Eunice Petch

From Hotels of Ballarat
Eunice Petch
Born c.1874
Died 11 October 1939
Occupation Publican
Years active 1906-1936
Known for Speedwell Hotel
Wine saloon, Main Road
Cattle Yards Hotel
Home town Ballarat
Spouse(s) Thomas Petch
Children Hilda
Eunice (1899)
Robert Edward
  • Thomas Williams (father)
  • Maria Parsons (mother)

Eunice Petch was a publican in Ballarat, <1906-1936>.

History[edit | edit source]

Eunice Petch was born c.1874, the daughter of Thomas Williams and Maria Parsons.[1]

She married Thomas Petch in Victoria in 1895.[2] They had several children including:

  • Hilda
  • Eunice, born 1899, Ballarat East[3], died 1983, Windsor, Victoria.[4]
  • Robert Edward, born 1903, Bendigo.[5]
  • Mark
  • Jack
  • Bettie

Thomas Petch was the licensee of the Speedwell Hotel at Little Bendigo, on the outskirts of Ballarat. Eunice operated a small shop attached to the hotel. She applied for a Gold Buyer's License in January 1906:

At the City Court to-day Eunice Petch applied for a gold buyer's license. The application was opposed by the police on the grounds that the applicant's husband had recently been fined for three breaches of the Gold Buyers Act, and that by granting Mrs. Petch a license it would to all intents and purposes be the same as licensing Petch. As the application was faultily worded it was struck out to enable Mrs. Petch to make a fresh application.[6]

GOLD BUYER'S LICENSE. At the County Court to-day the adjourned application of Eunice Petch, wife of Thos. Petch, of the Speedwell Hotel, Little Bendigo, was heard. Objection was taken by Sub-inspector Balchin that it was practically an application for her husband to whom a license had been refused by the Court. After the applicant had been severely questioned about her knowledge of gold and its value, the application was granted by a two to one majority.[7]

In April 1908 her application for a Gold Buyer's License was refused:

GOLD BUYERS' LICENCES. POSITION OF HOTELKEEPERS. FEMALE APPLICANTS AT BALLARAT. BALLARAT, Wednesday. Applications for licences under the Gold Buyers Act engaged the attention of the Ballarat East court to-day. The applicants were Mrs. Eunice Petch and Miss Sheridan, both of whom live at Little Bendigo. Mr. Mark Lazarus appeared for the first named and Mr. Pearson for the latter. It was shown that both applicants had been previously engaged in gold buying at Little Bendigo. Mrs Petch is the wife of an hotelkeeper, and occupied special premises for her business. Miss Sheridan is the daughter of a proprietress of a public house. Both were described as reputable buyers of excellent character. At the conclusion of the evidence Mr. H. M. Murphy, P.M., said he thought Senior Constable Rogers, of the Little Bendigo sub-district, had not in his report covered every particular in regard to the act. The senior constable replied that one point raised by the P.M. he did not think necessary to take into consideration. The point was, "Why was the former licence held by Mr. Petch transferred to his wife?" Mr. Murphy, in announcing the decision of the court, said he considered that there was an intention towards an evasion of the act, which said, "No gold shall be deposited in any hotel." He then pointed out that Miss Sheridan had said the gold was kept overnight at her mother's hotel. Mr. Pearson, in reply, said he thought the act did not convey that meaning. In such circumstances a bank manager could not take gold for safety into his bedroom at an hotel. The police magistrate said that he did not intend granting any licences in this sub-district when the requirements of the act had not been fully complied with. Messrs. Pearson and Lazarus at this stage withdrew the applications.[8]

With the gold license refused, the Petch's were unable to help her mother. This led to a court action to force her to contribute to her mother's pension:

At the City Police Court yesterday Mrs Eunice Petch, a young married woman, residing at Little Bendigo, was called upon to show cause why she should not contribute towards the old pension of her mother. Sergeant Beckman conducted the case on behalf of the police, and Mr Mr Lazarus appeared for the defendant. Defendant stated that she was in business, but was doing next to no trade. Her store, was attached to her husband's hotel, but trade had become very bad since she had lost her gold buyer’s license. She owned a house, which brought in 7s 6d per week, and also had £300 bearing interest at 6 per cent. The money that came from her property went to the up-keep of the house. She was the only one of her family who had ever contributed to her mother's pension. There were sisters and brothers who she thought ought to contribute also. Three of her sisters were married, and their husbands were working. Another sister was in service earning 8s per week. To Sergeant Beckman defendant said that her husband had found about £200 worth of gold in a claim at Little Bendigo, but his expenses at present were heavy, as he had to put up a plant and pay wages. Mr H. M. Murphy, P.M., said that Mrs Petch was in a position to contribute to her mother's support, and he made an order against the defendant for 5s per week.[9]

In January 1913 it appears that Thomas failed to pay the license fee and Eunice became the licensee:

Rarely does the licensee of an hotel fail to pay the renewal fee, but a case of this nature came under the notice of Mr. S. J. Goldsmith, P.M., on Friday. The Brewing Company, acting under section 97 of the act, paid the license fee as owner of the hotel, and nominated Eunice Petch as licensee of the Speedwell Hotel, at Little Bendigo. The transfer was granted.[10]

In June 1913 she was fined for Sunday trading:

SUNDAY DRINKING. LICENSEE’S HUSBAND AT FAULT. What was termed stupidity by Mr Goldsmith, P.M., at the Ballarat East Police Court yesterday morning entailed upon Mrs Eunice Petch, licensee of the Speedwell hotel, Little Bendigo, a fine of £5. She was charged with having had her bar door open, and having sold liquor on Sunday, 1st June, and her husband appeared to plead guilty on her behalf. After hearing the evidence of Senior-constable Rogers, who found three men in the bar parlor with glasses of beer on the table and the bar door open, the P.M. said it was evident Betts had gone up with election news, and the licensee’s husband had invited them to go in and have a drink. Such stupidity did not seem like a defiance of the law, but it bound the licensee. As there were no previous convictions a fine of £5 was imposed for bar door being open, and the other charge was allowed to be withdrawn. The P. M. concluded by advising Petch not to be guilty of such stupidity again.[11]

In July 1914 she was charged with Sunday trading:

SUNDAY TRADING ALLEGED.Eunice Petch, licensee of the Speedwell hotel was charged with Sunday trading on 28th June...Eunice Petch, the defendant, said that when she was told that Simpson was at the hotel she went to the back door, and he was there speaking to Scatcherd. He asked her what the four men were doing on the premises, and she told him she did not know they were there. She also told him that the old gentleman might have called to see Mr Petch about work. The P.M.: Who exercises control on Sunday-- I do. How do these people get on the premises?-The back door might have been open. The back door of the licensed premises? -The children go in and out. How do they get to the back door?- They come through the side gate leading to the road. What is the side gate left open for, is it for the purpose of the family?- Yes, it is the only gate. The case was dismissed, as the Bench held there was not sufficient evidence to convict.[12]

In the 1920s Petch and her husband were running a wine saloon in Main Road, Ballarat. In January 1923 she was robbed:

In the city court on Saturday, Hugh Ross and Patrick Keys were each fined £5 or in default, 14 days imprisonment, for having robbed the till of Eunice Petch, wine saloon proprietress, Main-road, Ballarat East. Prior convictions were recorded against accused.[13]

In April 1924 she was charged with breaches of the licensing laws:

Eunice Petch, licensee of a wine saloon in Main street, was yesterday charged with having disposed of liquor during prohibited hours on 17th March, and also, with having had persons on the premises without legal excuse. Inspector M‘Leod prosecuted, and Mr D. Clarke appeared for the defence. Constable Roberts said that he and Constable Hawkes visited the wine shop. In a parlor was a man. On the landing was another man, who was very drunk, sitting on a potato box, with a bottle of wine in his pocket. The licensee said to her husband: “You had no right to let him in. He had enough when he left before six.” In the storeroom, the door of which was open, a cask of wine was on tap while there were three glasses on a table, all being wet with wine. The bar was locked. The lodgers’ book was not entered up. To Mr Clarke—A man named David Halliday, who was on the premises, said he was stopping there for the night. Mrs Petch said that she had sold Halliday the bottle of wine before 6 o'clock. Constable Hawkes gave general corroborative evidence.

Clarke said that the evidence might be suspicious if there were no explanation, but he could satisfy the bench that there was no ground for that suspicion. Halliday had been at the wine saloon before 6 o’clock, and upon going home had a tiff with his wife, and returned to the saloon. Petch had a traveller who took orders; and was preparing orders in the storeroom when the police arrived. The glasses were used by Petch to examine the wine in. No drink was served to anybody. Thomas Petch said he was going upstairs to see Halliday to bed when the police knocked. Previously he had been in the storeroom bottling and (using the glasses to) test the clarity of the wine, and had not been used for supplying drinks in. Halliday was ‘“pretty full” when he came back. Witness gave him a small bottle of wine to take to his room with him. To Inspector M‘Leod—He did not enter Halliday's name in the lodgers' book, because it was not handy at the time. He did not remember his wife telling him that he should not have allowed Halliday in. Eunice Petch said that she had told her husband that he should not have allowed anybody in after 6 o’clock. David Halliday, a laborer, employed on the sewerage works, said that he “‘had 'a few” at the wine saloon, and took a bottle home with him. Mr Clarke - Did you get a warm reception when you got home? Witness - Just the ordinary one when your wife thinks you are not all right. Continuing his evidence, Halliday denied that he had been supplied with a drink after he went back. The bottle produced had been given him by Petch. Edward Wren said that on 17th March he was stopping at the wine shop, having been there for about a week. Halliday was upstairs before the police knocked. Alexander, Bennett ranger for Ballarat East, said that he had visited the place to see young Petch about a horse. Thomas Petch had been bottling wine. Witness did not have any drink there. The cases were dismissed.[14]

In February 1925 she transferred the wine bar to John Williams, and then took over the license of the Cattle Yards Hotel from Blanche M. Tucker.[15]

In February 1934, she was scammed by a man claiming to be selling clocks for Elec-clock Co.[16]

In June 1936, she was fined for breaching licensing laws:

Eunice Petch licensee or the Cattle Yards Hotel was fined £5 in respect of an unfastened bar door and £1 for having allowed persons to be on the premises on Sunday May 17.[17]

Petch died on 11 October 1939:

PETCH-On the 11th October, 1939, at her residence, Cattleyards Inn, Ballarat, Eunice, widow of the late Thomas Petch, and loving mother of Hilda (Mrs. F. Kildea, Canberra), Eunice (Mrs. R. Hanbury), Robert, Mark, Jack, and Bettie (Mrs. J. Hodgins) aged 65 years. (No flowers by request.)[18]

EUNICE PETCH, widow, of the late Thomas Petch, are respectfully informed that her funeral will leave her residence, Cattle Yards Inn, Ballarat, THIS DAY (Thursday), October 12, at 3.30 p.m., for the Ballarat New Cemetery. No flowers, by request. F. W. BARNES and SON, Funeral Directors, 14 Armstrong-street south, Ballarat. Phone, 79.[19]

Eunice Petch, late of Cattle Yards Hotel, Alfredton, licensed victualler, left £2500 realty and £490 personalty, to her children.[20]

In October 1940 the license for the Cattle Yards Hotel was transferred from A. N. Petch and Eunice Hanbury, executors of Eunice Petch, to Eunice Hanbury.[21]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Australian Death Index, Victoria, 1939, Ref. No. 18020
  2. Australian Marriage Index, Victoria, 1895, Ref. No. 3101
  3. Australian Birth Index, Victoria, 1899, Ref. No. 571
  4. Australian Death Index, Victoria, 1983, Ref. No. 04141
  5. Australian Birth Index, Victoria, 1903, Ref. No. 26856
  6. 1906 'GOLD BUYER'S LICENSE.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 13 January, p. 4. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  7. 1906 'GOLD BUYER'S LICENSE.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 27 January, p. 2. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  8. 1908 'GOLD BUYERS LICENCES.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 16 April, p. 10. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  9. 1908 'LATEST FORECAST.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 May, p. 2. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  10. 1913 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 18 January, p. 20. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  11. 1913 'SUNDAY DRINKING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 12 June, p. 4. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  12. 1914 'SUNDAY TRADING ALLEGED.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1883; 1914 - 1918), 16 July, p. 6. (DAILY.), viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  13. 1923 'COUNTRY NEWS.I', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 15 January, p. 6. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  14. 1924 'LICENSING CASES', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 April, p. 8. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  15. 1925 'LICENSES TRANSFERRED.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 10 February, p. 17. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  16. 1934 'FALSE PRETENCES CHARGES', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 1 February, p. 3. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  17. 1936 'BALLARAT AND DISTRICT.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 24 June, p. 10, viewed 5 July, 2015,
  18. 1939 'Family Notices', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 12 October, p. 8. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  19. 1939 'Advertising', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 12 October, p. 1. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  20. 1939 'WILLS AND ESTATES', The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), 16 November, p. 3. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,
  21. 1940 'Hotel Transfers Granted', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 1 October, p. 9. , viewed 22 Jun 2019,