Licensing Court 1915 hearings

From Hotels of Ballarat

The License Reduction Board held a number of hearings during 1915 that led to the closure of about 40 Ballarat and district hotels.

The hearings[edit | edit source]

The Ballarat hearings were held over two weeks in Ballarat, and a large number of hotels were required to justify their existence. The Licensing Act had determined a formula which calculated the number of hotel licenses per head of population:

Constable William Ward, of Ballarat North, and with 15 years' local experience, deposed that the population of Ballarat West licensing district was 17,435, and there were 60 hotels in existence, or 30 in excess of the number allowed for the population.[1]

LICENSE REDUCTION. HOTELS FOR THE MELTING POT. BOARD SITS AT BALLARAT. Messrs. J. Lock (chairman), R. Barr, and T. F. Cumming, with Mr W. H. Banks as secretary, constituting the Licenses Reduction Board, inaugurated what is expected to be a nine-days' season in Ballarat this evening. The Board has come to Ballarat to determine whether or not the following hotels shall be closed in accordance with the Licenses Reduction Act, the, owners and occupiers being called on to show cause why their hotels should not be closed:—

BALLARAT WEST DISTRICT[edit | edit source]

BUNGAREE DISTRICT.[edit | edit source]

BUNINYONG DISTRICT.[edit | edit source]

DOWLING FOREST DISTRICT.[edit | edit source]

SEBASTOPOL DISTRICT.[edit | edit source]

WARRENHEIP DISTRICT.[edit | edit source]

It was announced that the license of the Western Ocean Hotel, Skipton street, had been surrendered. Inspector Sampson conducted inquiries on behalf of the police. The Board will not deliver judgment, or announce awards until the close of the sittings. Over half an hour was occupied at the outset in rearranging fixtures to suit the convenience of the counsel and clients, the chairman courteously meeting the requirements of all concerned as far as possible[1]

Daylesford, Franklin and Bullarook Licensing Districts[edit | edit source]

The lists for these districts were published in February 1915[2]:

LICENSED REDUCTION BOARD DEPRIVATION SITTINGS. At a sitting of the Licenses Board held at the Court of Marine Inquiry, on Thursday, the following lists of hotels, as submitted by Superintendent Bennett, to be taken at deprivation sittings in the Daylesford, Franklin, and Bullarook Licensing Districts, to be held at the Court House, Daylesford, commencing Tuesday, March 9, were announced:—

Daylesford Licensing District[edit | edit source]

Franklin Licensing District[edit | edit source]

Bullarook Licensing District[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of the hearings, Superintendent Bennett stated the need for reduction:

Messrs Lock (chairman), Barr and Cumming, with Mr W. H. Banks as secretary—sat at the local Court House on Tuesday...At the outset, Superintendent Bennett gave evidence to the effect that there was a population of 1435 in the Bullarook Licensing District, which was entitled to four hotels, while there was an excess of two; the population of the Daylesford Licensing District was 3115, which was entitled to 8 hotels, while there was an excess of 7; the population of the Franklin Licensing district was 4840, which entitled it to 11 hoteis, while there was an excess of 8. He was well acquainted with the districts, having had two years' experience of them. All of the hotels had been well conducted.[3]

The Ballarat Courier ran an editorial comment on the agenda of the License Reduction Board, and what it was really trying to achieve as an outcome:

A good many hotel licences in Ballarat West will not renew their existence with the new year, and strenuous fights are being put up at the Licences Reduction Board to ward off the impending doom. One of the arguments frequently brought forward to support of the retention of a licence is that good accommodation is provided in the way of meals and beds. The Board yesterday expressed an opinion that if there was such a demand it would be supplied by coffee palaces and lodging houses were there to be not sufficient hotels to meet it. It would be interesting to know exactly what the Board conceives its functions to be beyond the mere reduction in the number of hotels. Is it to wipe out the hotels that do least liquor trade and concentrate it in those that seem to offer the greatest attractions? Or is the Board an instrument by which the consumption of drink is to be discouraged and mere drink shops weeded out in favor of places that answer more or less to the idea of the working man's club? It is difficult to gather from the line of examination pursued by the Board what its motive really is.[4]

Closures[edit | edit source]

The Ballarat Evening Echo reported on the hotels that were closing on 31 December 1915:

DELICENSED BALLARAT HOTELS THAT PASS OUT - TO-NIGHT. About forty hotels in Ballarat and district will be deprived at 9.30 p.m. to-night of their licences, in accordance with a recent determination of the Licenses Reduction Board. The compensation to both owners and licensees totals about £15,000. Since the compensation sittings of the board at Ballarat, four district licences have been surrendered, including those of the

The hotels to be permanently closed to-night are as follows :

Ballarat West, Licensing District:[edit | edit source]

Bungaree Licensing District:[edit | edit source]

Buninyong Licensing District:[edit | edit source]

Dowling Forest Licensing District:[edit | edit source]

Sebastopol Licensing District:[edit | edit source]

Warrenheip Licensing District:[edit | edit source]

The transfer of stocks of spirits, beer, etc., remaining unsold in the delicensed hotels to persons authorized to receive them, will take place on New Year's Day. It is probable that the majority of the hotels deprived of their licences will be utilised as grocery stores, fruit shops, and general trade depots.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1915 'LICENSE REDUCTION', The Evening Echo (Ballarat, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 27 April, p. 4. (FOURTH EDITION), viewed 09 Feb 2018,
  2. 1915 'LICENSES REDUCTION BOARD', Daylesford Advocate, Yandoit, Glenlyon and Eganstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 6 February, p. 3. , viewed 03 Jun 2018,
  3. 1915 'LICENSES REDUCTION BOARD', Daylesford Advocate, Yandoit, Glenlyon and Eganstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 11 March, p. 3. , viewed 19 Dec 2019,
  4. 1915 'The Ballarat Courier.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1884; 1914 - 1918), 5 May, p. 2. (DAILY.), viewed 16 Aug 2021,
  5. 1915 'DELICENSED', The Evening Echo (Ballarat, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), 31 December, p. 4. (FOURTH EDITION), viewed 04 Feb 2018,