Commercial Hotel (Rokewood)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names, see Commercial Hotel.
Commercial Hotel
Picture needed
Town Rokewood
Known dates 1900-1925
Demolished c. 1993
Google maps -37.899440, 143.717981

The Commercial Hotel was a hotel in Rokewood, Victoria. <1900-1925>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was in Rokewood.[1] It was on the north west corner of Colac/Ballarat Road and Rokewood/Skipton Road. The hotel was demolished in about 1993.[2] Google Maps location is -37.899440, 143.717981

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In January 1900, a local policemen, John George Ryan, suffering severe concussion following a railway accident, was moved from the police station to the hotel. Mr. Ratcliffe and the local doctor looked after him for two days before he was then moved to Geelong Hospital. In 1902, Ryan took legal action for damages against the railways.[3]

In January 1902, locals decided the price of beer was too high, and agreed to boycott the hotels until the price was reduced:

PUBLICANS BOYCOTTED. ROKEWOOD. Tuesday. On Saturday night an open air meeting was held in the main street for the purpose of concerting means to induce the local hotelkeepers to reduce the price of beer from 6d. to 3d. A deputation was appointed to wait on the publicans. Mr. Stanhutsz, of the Rokewood Hotel, declined to be dictated to, and said he would charge what price he thought fit. Mr. Radcliff (should be Ratcliffe), of the Commercial Hotel, also refused to reduce his price, as trade was dull. Two deputations resorted to two meetings, and it was decided to "strike," and not to drink any beer at the present price. Feeling ran very high, and one person seen drinking beer on Saturday was called a "scab" and "blackleg." The boycott is for ten miles round.[4]

In September 1912, a local man was charged with having stolen a coin from a an Indian hawker at the hotel:

CHARGE OF THEFT DISMISSED. James Dorrington was charged with the larcency from W. Bhuguana, an Indian hawker, of one sovereign. Sergeant Rogerson prosecuted and Mr Mann.appeared for the defendant. W. Bhaguana, hawker, deposed that he came to Rokewood on the 12th inst. and put up at Ratcliffe’s hotel. He knew accused, but did not know him be fore that night. Dorrington said he had no money, and was starving. Witness took him to Mrs Ratcliffe, and told her to give him a week's food, and that the (witness) would pay for it. Witness then went to the bar and shouted, and then said to Dorrington, ”You pay the money out of my bag;” which witness gave him. He thought accused returned the bag to him. Witness then wanted to give his money to Mr Ratcliffe to keep for him. In doing so the bag fell on the floor, and the money fell out of the bag. Witness said to Mr Ratcliffe, "I have lost some money.” Mr Ratcliffe went outside, came back, and gave witness a sovereign. ‘' Witness did not see accused again. Afterwards he told Constable Day. Cross-examined by Mr Mann—l do not remember speaking to Mr Williams or his son, who might have told me that I had been robbed. I don't know how many drinks I had on Friday. I could not say that I had been robbed, as I got my money back. Francis Gaunt contractor, Ballarat, deposed that on Friday last he was at Ratcliffe's hotel, and saw, Bhaguana there, wlio shouted for those present. He held a bag containing money, and asked Dorrington to take out some money to pay for the drinks which was done. Bhuguana tossed the contents of the bag on the side shelf. There were besides silver one sovereign, two half-sovereigns, and one pound note. Accused picked up some coins. He had a sovereign in his hand, which he put in his pocket. Accused went outside. Bhughana said, "I lost a sovereign.” Mr Ratcliffe and witness were there at the time. Accused came back, and said, “Here, is your sovereign. Billie; I did not intend to keep it; it was only taken in fun." He would not take Dorrington to be drunk. He took the matter just as a joke. Accused's action was open during the whole time. It was about half past 4 in the afternoon. F. R. Ratcliffe licensee of the Commercial hotel, Rokewood. said Bhaguana was at his hotel on the Friday; so were Mr Gaunt and Dorrington. Witness served the men with drinks, which Bhaguana shouted. He said to accused "You take 1s 6d out of this bag for me.” Accused did so, putting the coins on the counter after which accused went outside. Bhaguana turned up the bag, and said. "I have lost one sovereign." Witness then went outside, and saw Dorrington, and said to him, "Have you money belonging to that Indian?” He said, "Yes.” Witness said. "Come back with me and hand it back to him". Accused said. "I have the sovereign, but I intend to give it back.” He followed witness back to the parlor, said to the Indian, "I have your sovereign; here it as, I did not mean to take it.” This closed the case. The P.M., in addressing the accused, raid that he had had a very narrow escape on a criminal charge. He discharged the accused.[5]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1907 'Advertising', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 November, p. 10. , viewed 09 May 2016,
  2. Victorian Heritage Database, National Trust,
  3. 1902 'GEELONG COUNTY COURT.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 3 October, p. 4. , viewed 17 Mar 2018,
  4. 1902 'PUBLICANS BOYCOTTED.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 29 January, p. 8. , viewed 18 Mar 2018,
  5. 5.0 5.1 1912 'A DANGEROUS “LARK.”', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 20 September, p. 4. , viewed 17 Mar 2018,
  6. 1905 'TRANSFERRED LICENSES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 5 August, p. 8. , viewed 25 May 2022,
  7. 1918 'LICENSES TRANSFERRED.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 24 September, p. 8. , viewed 18 Mar 2018,
  8. 1925 'LICENSING COURT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 20 January, p. 13. , viewed 14 May 2018,
  9. Australian Electoral Roll, 1927 Victoria, Ballarat, Rokewood

External Links[edit | edit source]