Commercial Hotel (Armstrong Street)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other Commercial Hotels, see Commercial Hotel.
Commercial Hotel
Town Ballarat
Street Cnr. Armstrong Street and Mair Street
Known dates 1856-1941

The Commercial Hotel was a hotel in Ballarat, Victoria, <1856-1941>

Site[edit | edit source]

The Commercial Hotel was on the south east corner of Armstrong Street[1] and Mair Street.[2][3] It was close to Holloways Sheet Metal works.[4]

In 1914 the Victoria Hotel on the opposite side of the road was renamed Ratcliffes's Commercial Hotel.

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In August 1856 John McDonald who was staying at the hotel was robbed while in bed sleeping:

William Johnston was placed at the bar, charged with stealing £18 in notes, a cheque for £155, and a bill of exchange for £52, from one John Macdonald. Mr Wigley appeared for the prisoner. John Macdonald being sworn said he was a miner working at Sulky Gully. He met the prisoner last night in a public house. He told witness he was pennyless. He paid for the prisoner's supper and bed. The prisoner then took his money. He had £18 in notes and a bank receipt for £155, and a bill of exchange for £52. The cheque and bill of exchange now produced were in the pocket of witness when he went to bed last night. The two purses produced belonged to witness. He went to bed with his clothes on, and the money was in his right hand trouser's pocket. It was about two hours after be had gone to bed that he discovered that he had been robbed. The prisoner, who slept in the same room with him was then gone. Cross-examined by Mr Wigley.—He counted his money when he paid for the bed and supper. He was a little the worse for liquor. He did not hand over his property for any one to take care of. When he awoke he (the prisoner) was gone. When he went to sleep the prisoner and another man were in the room. The prisoner slept for a short time in the same bed as the witness.

Joseph Tait deposed—He was the landlord of the Commercial Hotel on the Township. He saw the prisoner yesterday about half-past four o'clock in the bar of the Commercial Hotel. He asked for a glass of liquor and said he had money. He refused to give him a glass. The prisoner stayed until half-past five o'clock, when M'Donald came in, and on being asked to "shout" by the prisoner he did so. The prisoner and Macdonald had supper together, and the latter paid for the supper. They then after having another glass went to bed. The prisoner came out of the room and went back again. The prisoner came out of the room a second time, and then left the house about an hour after he had first gone to bed. His suspicions being aroused he went into the bedroom and awoke Macdonald, who found that he had been robbed. Witness and his partner went after the prisoner, and found him at the Victoria Hotel, drinking. They asked him if he had any money, but he denied having any. Witness put his hand into the prisoner's pocket, and found the purse belonging to Macdonald, containing the bank cheque and the bill of exchange. The prisoner was then taken, by witness and his partner, to the Camp. Cross-examined by Mr Wigley—The prisoner did not pull his clothes off. It was only half-past eight o'clock when the prisoner left witness's house The watch-house keeper proved that the prisoner was brought to the camp by Mr Tait and another party, and that the property of Macdonald was found upon him. The prisoner was committed to take his at the Ballarat Sessions, on the 22nd of September.[5]

In May 1857, the publican Joseph Tait advertised the benefits of the hotel:

COMMERCIAL HOTEL. Armstrong-street, Township of Ballarat. JOSEPH TAIT, in returning thanks to his friends for their patronage and support since he has been in business, begs to inform them, and the public generally, that he is conducting the business of the above Hotel solely on his own account, and at the same time to solicit future favors. The Hotel has been greatly improved, and undergone thorough repair, and is now replete with every accommodation that can be required. The wines, spirits, and other liquors are of the best quality, and the accommodation for boarders is equal to any in Ballarat. J. T. hopes that his endeavors to please his friends, and the public, will ensure him a continuance of their support, as no pains will be spared to give entire satisfaction to all. An Ordinary every day, at One o'clock. Board 30s. per week.[6]

The hotel was offered for sale in February 1871:

THIS DAY, SATURDAY, 18th FEBRUARY, At Twelve o'clock. MAGNIFICENT CORNER BLOCK, Contiguous to the Borough Hay Market, and in the MOST CENTRAL BUSINESS POSITION IN THE CITY. E. S. CARTY and CO. are favored with instructions from James Maguire, Eeq., to submit to public competition, and sell to the highest bidder, his Superb Property, Known as " Maguire's Commercial Hotel," situated at the corner of Armstrong and Mair streets, and embracing The Whole Range of Buildings Between Mr George Smith's, in Armstrong street and Messrs Batiste and Lucas', in Mair street; the whole forming the Finest Corner Site in Ballarat. To intending purchasers the auctioneers would remark that this property stands unrivalled, from its commanding position, occupying the corner of one of the principal outlets from Ballarat, as well as being the best position to attract the attention of all the respectable and well-to-do farmers of the Learmonth, Creswick, and Smeaton districts. The corner possesses a frontage to Mair street of 70 feet, and an additional and doubly valuable frontage to Armstrong street of 50 feet. Investors undesirous of going into the public line will find that this splendid corner presents an extraordinary opportunity of dividing the block into seven or eight shops, certain to let at a high rental. No Reserve. Terms Liberal. E. S. CARTY and CO., Auctioneers.[2]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1862 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 25 June, p. 4, viewed 17 February, 2014,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1871 'Advertising', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1883; 1914 - 1918), 18 February, p. 3. , viewed 01 Apr 2020,
  3. 3.0 3.1 1868, 'COUNTRY ADVERTISMENTS', The Age, 24 October 1868, pg.4,
  4. 4.0 4.1 Victorian Post Office Directory (Wise), 1888, pg.8
  5. 5.0 5.1 1856 'POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 2 August, p. 2. , viewed 28 Jun 2019,
  6. 6.0 6.1 1857 'Advertising', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 29 May, p. 1. (ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO THE STAR), viewed 24 Jul 2016,
  7. 1858 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 June, p. 2. , viewed 08 Aug 2019,
  8. 1864 'DISTRICT PUBLICANS' LICENSING MEETING.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 2 July, p. 4. , viewed 10 Oct 2016,
  9. 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 24 December, p. 4. , viewed 11 Jul 2018,
  10. 1875 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 December, p. 4. , viewed 25 Aug 2022,
  11. 1891 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 April, p. 2. , viewed 10 Jan 2020,
  12. 1891 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 April, p. 2. , viewed 01 Jun 2019,
  13. 1893 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 16 December, p. 2. , viewed 25 Sep 2016,
  14. 1898 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 November, p. 2. , viewed 25 Sep 2016,
  15. 1899 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 March, p. 2. , viewed 25 Sep 2016,
  16. 1906 'POLICE COURTS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 April, p. 5. , viewed 03 Jan 2020,

External Links[edit | edit source]