Morning Star Hotel (Bungaree)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names, see Morning Star Hotel.
Morning Star Hotel
Picture needed
Town Bungaree
Street Melbourne Road
Known dates 1873-1927

The Morning Star Hotel was a hotel in Bungaree, <1873-1927>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was described as being in North Melbourne Road, Bungaree in 1877[1], and in Warrenheip in 1873.[2]

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In July 1923 a Ballarat hotel broker took the owner of the hotel to court, claiming compensation for loss of commission when the owner refused to go through with a proposed sale. It was a long hearing, and it would seem that both the owner and the selling agent acted very unfairly towards each other. The owner wanted to sell or lease the hotel, and its associated butchery business, but the agent had found a potential lessee for the hotel, a widow (Mary Ann Kenna of the Brewery Tap Hotel) with no butchering experience:

CLAIM FOR COMMISSION COUNTY COURT CASE. ALLEGED SALE OF HOTEL. In the County Court yesterday before his Honor Judge Dethridge, John Edward Morrissey, hotel broker, sued Robert McClymont, owner of the Morning Star hotel, Bungaree, for £6O, commission alleged to be due on the sale of defendant's business, effected by the plaintiff. Mr H. G. Morrow appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr F. R. Coldham (instructed by Nevett and Nevett) for the defendant. Mr Morrow explained that the plaintiff claimed 5 per cent, commission on the sale of the defendant’s business at £1200. Mr Coldham said that the defence was a denial of any contract to sell the lease and that alternatively, if the purchaser was introduced, the defendant had a bona-fide objection to such purchaser.

John Edward Morrissey, hotel broker, in Doveton street, Ballarat, said he had known the defendant 15 or 200 years. Several times he had seen the defendant towards the end of 1922 about the sale of his hotel. On 10th January he called at M'Clymont’s hotel, and spoke to the defendant. The defendant, said he was prepared to sell the freehold of the place for £5500. He said that be would be prepared to grant a lease, and said that £1000 or £1200 would be fair ingoing. He then said £1200 would be the price, with £3 a week rent, and a five years’ lease. M’Clymont said he had been in the place 40 years, had a butcher’s shop where they killed 50 sheep and two bullocks a week, with eight pigs at Christmas. His Honor —What has the butchery to do with it ? Do you say the lady was not competent to carry on the butchery? Mr Coldhnm—Yes, we do. The butchery is the most important part of the business.

Witness (continuing) said there was a slaughterhouse which was a valuable asset, not being in a meat area; that there were waterworks which cost £200; compensation, £65 : the weekly takings were £40 to £45 a week; that there was accommodation for 15, and he had frequently accommodated 10; and that if necessary, a store could be used attached to the place. He saw M'Clymont later on that day after tea. He said to M’Clymont—'‘If I get a buyer, will he be able to carry on the butcher’s shop himself, or sub-let it, and as regards the land, would the tenant be allowed to work the land or lease it?’ M‘Clymont answered, "Yes, that could be done.” On, 7th February he saw Mrs Kenna who asked if he had the Morning Star hotel, Bungaree, on his books. He told Mrs Kenna the terms. Before taking Mrs Kenna out to inspect the place he went out again to M'Clymont’s. Witness told him that he wanted particulars in writing. He also asked what furniture M'Clymont was excluding. A Mr Curtis an insurance inspector, went with witness. He wrote out a document authorising him to sell the business on the terms mentioned. He asked M'Clymont to put his name to it. M'Clymont said "Why should I sign it?" Witness said “To keep faith it would be advisable to have it signed." M'Clymont then signed the authority. Witness later said to him, "Would it not be a good idea to give an option for another five years for £500? " He said “Yes, I'll agree to that?" Witness said, "All right, I will take your word for that. You need not sign for that." Mr Curtis witnessed the document the following day at his office. He took Mrs Kenna to the hotel to inspect it. Mrs McClymont showed them both right through the house, the gardens, and everything. The butcher's shop was just looked into. Mrs Kenna said, "I am satisfied with the place, and I’m prepared to buy.” Mr Clymont said, "What is the use of rushing things, we must take time to consider." Witness said, "You have had three or four weeks to consider it. I have gone to the trouble to secure your signature and we expect the deal to be completed.” Mr McClymont repeated “There is no need for hurry." He added that he would further discuss it with Mrs Kenna and said he would call at 5 p.m. on Saturday the 10th, at Mrs Kenna’s hotel.

At 5 p.m. witness attended at Mrs Kenna’s hotel and that McClymont had been and gone. He found the defendant at the Warrenheip tennis court and said he had come to get the deal completed. The defendant said “There is no need bustle to things. You know I did not put my name to that paper.” Witness replied, “Surely you did not put a false name to a document I have in my possession.” McClymont said no thing more about the authority, but later remarked that Mrs Kenna would be an ideal person to have in the place and there would be no one, he would prefer more to see there. Witness, in order to avoid friction asked McClymont if he would sell the freehold to Mrs Kenna on the terms he had mentioned to Mrs Kenna that day. Witness said, “On behalf of Mrs Kenna I will offer you £4500 for the freehold.” The defendant said "Would that include the furniture. Witness said that some furniture would be included as mentioned in the authority signed, by the defendant. The defendant said “I will let it go at £4500 for the bare walls.” Witness said “You can sell it for £4500, furniture according to or £4000 for bare walls.” McClymont said I have an offer for the freehold and I will allow you to act as agent.” Witness replied, “One good thing at a time. I am acting for Mrs. Kenna and I am out to see the thing through.” The defendant also said they would have to draw up a lease and arrange about keeping the place in repair and outside, and that it must be done in writing. Witness said, “We must have a definite date for taking possession.” McClymont answered, “Could not Mrs Kenna take a holiday ?” Witness said “Yes, but would not enjoy it unless details were arranged.” He added that Mrs Kenna was prepared to give him up to six weeks to put his affairs in order. Since then he had seen Mr McClymont on two different occasions. They discussed the time of taking possession and each time the defendant put him off, saying “There was no hurry.” About four weeks ago he met the defendant in the back bar of the Royal Highlander hotel. The licensee told told him that a man wanted to speak to him. He went to the front bar and found M'Clymont there. He said “Regarding this court case, could we not come to some agreement, and not be two fools going to court?” Witness agreed with him and said was prepared to take the full amount owing and legal expenses. The defendant said “I’ll give you half.” Witness replied, “No.” Mr M'Clymont remarked, “You know you only got me to try the pen that evening.” Witness said, “That’s enough; we will discuss it no further. The authority is signed." He did not bring Curtis out specially to witness the signature. He admitted having anticipated trouble with M'Clymont. He did not want M'Clymont to know. that he was doubting him, though he did in his own mind.

They did not inspect the slaughterhouse when Mrs Kenna went over the place. To Mr Coldham—He might have said to M'Clymont that he ought to retire and take a spell. Mr. Coldham—Did M'Clymont even object to Mrs Kenna taking the place because she could not carry, on the but chering business —He might have said it. I would not be sure. When did you speak about the suitability of Mrs Kenna?—On the last occasion I saw him at Bungaree. Was that the only time?—Yes. When you brought Mrs Kenna out first M'Clymont says he pointed out that Mrs Kenna, being a widow, was not suitable for carrying on a butcher’s shop. Is that so? —No, he certainly did not mention it on that occasion. To Mr Coldham —He did not remember Mrs M'Clymont being in the room on the night the authority was signed. His Honor —Did your man sign this document ? Mr Coldham. —He did not know its purport. His Honor— Is he going to say he did not give this authority ? Mr Coldham —He did not know its contents. We take up the position that the butchery business was a most important adjunct and that Mrs Kenna was not a suitable tenant to carry on that business. To Mr Coldham —Curtis, who saw M'Clymont sign the document, was not in the room at the time, but was looking in the door. He could not say that he actually had his eyes on M'Clymont. He gave Mrs Kenna receipts for the £100 deposit at the Brewery Tap hotel on the way home. He would contradict M'Clymont if he said that when he (M'Clymomt) commended Mrs Kenna as a tenant he referred specially to the hotel Mr Coldham—Did you say when M'Clymont said that he would not accept Mrs Kenna as a tenant "I'll not get anything out of this, but the charities will?” —I might have said "I prefer to see it go to the charities than see you get out of this. ” Was this on the 8th? — No. His Honor —When was it?—It might have been said some time later. Was anything said on the 7th about the butchering?—No. Why did you not ask Curtis to come into the room to witness the authority at the time—M'Clymont has the reputation of having agents calling on him and his attitude is always “no business” unless there is a buyer. I asked Curtis to be handy if there was an authority to be signed. I understood that it was hard to get MClymont’s signature to anything. To His Honor—Curtis told him that he had seen M'Clymont sign the authority and had heard some of the discussion.

Mrs Mary Ann Kenna, licensee of the Brewery Tap hotel for 23 years, said she had no bad marks against the house. When she inspected the Morning Star hotel Mr M'Clymont said he would be perfectly satisfied with witness as a tenant. She paid a deposit to Mr Morrissey and was given a receipt. When Mr M'Clymont called at her hotel, he told her he had a good offer for the freehold. She told him to see Mr Morrissey. She knew the butchery business was on the property. Mr Morrow—Did M'Clymont on any occasion mention the butchering business to you ?—No. To Mr Coldham—She had told her solicitors to write to M'Clymont, as she claimed that she had purchased the business.

The defendant, Robert Burns M’Clymont, butcher and hotelkeeper, of Bungaree, said that he had been carrying on a butcher’s business at Bungaree for 13 years. He was also the licensee of the Morning Star hotel. The butchers business had a turn-over of £200 a week. The hotel had a turn-over of from £18 to £20 a week. Mr Coldham—I suppose the profit on beer is better than on meat now? Witness —Yes, it is just now, on account of the price of stock. Witness, continuing, said he had only known the plaintiff since he started as a hotel broker. In December last Morrissey started calling in at his place and used to ask him to have a drink or a cigar. The defendant always replied, “Don’t drink; don’t smoke.” One day Morrissey said, “Don’t you want to get out of this? Your wife says she finds the work harder than she used to.” The defendant said to, him, “Suppose you bring along a suitable buyer—one that will suit the hotel, the butchery business and the land —I will have a talk with you.” There were 25 acres of land with the place, worth £4O an acre. He asked Mr Morrissey what the place was worth. He said about £1200 ingoing and £3 a week rent. Witness said he would perfectly satisfied with that. On 7th February, at 7.45 p.m., Morrissey came to the hotel, and, asked witness to give him an authority to sell. Witness said, “I have already told you to bring along a suitable buyer.” Mr Morrissey asked him again for a written authority. But witness refused to sign at first. Then Mr Morrissey said it was only a document authorising him to bring out a buyer. He pulled a fountain pen out of his pocket saying to witness. “This is a good one; I got it for a present. Try it.” He then pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket, and Morrissey said "Write your name there.” Witness refused, and Morrissey again said that it was only an authority to bring along a client. He then signed it. It was not read over to him before he signed it. He signed it to get rid of him. When Morrisey was authorised to bring out a purchaser witness told him that the butchering was a very important part of the business. When the plaintiff brought out Mrs Kenna witness refused to show her through, but let the plaintiff show her through himself. She was not shown the butchering business, nor the different sections of fence she would have to keep in repair. When Mrs Kenna had finished her inspection the plaintiff said, I will be along in the morning with some papers for you to sign.” Witness said, ‘What papers?” The plaintiff said “The license and transfer." Witness replied, “I will sign no papers until we have a lawyer to fix everything up in a legal manner.” Morrisey then snapped his fingers in his face, saying, “I may not get any out of this, but the charities may." Witness referring to the unsuitability of Mrs Kenna, said, “She is widow with no one to assist her and she is quite unsuited to take over a butchering business.” On the Saturday before witness went to the tennis court he went to Mrs Kenna’s hotel, and told her it was no use her coming out about his hotel, as there was no business to be done. She just replied, "Very well."

When Morrissey questioned him at the tennis court on the Saturday he said he could not possibly let the business go to a widow who had no one to help her. Witness added, "Look at the Brewery Tap, the back part of it is a tumble-down wreck. Can you picture my hotel in five years if I let it to a woman who had no one to help her to keep it in order?” After he had received a letter from Cuthbert, Morrow, and Must, he said to Morrissey "You put me off with the points you showed me.” Morrissey said, “I have your signature.” Witness replied, ‘‘You did not get my signature the way a gentleman doing business should do. ” He asked Morrissey who was Curtis that witnessed the signature and plaintiff replied, "I had him looking round the corner of the door when you signed.” His son, himself and Jeffreys were continually employed in the butchery, and a man to look after the business. He ran three carts. One of Jeffrey’s sons was employed permanently and another on Saturday afternoons. Mr Morrow'— The man in the stables did the ploughing. Witness devoted his time to the butcher’s shop. Jeffreys was a qualified competent butcher. Morrissey did not write anything on the document that night, when he produced it. He just put his name to the paper to try the pen. His Honor—Was that the last writing you did on that occasion ? —-It was the only writing. Then you did not intend to sign any authority ?—It was not my usual signature. What happened then? - He rolled up the paper and put it in his pocket and went away. The witness added that as far as he could see there was nothing on the paper. Mr Morrow —So as far as you know you signed your name to a blank piece of paper ? —Yes. Did Mr Early ever bring buyers out to you?—He has spoken of buyers. Has any other agent brought out buyers? —Mr Morrissey did. This is the nearest you ever got to selling the hotel? —It was not near. How many years have you been talking of selling this hotel? A few months. What compensation did you pay last year? —It was a good bit under £6O. What was it the year before? £52 or £53. Yet you say your takings were only £18 to £20 per week?—Yes. Was there any part of Morrissey’s evidence to-day untrue? —I would not say that any part was untrue. To Mr Marrow —He admitted that Mrs Kenna was an ideal woman to conduct a hotel, but not competent to run the butchery.

His Honor said that having regard to the nature of the business and the fact that the butchering business was such an important part of it, and that the transaction was not a straight-out sale, but a lease, it was only natural that the owner should be thoroughly satisfied with the suitability of the proposed lessee to carry on the butchering business before he gave a lease. It would be suicide to put this butchering business in the hands of a person not competent to conduct it. He thought that the plaintiff recognising his authority was more nebulous than he liked, wanted something in writing, and prepared a document, and took it out to get the defendant’s signature. He thought the defendant did sign it, but not that, the defendant did not know the precise powers it conferred. The defendant did not seem to think Mrs Kenna would do for the business, but had not the moral pluck to say so. If he had opened his mouth then to say so straight out a lot of trouble would have been saved. He did not think defendant had given to the plaintiff the authority which the plaintiff sought to prove. Under the circumstances the plaintiff could not succeed, as he had failed to prove that he had brought a person acceptable to the defendant. At the same time he did not like the defendant’s, attitude in the box. He had not been very frank. Mr Morrow- —On the question of costs, your Honor. His Honor —I’ll admit that your client has been to a certain extent fooled. His Honor gave a verdict for the defendant, with half costs.[3]

John McCullough was gaoled for stealing a mat from the hotel in May 1927:

For the theft of a mat, the property of the licensee of the Morning Star Hotel, John McCullough, at Bungaree court on Wednesday was sentenced to fourteen days gaol.[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 1877 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 December, p. 4. , viewed 03 Feb 2017,
  2. 2.0 2.1 1873 'LICENSING BENCH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 December, p. 2. , viewed 18 Jun 2017,
  3. 1923 'CLAIM FOR COMMISSION', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 July, p. 8. , viewed 22 Aug 2020,
  4. 1927 'PROVINCIAL CITIES AND TOWNS', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 27 May, p. 12. , viewed 21 Mar 2021,
  5. 1880 'POLICE INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 11 December, p. 3. , viewed 21 Mar 2021,
  6. 1884 'BUNGAREE POLICE COURT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 December, p. 4. , viewed 13 May 2021,
  7. 1885 'LICENSING MEETING.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 29 December, p. 4. , viewed 08 Apr 2019,
  8. 1888 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 17 February, p. 2. , viewed 04 Jun 2017,
  9. Wise's Post Office Directory, 1888, Australia, City Directories, 1845-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
  10. 1890 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 February, p. 2. , viewed 21 Mar 2021,

External Links[edit | edit source]