Linlithgow Hotel

From Hotels of Ballarat
Linlithgow Hotel
Picture needed
Town Warrenheip
Known dates 1857-1895

The Linlithgow Hotel was a hotel in Warrenheip, Victoria, <1857-1895>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The Linlithgow Hotel was in Warrenheip.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Fire[edit | edit source]

The hotel was severely damaged by fire on 16 October 1861. A court of inquiry was held at the nearby Victoria Hotel in order to determine the cause, and to deal with the insurance. The jury found that the fire had been deliberately lit, but could not identify those responsible. Damage was estimated to be about £300.

The main witness was a five year old girl, Elizabeth Shelcock, who saw a man light the fire:

Shortly after dinner on the day in question she was going with a drink to her father, who was working, when she saw two men going to the house. The biggest of the two lighted the fire, and the smaller man remained out side the house in the paddock. The big man went near the door. He put his hand in his pocket and took out matches, which he lighted. She saw a wood matchbox in his hand. It was round. She saw him take the matches out and light them, and put them to the end of the house where she could see. She saw the house then take fire, and was sure it was the big man that lighted the fire. They both, then, went away together by the fence. If she saw them again she would know them. She had not seen them since.[2]

The next witness was Elizabeth's mother:

It was about four o'clock p.m. After the house was in a blaze, witness could see it from the door. She resided within 300 or 400 yards of the burned house. The witness called her husband and informed him the "Linlithgow was on fire." Met her daughter then, who told witness that she saw the big man set the house on fire, and that the little man stood in the paddock. She did not ask her who the big man was. The side of the house next to Ballarat was burned first.[2]

The owner of the hotel, John Ritchie, was now running a store at Dolly's Creek. He lived at the hotel:

He had been living in the house, and had left it between ten and eleven o'clock on the morning of the day that the fire broke out Saturday the 16th ult. Himself, his wife, and two children left the hotel that morning. Witness was the last person in it, and left no fire in the house. He had a fire there in the morning, but allowed it to burn out between six and seven o'clock, after partaking of breakfast. He was in the habit of leaving the house empty on a Saturday and returning on Monday.[2]

John Ritchie believed the fire had been deliberately lit as an act of revenge by one of his neighbours, John Taafe. Taafe's son had been caught breaking into the hotel:

Witness (Ritchie) brought Taaffe's boy up for stealing, and then Taaffe brought witness up for assaulting the boy. About a fortnight after this, he caught Taaffe's son coming out of the fowl house, and kept him until his father came, and for this the father "pulled him to Court," but the case was dismissed. He believed that the place was maliciously burned.[2]

John Taafe told the court he had not been in the area when the fire started:

He had been in Ballarat selling potatoes, and was returning when he heard of the fire. His wife and son were with him. It was between five and six o'clock when he heard of the fire...He was afraid of being charged with having burned the place, and went into Otway's, the butcher, and told him to note the time..., as he was apprehensive that Ritchie and Chapman would charge him with having burned the house. Ritchie and Chapman had charged him with most d------ble lies.[2]

Chapman, named by Taafe, was also one of the jurors. He must have been scared of Taafe, and worried about reprisals as he commented that "...he supposed he would have to look out now..."[2]

The hotel publican, James Ritchie described the damage to the hotel: appeared that the fire broke out on the lower end, for it was all burned down.... The wind blew pretty fresh. The flames were about the chimney when the lower part of the house was burned down The brick chimney was near the centre. If the fire caught about the chimney the lower part of the house could have been saved.[2]

Community Involvement[edit | edit source]

Politics[edit | edit source]

  • March 1871, political meeting for Mr. James.[3]

The People[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1863 'BALLARAT WEST PUBLICANS' ANNUAL LICENSING MEETING.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 June, p. 4, viewed 10 February, 2014,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 1861 'INQUIRY INTO THE BURNING OF THE LINLITHGOW HOTEL, AT WARRENHEIP.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 5 December, p. 2, viewed 10 September, 2015,
  3. 1871 'ELECTORAL MEETINGS TO-DAY.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1885; 1914 - 1918), 10 March, p. 3. , viewed 13 Sep 2022,
  4. 1857 'POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 3 October, p. 2. , viewed 14 Jul 2018,
  5. 1859 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 28 May, p. 2. , viewed 18 May 2020,
  6. 1862 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 18 June, p. 2, viewed 12 February, 2014,
  7. 1858 'DISTRICT POLICE COURT.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 June, p. 2, viewed 6 May, 2015,
  8. 1874 'BALLARAT EAST LICENSING BENCH. ANNUAL MEETING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 15 December, p. 4, viewed 17 December, 2015,
  9. VICTUALLERS’ ASSOCIATION.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1886; 1914 - 1918), 13 August, p. 3. , viewed 26 Jun 2023,
  10. 1895 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 December, p. 2. , viewed 16 Mar 2018,

External Links[edit | edit source]