John Brooksbank

From Hotels of Ballarat
John Brooksbank
Occupation Publican
Years active 1857-1864
Known for Halfway House Hotel
Black Bull Hotel
Home town Ballarat
Spouse(s) Hannah

John Brooksbank was a publican in the Ballarat area, <1858-1864>.

History[edit | edit source]

John Brooksbank was married to Hannah ? in 1844.[1]

John Brooksbank arrived in Ballarat in September 1851. In March 1853 he was listed as a jury member at trial at the Buninyong General sessions.[2]

Brooksbank was the publican of the Halfway House Hotel at Carngham in 1857-60.[3][4]

Brooksbank lost his dog in 1857:

LOST from the Half Way House, Smythe's Creek Road, a black bloodhound and kangaroo dog. Anyone detaining him after this date will be prosecuted. J. BROOKSBANK"[5]

He is listed in the Victorian Government Gazette as having paid for a publican's license at the Ballarat office in September 1859.[6]

In June 1860 Brooksbank was granted the licence for the Black Bull Hotel in Lyons Street.[7]

The Half Way House Hotel was offered for sale in September 1860:

JAMES ODDIE & CO. have received instructions from the Mortgagees, to sell I by auction at their rooms, Dana street, on Thursday, 20th September, at twelve o'clock, All that desirable properly known as the Halfway House Hotel, Together with all that piece or parcel of land situate in the parish of Cardigan and county of Grenville, containing 34 acres 1 rood 26 ½ perches, part of allotment 1, section 6, of said parish, situated on the Ballarat and Smythesdale road, and recently occupied by Mr J. Brooksbank. The property consists of a spacious stone building one story high, strong and substantially built, the internal fittings and arrangements are neat and complete. The house possesses all requisite accommodation for a respectable country hotel. In addition are stockyards, stables &c, all well and securely fenced. Terms at Sale.[8]

Brooksbank applied for a license for an unnamed hotel in July 1862, but the application was withdrawn.[9]

Brooksbank still had the license for the Black Bull Hotel in 1864:

"RARE OPPORTUNITY.-FOR SALE the BLACK BULL HOTEL, Lyons street. The proprietor of the above hotel being about entering into another line of business, begs to call the attention of parties looking for a safe and profitable investment, the above having undergone thorough repairs, and is now in good working order and doing a fair share of business. The conditions will, be half cash, balance six, nine, and twelve months. Apply, J. Brooksbank, proprietor, on the premises.[10]

In July 1865, Brooksbank's wife, Hannah, took action in the Ballarat Police Court for maintenance after he had put her out onto the street. In his defence it was claimed she was a drunkard, and was hinted she may have been earning money as a prostitute:

Hannah Brooksbank v John Brooksbank, wife against husband for maintenance; Mr Finn for the plaintiff, and Mr Salter for the defendant. The plaintiff stated she had been married to the defendant for 21 years, and had a large family by him. The defendant about six months ago turned her out of the house, and for the last six weeks she had had nothing whatever to live upon. Cross examined-Her husband had gone to New Zealand several years ago. There was then some money left with her - about £60. She was also in receipt of rents during the time he was away, which amounted to about £3 per week. That, however, was all nothing, considering her expenses, and the rents were lowered slightly. When her husband returned about a year ago, she was slightly in debt. He afterwards commenced to keep the Black Bull Hotel. She was never drunk, but was always able to conduct her business. Would submit almost to anything rather than be called a drunkard. After the defendant left the Black Bull Hotel he took a little house in Humffray street. She then absented her self for two days and nights from him. The agreement produced was one she entered into with him when she separated. She took house after that for herself, but on one occasion remembered going to the defendant's house and taking away some furniture. She had then nothing to eat, and took away the furniture to get food, besides, the defendant's second wife-or rather a woman who was, perhaps, to be so some day-told her to take the things away if she liked. Knew a Mr Trescott, and had rented a house of seven rooms from him. One of these rooms was furnished. Remembered one morning early, about one o'clock, Mr Trescott coming to her place and seeing a man there. There was, however, a female friend with her in her room, and the man was there as it was the only presentable room in the house. Mr Clissold drew attention to a clause in the agreement that showed a strange state of things. The clause referred to set forth that the prosecutrix could marry again if she liked, and thus have two husbands, and the defendant covenanted not to take proceedings against her if she did. Mr Salter sought to explain this by stating that the defendant was driven to extremities to get rid of the prosecutrix. George Trescott, money-taker at the Theatre Royal, stated he had let seven rooms to the prosecutrix, in Humffray street, but she had only one of them furnished. Was in the habit, on account of his business, of coming home late, and remembered seeing a man leaving her room about one o'clock in the morning. Witness was horrified at that, and as he previously had some doubts of the prosecutrix's intentions in keeping the rooms, he at once gave her notice to leave. Mrs Trescott remembered the circumstance alluded to by her husband. On that On that occasion witness went to the prosecutrix's room in order to get a light, but purposely to ascertain if a man was there, but purposely to ascertain if a man was there, when a Mrs Hoton came to the door and opened it partly. Witness said " There's a man in the room, and he must leave." Mrs Hoton replied, " That's what I've been telling him too." In about five minutes afterwards witness saw the prosecutrix leave the room to light the man down stairs. The prosecutrix had then her nightdress and a petticoat only on, with a shawl over her shoulders. Mrs Hoton, when she opened the door, was also only partly dressed. A man named Stone, who had known the defendant for some time as a steady man, deposed that he had on several occasions seen the prosecutrix about the Great Britain and other concert rooms in the Main road, at a late hour at night. He told the defendant of that. A young man named Wellington deposed that he had frequently seen the prosecutrix drunk. At this stage, Mr Finn asked for a remand, to enable his client to bring forward the man who left the room on the occasion referred to, and also other rebutting evidence. The case was accordingly remanded for a week.[1]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The Ballarat Old Identities Medallion presented to John Brooksbank is still in existence - see the medallion at: Victorian Collectios

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1865 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 July, p. 4. , viewed 05 Jun 2019,
  2. 1853 'BUNINYONG GENERAL SESSION.', Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), 22 March, p. 1 Edition: DAILY., Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE GEELONG ADVERTISER AND INTELLIGENCER, viewed 12 May, 2015,
  3. 1858 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 June, p. 2. , viewed 25 Jul 2019,
  4. 1859 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 May, p. 2, viewed 12 May, 2015,
  5. Ballarat Star, 30 December 1857
  6. Victorian Government Gazette, No. 165, 18 October 1859, pg. 2208,
  7. 1860 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 9 June, p. 3. , viewed 10 Sep 2023,
  8. Ballarat Star, 20 September 1860.
  9. 1862 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 4 July, p. 4. , viewed 03 Sep 2020,
  10. Ballarat Star, 22 October 1864.

External links[edit | edit source]