came home two or three times a little the worse for liquor, and Mr Lee put him to bed. She did not supply him with drink when he was intoxicated. Bolton paid her 31/6 he owed shortly before the police came, and then went out, but came back and asked for a drink for himself and Chandler. He could speak clearly and could stand up. She gave Bolton a little whisky and soda, with a little O.T. He said he was going hack to Ballarat. Sent soup to Bolton after his arrest. To the inspector: Bolton slept at the hotel. He was not under the influence of drink all the time, but went out at times and got drink at other places. Was not aware he could not stand the morning he was arrested. To Mr Pearson: Bolton had stood up in the bar parlor.

David Lee, livery stable keeper at the British hotel, said he saw Bolton in the yard about 10 minutes before his arrest. He was weak, but not intoxicated. He had previously gone out and came back the worse of drink. When he heard that Bolton had been arrested, he said he was not drunk; the man was bad, and the police ought to have known better. Took Bolton some soup in the evening. The senior constable would not allow Bolton out on bail till half an hour later. Bolton walked to the hotel, and was worse than when he saw him in the morning, for he was bad. To the Inspector: Bolton was not intoxicated in the morning, but was suffering from the effects of drink. Did not believe the police had almost to carry him to the lock-up.

The senior constable was recalled, and in reply to the P.M. said Constable Mason had to keep hold of Bolton all the way to the lock-up. He was in a bad state from drink. The P.M. said the bench could not agree, but he did not think the case was worth adjourning. It would be a warning to defendant. The inspector asked that costs be granted, totalling 6/-, and Mr Pearson said they would agree to pay same. The P.M. said in that case he was willing to agree to dismiss the charge.[17]

Post closure[edit | edit source]

The hotel ceased trading in 2007 after it lost its betting licence.[5] In 2015, it was reported that squatters and vandals had been causing damage at the unoccupied hotel building.[18] In August 2018, work began on restoring the hotel and to turn it into a temporary supermarket while a new supermarket building was being constructed.[19]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Community[edit | edit source]

  • January 1897, a farewell for the stationmaster, Mr. D. Duncan, who was moving to Caulfield.[20]

Mining[edit | edit source]

Sporting[edit | edit source]

  • Ballarat Hounds, August 1885, met the hotel before starting their chase from the Clunes Road.[24]
  • Creswick Turf Club, January 1888, meeting to organize annual race meeting.[25]

The People[edit | edit source]

Publicans[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

  • Edward McCarthy, January 1888, groom. Also ran a confectionery shop with burned down.[33]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1861 'PUBLICANS' LICENSES.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 24 June, p. 2 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR., viewed 7 July, 2014,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Save the British Hotel, Creswick : Beyond Melbourne - Melbourne, Victorian & Australian Architecture Topics,, accessed 9 August 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 1854 'CRESWICK'S CREEK.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 20 December, p. 5, viewed 9 August, 2015,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1859 'CRESWICK MUNICIPAL COUNCIL.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 1 July, p. 3. , viewed 17 Jul 2017,
  5. 5.0 5.1 Creswick residents rally to save pub, Ballarat Courier, 25 June 2012,, accessed 9 August 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 1857 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 February, p. 4. , viewed 11 Apr 2018,
  7. 1862 'CRESWICK POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 15 February, p. 2. (SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR), viewed 01 Jun 2017,
  8. 1863 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 22 April, p. 3. , viewed 27 Jan 2018,
  9. 9.0 9.1 1864 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 23 June, p. 3. , viewed 03 Nov 2016,
  10. 1870 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 31 October, p. 6. (Unknown), viewed 04 Jan 2023,
  11. 11.0 11.1 1871 'DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT CRESWICK.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 28 March, p. 7, viewed 9 August, 2015,
  12. 1871 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 6 June, p. 3. , viewed 17 Jul 2016,
  13. 1897 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 October, p. 1. , viewed 03 Jan 2023,
  14. 1901 'FATAL ACCIDENT.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 24 October, p. 6. , viewed 04 Jan 2023,
  15. 1916 'CRESWICK LICENSING DISTRICT.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1878; 1914 - 1918), 19 January, p. 1 Edition: DAILY., viewed 9 August, 2015,
  16. 16.0 16.1 1916 'LICENSES DEDUCTION BOARD.', Creswick Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 29 February, p. 2. , viewed 23 Jan 2020,
  17. 17.0 17.1 1918 'CRESWICK POLICE COURT.', Creswick Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 29 November, p. 3. , viewed 24 Jan 2020,
  18. 2015, McGrath, Gav, Vandals target iconic Creswick pub, Hepburn Advocate, 19 January 2015,
  19. 2018, Elg, Hayley, 'British Hotel to serve as interim supermarket', The Ballarat Courier, 29 August 2018,
  20. 1897 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 January, p. 1. , viewed 01 Jan 2023,
  21. 1885 'MINING INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 April, p. 4. , viewed 08 Feb 2019,
  22. 1885 'MINING INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 28 April, p. 4. , viewed 08 Feb 2019,
  23. 1885 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 14 December, p. 3. , viewed 01 Jan 2023,
  24. 1885 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 24 August, p. 4. , viewed 03 Jan 2023,
  25. 1888 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 January, p. 4. , viewed 01 Jan 2023,
  26. The Geelong, Ballarat, and Creswick's Creek commercial directory and almanac for 1856 : with a map of Geelong, 1856.
  27. 1857 'CRESWICK.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 4 July, p. 3. , viewed 15 Jul 2018,
  28. 1858 'CRESWICK LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 19 June, p. 2. , viewed 10 Aug 2019,
  29. 1862 'CRESWICK POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 June, p. 3. , viewed 31 May 2017,
  30. 1886 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 December, p. 4. , viewed 30 May 2016,
  31. 1896 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 January, p. 4. , viewed 31 Dec 2022,
  32. 1918 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 January, p. 6. , viewed 01 Jan 2023,
  33. 1888 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 6 January, p. 3. , viewed 26 Jan 2020,

External Links[edit | edit source]