Charlie Napier Hotel

From Hotels of Ballarat
Charlie Napier Hotel
Replica of the Charlie Napier at Sovereign Hill
Town Ballarat
Street Main Road
Opened November 1854
Known dates 1854-1867
Demolished 1861

The Charlie Napier Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, 1854-1867.

Site[edit | edit source]

The Charlie Napier Hotel was in Main Road. In August 1856 it was opposite Hickman and Co., the Original American and Melbourne Shaving and Hair-dressing Saloon.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

The hotel also was known as the Adelphi Hotel. However, the Star newspaper of 9 April 1857 carries both a description of the Adelphi being in Main Road, and an advertisement for the Charlie Napier.[2] Edward Cantor is mentioned as publican of both hotels in 1863.[3][4]

History[edit | edit source]

A note on a drawing of the hotel in Victorian Collections states that the hotel opened November 1854, burnt down 1861, rebuilt in brick December 1861, and finally pulled down 1880.[5]

In June 1855 the theatre at the Adelphi was described as deserted, with entertainment moving to other venues including the Charlie Napier:

Since the desertion and downfall of the stage in the now roofless and bottomless "Adelphi" and "Queen's" Theatres, concerts have become very popular. The saloons of the Charley Napier and Royal Mail draw full houses, to hear the local songs of Thatcher, and the sweet voice of Mrs. Hancock ; as also the humorous and comic performances of Golding, who represents Irish wit and humor in genuine style.[6]

Artist S. T. Gill painted a scene in the hotel's concert room, 1855, showing Charles Thatcher singing.[7]

In January 1855, miners following the Eureka Lead and predicting where it was going, began searching around the hotel:

...a rush a long way in advance of the lead has been made, and claims are marked out near the Charlie Napier hotel, where it is expected to cross the road and run towards the Gravel Pits.[8]

On 1 December 1855 a huge fire destroyed the nearby United States Hotel and many other businesses. The Charlie Napier hotel was in great danger of being burned:

At one period of the fire it was considered impossible to save the Charlie Napier Hotel ; and great praise is due to those who gave their timely assistance to arrest the flames spreading. Wet blankets were thrown over the end nearest the fire, and their being constantly wetted by water thrown over them were the means of saving not only the building, but it may be said the whole of Ballarat, for had the Charlie Napier took fire, it is difficult to tell where the flames would have spread. We observed with admiration the coolness of, and effective assistance rendered by Mrs Underwood during all the excitement. She was seen fetching blankets, wetting them, handing the water, and other wise rendering assistance in such a style as would have done credit to some captain of a fire brigade.[9]

In August 1856 the barman was charged with assaulting a customer:

Charles Sefton was charged with assaulting a man of color, named Henry Hickman. Mr Wigley appeared for the prisoner. Henry Hickman deposed— That he was a hair-dresser, residing on the Main-road. On the night of the 7th he was in the concert-room of the Charlie Napier Hetel, where the prisoner was a barman. He asked the prisoner to pass him the water jug, when he called him a black snot, seized him by the collar of the coat, and struck him twice. Sergeant Robinson then arrested the prisoner. Cross-examined by Mr Wigley. — The prisoner struck witness in the mouth with his fist. He did not make any remark to the prisoner about a summons. He did not call the prisoner any name. Sergeant Robinson deposed—That he saw the prisoner strike Hickman. He heard some words between the parties, but he could not tell what they were. Cross-examined by Mr Wigley—The prisoner and Hickman appeared to be wrangling. Frederick King proved that he was present at the Charlie Napier Hotel on the evening of 7th. Hickman used irritating language to the prisoner, who struck him a blow that would not hurt a fly. His Worship said that considering the provocation the prisoner had received, he should only fine him 1s.[10]

In January 1857 a man was charged with stealing rope from the hotel:

Robert Young, charged with stealing a piece of rope from John Gibbs, of the Charlie Napier Hotel, appeared to be rather stupid from the effects of liquor, and on the evidence of Dr Allison, to the effect that he considered him unwell, feverish, &c., was discharged.[11]

In April 1857 the hotel was advertising for large quantities of rendered fat to run the hotel's gasworks.[2]

During the license hearing in June 1857 there were concerns raised about the hotel's cleanliness:

Mr Inspector Taylor said the bedrooms, when he first saw the house, were defective, and not so clean as might be wished, but since then that had been altered. He believed Mr Gibbs did his best to keep the house in good order. Granted, the Bench remarking that the observations made with regard to the United States must apply to the Charlie Napier, and impressed upon the applicant the necessity of not supplying intoxicated persons with liquor. He must also keep the bedrooms clean all through the year and not only just before licensing day.[12]

In June 1857 a man was charged for stealing money:

OBTAINING MONEY UNDER FALSE PRETENCES.-Joseph Thompson, a man of color, was charged with the above offence. Mr Dunne was with Mr M'Creight, for the prosecution. Mr M'Creight briefly stated the case. Mr John Erlam, examined by Mr Dunne -I am connected with the Charlie Hotel. On the night of the 3rd June, prisoner presented a bill for £2 12s 6d, for fat, from Bath's Hotel. I refused to pay it, as there was no weight specified. Prisoner returned afterwards, saying that he had seen Mr Johnson the book-keeper, who said it was all right. I then paid him. The bill produced is that in question. I have been in the habit of paying the prisoner for fat on previous occasions. John Johnson.-I am clerk and barman at the Charlie Napier. Prisoner came to me on the day in question, and applied for £2 12s 6d for some tallow. He said he had no receipt. He shortly afterwards returned with a receipt. I told him to call next morning. I did not send him to Mr Erlam. I don't know of my own knowledge whether the fat had been delivered or not. John Brightwell -I am ostler and carter at the Charlie Napier. It is my duty to collect fat for the gas works. Have several times received fat from the prisoner. The last was about the 18th ult. I received, and on the 2nd or 3rd June. I always sign a receipt when I take fat from Bath's or any other place. The jury brought in the prisoner guilty. Sentence-six months' imprisonment, with hard labor.[13]

There were problems with the license in March 1860:

Mr Lewis made application to the Bench to transfer the license of the Charlie Napier Hotel to a person named Cantor, to carry on the business for the creditors. The Bench refused the application, as it had not come properly before the Court.[14]

The original building was burnt down in a huge fire in January 1861 that destroyed 60 buildings and badly damaged another 40.[15]:

There were now no hopes of saving the Napier Theatre, and much alarm was felt for the United States Hotel, but the brick building of Mr Jones seemed likely to afford a chance of safety.[16]

A replica of the original Charlie Napier Hotel has been constructed at Sovereign Hill.

In June 1861, the Charlie Napier Company was formed to finance the rebuilding of the hotel, theatre and two shops:

PROSPECTUS OF THE CHARLIE NAPIER COMPANY, BALLARAT. THIS Company is formed for the Purchase of the Site of the OLD CHARLIE NAPIER, and to build thereon an HOTEL, THEATRE, and Two SHOPS, as per plan, in 500 Shares of £10 each. (Under Limited Liability.) The affairs of the company to be managed by a Committee, the building to be invested in Trustees to be elected from the Shareholders. The promoters have a large number of Shares already applied for, and they calculate on an income of 20 per cent on the capital invested, as shown by the following calculation: The cost of building complete, with purchase of ground, £5000, producing a rental from Theatre, Hotel, and Shops, £25 per week. A deposit of £2 per share to be paid on allotment, and balance of calls as the work proceeds. Plans of the buildings may be seen at the office of the undersigned, to whom immediate application for the remaining Shares should be made. CHAS. DYTE, Auctioneer, Main Road.[17]

On 20 July 1861, Charles Dyte offered the hotel and fixtures for sale.[18]

In May 1867 a young man was charged with taking a pewter drinking pot from the hotel:

A DRUNKEN FROLIC.—Wm. Valentine was charged with having, on Saturday night, stolen a pewter pot from the Charlie Napier hotel, Main Street. Josiah Halliwell, landlord of the hotel, stated he did not wish to press the charge, as the accused, whom he had known for a length of time as a young man of respectable character, had been the worse of liquor at the time. The police, however, decided on going on with the case, but it afterwards appeared, as the landlord stated, that the accused had no felonious intent in taking the pewter pot, whatever might have been his hostile intentions with it against some men with whom he had been quarrelling and in whose company he lost his hat. He was accordingly discharged with a caution.[19]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

The Charlie Napier Hotel organised a charity benefit evening in 1855 for the orphaned child of John Law:

CHARLIE NAPIER HOTEL. CHARITABLE BENEFIT. THE sudden decease of the late Mr John Law, so well known as connected with the above hotel, having left an orphan daughter perfectly destitute, the Proprietors beg to announce that they will give a GRAND NIGHT. At the BALLARAT CASINO FOR HER BENEFIT. On Monday, 1st October Next. From the well-known charitable feelings of the Ballarat public, the proprietors of the Charlie Napier Hotel expect A FIRST-RATE NIGHT. Admission for This Night Only, 2s 6d each.[20]

In December 1858 various entertainments were provided:

CHARLIE NAPIER HOTEL.-This is the third year of the establishment of wrestling matches in the Cumberland and Westmoreland styles on Ballarat, and there is no apparent nagging in the projectors of this entertainment on Ballarat on the present occasion. The annual match will commence to-day in the Charlie Napier Theatre, and to judge by the large number of competitors, there will be no lack of amusement. Prizes to the amount of £100 will be given, and we trust the manly sport will be duly patronised.[21]

The People[edit | edit source]

Publicans[edit | edit source]

  • In 1854 the publican was Robert Underwood. He was declared insolvent in 1855, and his business partner Mr. Gibbs, and Thomas Curle took over as part payment of the debt.[22]
    • In 1856 John Gibbs is listed as publican in the Geelong, Ballarat and Creswick's Creek Directory.[23]
  • In May 1857 the publican, John Gibbs, stood for election to represent Ballarat East.[24] Gibbs license was renewed in June 1857.[12]
    • In June 1857 he was granted a night license [25]
    • In June 1858 his license was renewed[26] and in July 1858 he was again granted a night license for the hotel.[27]
    • In December 1858 Gibbs was fined 10s for having an unlicensed bagatelle table.[28]
    • Gibbs' license was renewed in June 1859.[29]
  • In May 1860 the license was granted to Daniel Symons.[30]
  • In June 1863 the publican was Edward Cantor.[3] His license application in June 1863 was postponed.
  • In May 1867 the publican was Josiah Halliwell.[19]

Others[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1856 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 14 August, p. 1. , viewed 07 May 2019,
  2. 2.0 2.1 1857 'Advertising.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 9 April, p. 3, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  3. 3.0 3.1 1863 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 18 June, p. 4, viewed 4 February, 2014,
  4. 1863 'GEELONG INSOLVENT COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 4 September, p. 4. , viewed 03 Aug 2016,
  5. Victorian Collections: Charlie Napier Hotel - Victorian Collections, accessdate: September 4, 2016
  6. 1855 'BALLARAT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 21 June, p. 4. , viewed 21 Jul 2018,
  7. Gill, Samuel Thomas. 1855, Concert room, Charlie Napier Hotel, Ballarat, June, '55, Thatcher's popular songs , viewed 4 September 2016
  8. 1855 'BALLARAT.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 26 January, p. 2. , viewed 17 Jul 2018,
  9. 1855 'BALLARAT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 7 December, p. 5. , viewed 30 Dec 2016,
  10. 1856 'POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 9 August, p. 2. , viewed 17 Aug 2021,
  11. 1857 'POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 1 January, p. 2. , viewed 15 Mar 2017,
  12. 12.0 12.1 1857 'GENERAL ANNUAL LICENSING MEETING.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 13 June, p. 2. , viewed 10 Aug 2017,
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 1857 'COURT OF GENERAL SESSIONS.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 June, p. 2. , viewed 28 Apr 2019,
  14. 1860 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 March, p. 3. , viewed 12 Jun 2024,
  15. 1861 'THE CONFLAGRATION ON THE MAIN ROAD.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 January, p. 2. , viewed 29 Dec 2016,
  16. 1861 'GREAT CONFLAGRATION AT BALLARAT.', Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 - 1917), 14 January, p. 3. , viewed 13 Jul 2022,
  17. 1861 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 7 June, p. 3. , viewed 03 Jun 2017,
  18. 1861 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 16 July, p. 3. , viewed 03 Jun 2017,
  19. 19.0 19.1 1867 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 May, p. 4. , viewed 29 Apr 2019,
  20. 1855 'Advertising.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 22 September, p. 1, viewed 28 December, 2015,
  21. 1858 'CHRISTMAS AMUSEMENTS ON BALLARAT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 December, p. 2. , viewed 12 Jun 2016,
  22. 1855 'INSOLVENT COURT.', Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), 19 December, p. 2 Edition: DAILY, viewed 6 May, 2015,
  23. The Geelong, Ballarat, and Creswick's Creek commercial directory and almanac for 1856 : with a map of Geelong, 1856.
  24. 1857 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 29 May, p. 1. (ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR), viewed 24 Jul 2016,
  25. 1857 'LICENSING MEETING.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 27 June, p. 3. , viewed 25 Dec 2018,
  26. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 16 June, p. 2. , viewed 04 Dec 2019,
  27. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 15 July, p. 2. , viewed 05 Nov 2017,
  28. 1858 'EASTERN POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 13 December, p. 4, viewed 25 October, 2014,
  29. 1859 'AFTERNOON SITTINGS.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 14 June, p. 3. , viewed 13 Sep 2019,
  30. 1860 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 23 May, p. 2. , viewed 06 Dec 2019,
  31. 1872 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 April, p. 2. , viewed 18 Sep 2018,

External Links[edit | edit source]