Mary Ratcliffe

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Mary Ann Ratcliffe
Born 10 August 1844
Barrabool Hills, Geelong
Died 22 November 1915
Other names Mary Keys
Occupation Publican
Years active 1879-1913
Known for Surface Hill Hotel
Sales Yards Hotel (Geelong)
Millers' Arms
Home town Ballarat
Spouse(s) Edward Keys
Children Julia Maria
Alfred Edward
Mary Emma
Alison Catherine
Emily Vincent
Frederick George
  • Frederick Royds Ratcliffe (father)
  • Catherine Brown (mother)

Mary Ann Ratcliffe was a publican in Ballarat and Geelong, Victoria, 1879-1913.

History[edit | edit source]

Mary Ann was the daughter of Frederick Royds Ratcliffe and Catherine Brown. She was born at Barrabool Hills, near Geelong, on 10 August 1844. Her brother Frederick Royds Ratcliffe and sister Caroline Frances Hager were also publicans in Ballarat.

She married Edward Keys, born c.1831 in Eastington, Gloucestershire, England[1], a blacksmith from Lucky Womans, at St. Pauls Church, Ballarat, on 19 November 1863.[1] in 1863.[1]

They had several children including[2]:

  • Julia Maria, Linton, 1865
  • Alfred Edward, Happy Valley, 1868
  • Amy, Happy Valley, 1870
  • Mary Emma, Linton, 1873
  • Alison Catherine, Linton, 1875
  • Emily Vincent, Linton, 1879
  • Frederick George, Linton, 1882

In December 1879, Edward Keys was granted the publican's license in lieu of transfer for the Surface Hill Hotel at Linton.[3] His license was renewed in December 1881, 1882 and 1883.[4][5][6] In July 1884 Keys became a member of the Ballarat Licensed Victuallers' Association.[7]

In August 1892 the family had moved to the Sales Yards Hotel in Geelong[8]

His daughter Amy died in June 1895:

Last Saturday afternoon the remains of the late Miss Amy Keys, second daughter of Mr Edward Keys, the respected licensee of the Sale Yards Hotel in Geelong West, were buried in the New General Cemetery at Herne Hill. The funeral cortege was a lengthy one, the numerous friends of Mr and Mrs Keys exhibiting by their presence the sympathy felt for the family in their sad bereavement. The coffin was borne to the grave by Messrs A. and W. Toyne, C. Bromley, and W. Cherry, and the pall-bearers were Messrs J. Milnes, C. Cameron, J. Kennedy, W. Hall, J Toyne and A. Tulloch. The burial service was conducted by the Rev. W. Charles Pritchard, and the mortuary arrangements were carried out by Messrs W. B. King and Sons.[9]

In March 1896 they applied for the license for the Millers' Arms in Doveton Street, Ballarat, but Edwards application was rejected as he still held a license for the hotel in Geelong:

An unexpected difficulty arose yesterday at the quarterly sitting of the Licensing Court in connection with the application of Edward Keys for a transfer to him of the license of the Millers’ Arms hotel, Ballarat, from the present licensee, Robert Cummins. Mr Lazarus, who appeared in support of the implication, intimated to the court that Mr Keys was the holder of a license in Geelong, his efforts to dispose of his interest there having failed for the time being. He had concluded his negotiations for the transfer of the license of the Millers’ Arms hotel from Mr Cummins to himself in the full expectation of being able to satisfactorily dispose of his Geelong business, but as he had been unable to do the latter the difficulty had arisen. In reality the Geelong business had been disposed of, but the notices of intention to apply for a transfer had been lodged too late to admit of the application being granted. Mr Cummins in the meantime had left Ballarat and gone to Sydney for the benefit of his health, and as a transfer to Mr Keys was out of the question, Mr Lazarus asked that Mrs Keys should be appointed agent for Mr Cummins to carry on the business until a transfer could be effected at the next sitting of the court. He was enabled to make this application by reason of the fact that he also represented Mr Cummins. His Honor Judge Gaunt pointed out that if Mrs Keys were appointed agent Mr Cummins could not be made responsible in the event of any breach of the law being committed, for he was not present to make the application. Moreover, according to Mr Lazarus’ showing, Mrs Keys would in reality be merely acting for her husband who had already purchased the business. In view of these facts the court declined to grant the application.[10]

Edward died in May 1898:

KEYS. —The Friends of the late Mr Edward Keys (late of Lintons and Geelong) are respectfully invited to follow his remains to the place of interment, the Ballarat New Cemetery. The funeral cortege is appointed to leave his late residence, Millers' Arms Hotel, Doveton street north. This Day (Thursday), at 3.30 o'clock. JORDAN and TIPPETT, Undertakers, Armstrong street south (near City Hall), 28 Eyre street, and 14 Grant street.[11]

In November 1898 Mary took over the license of the Millers' Arms from the executors of Edward Keys.[12]

Mary died on 22 November 1915:

OBITUARY. The death occurred at Geelong on Monday of Mrs Mary Keys, a very old colonist, who was born at Barrabool Hills on the 10th August, 1844. She was married at St. Paul's Church, Ballarat East, and with her husband visited the scene of the Eureka Riot, the morning after the fight. For 30 years she resided in the Linton district, subsequently coming to Ballarat, to the Millers' Arms hotel, Doveton street north, where she resided until two years ago, then retiring in private life at Geelong. The deceased was greatly esteemed by a large circle of friends. She left a family of four daughters, two sons, and 32 grandchildren. Her husband predeceased her 16 years ago.
Her remains were brought from Geelong for interment in the Ballarat New Cemetery. The funeral, which was largely attended, moved from the residence of her son-in-law, Mr J. Tainsh, Doveton street north. The Rev. J. Best conducted services at the house and grave. Wreaths and other floral tributes were sent by many friends. The coffin-bearers were Messrs J. A. Tait, C. Tait, F. Lauder, Chris. Hager, Charles Hager, and R. Wilson. The following were the pall-bearers: — Messrs W. A. Ratcliffe, R. Barrie, R. Paisley, P. Drohan, John Cameron, Arthur Hager, Geo. Nicol, A. T. Darling, T. Carbury, E. Palmer, P. Cram, Privates W. Steele and F. Fiscalini. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs Jordan and Tippett (F. W. Barnes and Son).[13]

KEYS.-The friends of the late Mrs Mary Keys, widow of the late Mr Edward Keys, are respectfully invited to follow her remains to the place of interment, the Ballarat New Cemetery. The funeral will leave the residence of her son-in-law (Mr James Tait) corner of Doveton and Howard streets, Ballarat North this day (Tuesday, 2rd November), at 1.00 JORDAN and TIPPETT. Undertakers, &c. Armstrong St Sth. (nr. City Hall) and ?? Raglan st. sth. Tel. 79. F. W. Barnes and Son, proprietors.[14]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 KEYS, Edward, Victorian Marriage Certificate, 1863
  2. KEYS, Edward, 'Family Tree',,
  3. 1879 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 19 December, p. 4. , viewed 06 Nov 2019,
  4. 1881 'TOWN COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 December, p. 4. , viewed 23 Dec 2017,
  5. 1882 'LINTON ANNUAL LICENSING COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 13 December, p. 4. , viewed 16 Apr 2016,
  6. 1883 'LINTON.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 8 December, p. 4. , viewed 17 Apr 2016,
  7. 1884 'BALLARAT LICENSED VICTUALLERS' ASSOCIATION.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 July, p. 2. , viewed 21 Oct 2018,
  8. 1892 'THE LICENSING ACT.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 8 August, p. 4. , viewed 21 Oct 2018,
  9. 1895 'TOWN TALK.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 17 June, p. 2. , viewed 21 Oct 2018,
  10. 1896 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 12 March, p. 2. , viewed 21 Oct 2018,
  11. 1898 'Family Notices', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 5 May, p. 3. , viewed 18 Aug 2022,
  12. 1898 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 November, p. 2. , viewed 25 Sep 2016,
  13. 1915 'OBITUARY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 24 November, p. 4. , viewed 18 Aug 2022,
  14. 1915 'Advertising', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1882; 1914 - 1918), 23 November, p. 6. (DAILY.), viewed 21 Oct 2018,

External links[edit | edit source]