George Hotel (Clunes)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names see George Hotel.
George Hotel
Picture needed
Town Clunes
Street Fraser Street
Closed 20 February 1870
Known dates 1870

The George Hotel was a hotel in Clunes, Victoria, <1870.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was in Fraser Street, Clunes.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

There were a series of fires at the hotel at start of 1870. The second fire was on 20 January 1870:

NARROW ESCAPE FROM ANOTHER SERIOUS FIRE AT CLUNES. By Electric Telegraph (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) Wednesday evening. A fire broke out at six o'clock this evening, in an outhouse at the rear of the George Hotel, Frazer street. Fortunately It was speedily extinguished. Had the flames spread half Frazer street must have been consumed, as the whole block consists of wooden buildings.[2]

The hotel was destroyed by a third fire on 2 February 1870:

ANOTHER SERIOUS FIRE AT CLUNES. (From the Ballarat Star.) Another fire, resulting as usual in the destruction of a large amount of property, has taken place in Fraser-street, Clunes. About nine o'clock on the evening of Wednesday, 2nd February, one of the bedrooms at the back of the George Hotel was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was given immediately, and in a few minutes the members of the fire brigade arrived with their engine; a stream of water was poured on to the flames, and every exertion made to check them. The inflammable nature of the buildings was, however, so great that the George Hotel, Weickbardt's tinsmith's shop, and Elliott's office were soon destroyed, and it was only by the most strenuous efforts that the Cornwall and Devon Hotel, and the principal part of Finn's Hall of Commerce drapery store were saved. The conduct of the members of the fire brigade and also of many of the general public on the occasion is certainly deserving of all praise, for, with a most heroic disregard to self, Captain Franklyn, Mr J. C. Weickhardt, and Messrs Smith, Hearn, and Bruce, and a number of others whose names we do not know, were to be seen in spite of the intense heat, some mounted on the blazing buildings directing the hose onto the flames, and others pulling down the burning fragments. For some time there seemed to be every chance that the Cornwall and Devon Hotel and the Northumberland Hotel (wooden buildings) would be both destroyed, the former being separated by only a foot or so from the burning mass of Elliott's office. Mr J. C. Weickhardt, however, stationed himself, hose in hand, between the fire and the house, and although his hands were blistered by the heat, he gallantly maintained his position till the flames were mastered and the hotel saved. The heat was so intense as to wither the evergreens on the verandahs, and also blister the paint on the houses on the opposite side of the street. At times it seemed doubtful whether some of the burning flakes which were wafted across would not set fire to those houses. Mr M'Kenzie, manager of the London Chartered Bank, was on the verandah hard at work zealously endeavoring to keep the wooden front of the house wet, and thus protect it. The origin of the fire is as usual, unknown ; but to say the least, it seems singular that three fires should have taken place in a short time within a few yards of each other, and it is rumored that some persons were so certain from appearances that a fire would take place that night, that they warned the occupants of the Cornwall and Devon hotel and Northumberland hotel to be on the watch. The first of the fires referred to occurred about six o'clock on 17th January ; the second in the afternoon of Tuesday, 1st February; but, being both during the day light, were soon noticed and extinguished. The last instance was unfortunately at night time, and not therefore discovered till too late, Mr Finn and several of his neighbors having gone to bed. It is said that most of the losses will be covered by the insurance. This will not, however, be the case with Mr Finn, for although the most of his building was saved, thanks to the determination and pluck of Captain Franklyn and others, yet his large and valuable stock of drapery must be in a great measure irretrievably damaged. Mr Finn is insured in the Victoria Company for L1200, in the National Company for L400, in the Australasian Company for L500, and in the Sydney Company for L300. The George Hotel was insured for L175 with the Adelaide Company, but the stock and furniture were not. insured. Mr Rankine's stock was insured in the Victoria Company for L200, and in the Alliance Company for L100, the house and shop being insured by Mr Finn for L70, and though not injured by the fire they were pulled down to check its progress. Mr Rankine's stock, which but a short time ago was valued at L700, has been much damaged. The shop lately in the occupation of Mr Fair, and which belonged to Mr Finn, was insured for L50. The shop had been let, and the man, who had gone to Melbourne for his stock, was to have been at Clunes on Thursday. The offices occupied by M. Elliott, stock and sharebroker, and auctioneer, were insured in the Victoria Company for L100, and in the Alliance Company for L100; but all Mr Elliott's furniture and private property, and the books and papers belonging to himself and others in the office, have been destroyed, and it is impossible to calculate the injury which will be caused to many persons by the loss of their papers. Mr Doidge, of the Cumberland and Devon Hotel, will lose a good deal, owing to the destruction which is always caused by the efforts of persons to save property, and the verandah and front of the Northumberland Hotel are very much injured by the precautions which were taken to stop the onward course of the fire.[1]

At nine o'clock on Wednesday evening the fire bell again rang out the dreaded alarm. The fire originated in a bed room at the rear of the George hotel, Fraser street, this being the third time a fire has been discovered at the same place within as many weeks. On the two previous occasions, however, it was discovered before much damage was done, but this time it had a firm hold on the row of wooden rooms, and quickly caught the hotel itself, which was totally destroyed, together with Weickhardt tinsmith. Rankine's boot and shoe store and house, and the offices of Mr Purcell, solicitor, and C. Elliott, sharebroker.[3]

The publican wrote to the paper about the cause of the fires:

THE LATE FIRE AT CLUNES. TO THE EDITOR OF THE COURIER. SIR,— In answer to the paragraph in your issues of the 4th and 8th instant referring to the fact of the late fire thrice occurring on my premises, " The George hotel", allow me to say that I am uninsured. My rent is paid up to the 1st of March next, my license of L25 to the end of the year, and the whole of my liabilities in Clunes and elsewhere do not amount to the sum of three pounds in all. Furthermore, the loss I have sustained through a large portion of my furniture, stock in-trade, clothing, &c., bring destroyed, amounts to upwards of L150. And I had given notice to my landlord of my intention of giving up possession of the premises in question on the 1st of March next. I believe myself that the fires at the rear of my premises on three different occasion were those of an incendiary. But it must be patent to all that the fire in question was most disastrous to me, and that my premises being open to the public was chosen for the purpose either by some person or persons interested by malice or insurance. Trusting that you, in justice to me, will find space far so insertion of this letter, I beg to remain Sir, yours respectfully. Clunes, 8th February, 1870. JOHN TURNER.[4]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1870 'ANOTHER SERIOUS FIRE AT CLUNES.', Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918), 5 February, p. 3. , viewed 30 Jun 2018,
  2. 1870 'NARROW ESCAPE FROM ANOTHER SERIOUS FIRE AT CLUNES.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1882; 1914 - 1918), 20 January, p. 2. , viewed 02 Jul 2018,
  3. 1870 'CLUNES.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1882; 1914 - 1918), 5 February, p. 4. , viewed 01 Jul 2018,
  4. 4.0 4.1 1870 'THE LATE FIRE AT CLUNES.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1882; 1914 - 1918), 10 February, p. 4. , viewed 02 Jul 2018,

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