Prince Alfred Hotel (Learmonth)

From Hotels of Ballarat
For other hotels with the same or similar names see Alfred Hotel.
Prince Alfred Hotel
Picture needed
Town Learmonth
Known dates 1869-1870
Other names Carse o'Gowrie

The Prince Alfred Hotel was a hotel in Learmonth, Victoria, <1869-1870>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hotel was in Learmonth.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

The hotel had previously been known as the Carse o'Gowrie.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

There was a robbery at the hotel in February 1870:

Henry Powell, alias Page, alias King, and Robert Kerr were charged with stealing from the person of Peter M'Mally on the 8th instant, the sum of four £1 notes and 10s in silver, also one purse, one pair of spectacles, one penknife, three keys, and one silver watch and chain of the value of £12. Senior Constable Darcy conducted the case for the prosecution.

Peter M'Mally deposed that on the 8th instant he called at the Prince Alfred, hotel, Learmonth, in company with Joseph Sloss, and had some drinks. When he entered the hotel witness had one ten pound note, a five-pound note, and four single notes, besides some silver, in his possession. He tendered a five-pound note in payment for the drinks, and received four one-pound notes and some silver in change. The ten and the five-pound notes were in the same pocket, but not in the purse with the four single notes. Prosecutor had also a silver watch and chain on his person when he entered the hotel, and three keys attached together with a piece of twine. He was the worse of drink at the time, and he lay down on a form in the bar. He missed the property about an hour afterwards. He did not remember seeing the prisoners at the hotel on that day. Witness identified the spectacle case and keys produced as his property, and also the purse. Cross-examined by the prisoner Kerr— Witness remembered shouting for the people in the bar, and tendering a five pound note to pay for the drinks. Witness did not remember who paid him the change in return, but he found it on his person afterwards, likewise the ten pound note and some silver. William Bennett deposed that he was at the Prince Alfred hotel about three o'clock in the afternoon of the 8th instant. He saw the prosecutor lying partly on his back on a form in the bar. The prisoner Kerr, was sitting at the door at the time who came into the bar with witness. While talking with the prisoner Kerr, witness saw the other prisoner, Powell, slip the watch chain from prosecutor's vest, and put it inside his shirt. Witness then remarked to the prisoner Kerr, "What sort of game do you call that? The prisoner Kerr then said to witness, " What you see don't take notice of." During the time of conversation witness again saw the prisoner Powell put his hand into prosecutor's pocket and take cut a purse and some keys. The prisoner Powell then left the house, and Kerr left shortly afterwards. Witness had known the prisoner Kerr for the last two years and never knew any thing against him.
Patrick M'Grath, of the Prince Alfred hotel, Learmonth, deposed that both prisoners came to his hotel about nine o clock on the morning of the 8th instant. He supplied them with bread and butter. The prosecutor came shortly afterwards and called for drink for six or seven people three or four times over, and the prisoners were among the persons he treated. The prosecutor tendered a five pound note in payment, and he gave him in return four one-pound notes and 10s 6d in silver. The prosecutor after being about the bar for a time, went to lie down on the form and fell asleep. Witness shortly afterwards discovered that prosecutor's watch and chain were gone which he saw were worn on his person. Both the prisoners had then left the hotel. Witness then went out by the back door, when he saw the two prisoners together at the back of the stable, Kerr being in a stooping position as if picking up something. On seeing witness both prisoners ran off in opposite directions. He called on Kerr to stand, or he (witness) would shoot him. Witness then searched, but found none of the property on the prisoner. Witness then followed the other prisoner (Powell), and met him at the bar door. After searching him, he (witness) found on his person three small keys (produced) tied together with a string. Witness then left the prisoner Powell in charge of certain parties until he went in pursuit of the other prisoner Kerr, whom he did not capture at that time. On returning to the hotel, witness saw the prisoner Powell running away again, and in pursuing Powell he saw the prisoner Kerr running across the road. Witness then called on a blacksmith to follow Kerr while be pursued Powell. Witness arrested Powell and took him into Mr Carruther's store until the police arrived, when he gave the prisoner in charge. The same evening in company with Constable Costello witness searched for the missing property, and found in the water closet the spectacle case and purse produced.
William Gainsford deposed that on the day in question he was at McGrath's hotel. Saw the prosecutor there lying on a form and likewise saw the prisoners there. The prisoner Powell said to witness, "Shall we go and touch the old man " (alluding to M'Mally) "as he has plenty of money." Witness replied, "No, I'll have nothing at all to do with him." Witness then left the hotel for a short time, and on returning met the prisoner Powell going out of the bar door and Kerr following. Saw both prisoners going into the back yard through the gate — Peter M'Coy deposed that between ten and eleven o'clock on the morning of the day in question, he saw both prisoners outside Mr M'Grath's hotel. After dinner witness saw Mr M'Grath on the road with a gun. Mr M'Grath pointed out the prisoner Kerr, who was running in the direction of Morton's, and when he first saw him would be about three-quarters of a mile distant. Witness pursued and arrested the prisoner Kerr, whom he charged with robbery at Mr M'Grath's. Prisoner replied that he was not guilty.
Constable Costello deposed that from information received he went to Mr Carruther's store, when Mr M'Grath gave the prisoner Powell in charge for robbery. Cautioned the prisoner in the usual way, and conveyed him to the lock-up. Witness, again returned and arrested the prisoner Kerr at Mr. M'Grath's Hotel, who he also placed in the look-up. Subsequently he returned and searched for the missing property. In com pany with Mr. M'Grath he found the spectacle and purse produced in the water-closet.

This concluded the evidence for the prosecution, and the bench, on reviewing the evidence, thought there was not sufficient evidence against the prisoner Kerr, although there were some suspicious circumstances, but not sufficient for a conviction, and he was therefore discharged. The other prisoner, Powell, was committed to take his trial at the Circuit Court to be held at Ballarat on the 18th instant.[3]

Our Learmonth correspondent writes:—“ With reference to the man Powell, who was committed for trial by the Learmonth bench for robbery from the person of one Peter M'Nally, at the Prince Alfred hotel, Learmonth, and who was sentenced by Mr Justice Barry, on Saturday last, to two years on the roads for the offence, it may be remembered that the watch Mr M'Nally was relieved of was not forthcoming at the time of his committal. It was found, however, the same evening by Mounted-constable Baker and Constable Costello, -who, in company with the prisoner, made a strict search of the yard and grounds adjoining Mr M'Grath’s hotel. The watch, after a long search, was found on the spot, as described in Mr M'Grath’s evidence, where the man Kerr, who was charged at the same time with the prisoner Powell, but discharged, was observed by him to be in a stooping position.”[1]

A man was arrested at the hotel in March 1870 after claiming he had murdered his father:

On Monday, 28th March, before Messrs T. Bath, J. Baird, and G. Beaton, J’s.P., a charge of lunacy was preferred against one Joseph Tarrant, who was not present in court. Mounted constable Patrick Fox gave evidence to the effect that from information received he proceeded to the Prince Alfred hotel, Learmonth, on Saturday night last, between eleven and twelve o'clock. The prisoner was there. He accused himself of having murdered his father in Derbyshire, England. He had two brothers residing in Bullarook who could give evidence as to the date of his father’s death. The patient then surrendered himself into the hands of the constable, saying that he was prepared to die for the wretched act that he had committed. He was then conveyed to the Learmonth lock-up, when it soon became apparent that the man’s mind was affected. Senior-constable Darcy applied for a remand in order that the patient might undergo medical examination, which was granted.[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 1.2 1870 'NEWS AND NOTES.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 February, p. 2. , viewed 01 Jan 2024,
  2. 1870 'FORTHCOMING PLOUGH TRIAL AND PLOUGHING MATCH AT LEARMONTH.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 7 June, p. 3. , viewed 01 Jan 2024,
  3. 1870 'LEARMONTH POLICE COURT.', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1886; 1914 - 1918), 15 February, p. 4. , viewed 01 Jan 2024,
  4. 1870 'POLICE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 29 March, p. 4. , viewed 01 Jan 2024,
  5. 1869 'BALLARAT AGRICULTURAL AND PASTORAL SOCIETY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 4 June, p. 2. , viewed 01 Jan 2024,
  6. 1870 'Family Notices', The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), 7 October, p. 2. , viewed 01 Jan 2024,

External Links[edit | edit source]